By Heidegger, Martin; Heidegger, Martin; Aho, Kevin
Challenges traditional understandings of Heidegger's account of the body.
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Additional resources for Heidegger's Neglect of the Body
For both thinkers, interpreting human being in terms of practical activity rather than in terms of substance undermines the dominance of contemporary materialism. Based on their view, my being cannot be understood in terms of measurable mass that occupies a particular location. Rather, I understand myself primarily in terms of my concrete concerns, my everyday doing and acting. In these activities, my being does not have determinate boundaries; it does not end with my own skin. As I work in my ofﬁce, for instance, my body is woven to a particular spatial region of concern—the glasses on my face, the computer on the desk, the coffee cup, the landscape that appears through my ofﬁce window, and so forth.
And my accessibility to things is constantly changing as I go about my daily tasks. Yet the fact that I dwell in a familiar lived-space and am involved with handy things that are “nearby” and “far away” remains constant. I am always engaged in a spatial horizon, and this horizon is itself constituted by my concrete involvements. Without such involvements, things could not be encountered spatially; thus in my everyday acts and practices, I am always already spatial. Space is not to be found in the subject, nor does the subject observe the world “as if” that world were in a space; but the “subject” (Dasein) if well understood ontologically, is spatial.
So if spatiality belongs The Missing Dialogue 39 to it in any way, that is possible only because of this beingin. (BT, 138) Merleau-Ponty makes a similar point by touting the primacy of perception. [One] can convey the idea of space only if already involved in it, and if it is already known. Since perception is initiation into the world, and since, as has been said with insight, “there is nothing anterior to it which is mind,” we cannot put into it objective relationships which are not yet constituted at its level.