The Body as Expression of Life

  • Robert Sweeney
Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU, volume 48)


The purpose of this paper is to explore the meaning — the metaphysics, in the sense of the ultimate status in being — of human life as it is discerned from a consideration of the human body as expressive. The meaning of body here is that of the lived body as associated mainly with Husserl and Merleau-Ponty, even though a case can be made that Max Scheler was the first to focus on the distinction between the body as an object Korper (thing-body) and the Leib — the body as lived — the body as experienced in the first person (le corps vécu, le corps propre) one’s own body.1


Hermeneutic Phenomenologist Medical Story Expressive Body Absolute Valuation Narrative Context 
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  1. 1.
    Max Scheler, Formalism in Ethics and Non-Formal Ethics of Value, trans. M. Frings, R. Funk (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1973).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception, trans. C. Smith (London: Routledge & Keegan Paul, 1961), pp. 174–199.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Max Scheler, Man’s Place in Nature, trans. Meyerhof (New York: Noonday Press, 1962).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Calvin Schrag, The Resources of Rationality (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992), p. 104.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Merleau-Ponty, Opcit., p. 187.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Ibib., p. 71.Google Scholar
  7. 7a.
    Paul Ricoeur, Time and Narrative (3 vols.), trans. K. Blarney, D. Pellauer (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988);CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 7b.
    Oneself as Another, trans. K. Blarney (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992).Google Scholar
  9. 8.
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    Ibib., p. 127.Google Scholar
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    Ricoeur, Oneself as Another, pp. 319–329.Google Scholar
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    Oneself as Another, p. 325.Google Scholar
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    A fuller exploration of this combination of space and time would take us into the theme of chronotopy, as explained by Schrag from Bakhtin. He speaks of the “chronotope” as the “marker of the intrinsic connectedness of time and space…”, as “the assimilation of historical time and historical space in the workings of the ‘dialogic imagination’ within the projects of discourse and action” and as a “holistic configuration of the background practices…” that “supplies the required sheet anchor against a reification of the parts of discourse as brute facts.” Calvin Schrag, The Resources of Rationality (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992), pp. 83–86. Op. cit., pp. 83–86.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Sweeney
    • 1
  1. 1.John Caroll UniversityUSA

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