Body Thoughts by Andrew Strathern

By Andrew Strathern

Offers a good evaluation of anthropological proposal at the physique

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27 concrete idea of metonymy: pars pro toto, the body as an index of soci- ety. He is careful not to attribute too great a rigidity here. Socialization lays down limits on invention but allows a certain range of variability (Bourdieu 1977, 94). But, through institutionalization of bodily move- ments and positions, hexis becomes habitus, a master concept for Bour- dieu, linking the individual to society. Habitus refers both to a general concept in Bourdieu's scheme of thought and to the very specific, local, "emic" ideas of a given people, which he insists we must take into account in order to understand them.

The liver thus seems to have been given a passive agency while the stom- ach, gaster, was credited with active appetite, for food, drink, and also sexual activity. In love, therefore, desire was felt in the stomach but longing and pain in the liver (Onians 1954, 85). Overall here we see not just the attribution of feeling to specific organs but a picture of how these organs interacted in producing emotional syndromes in the per- son and also how they could be affected by outside agencies such as the gods, via the action of keres.

2) but Merleau-Ponty does not base this realm on any preexisting dichotomy. Descartes's ad hoc solution to his problem is thus in a sense taken as an ontological starting point by Mer- leau-Ponty, not as a philosophical coda to a major dichotomy set up in a priori terms. The translation of Descartes's writings on the soul and the body into a secularized mind-body problem, in which the theological content of the idea of the soul is expunged, must have taken place at least in part through the work of Immanuel Kant in his Critique of Pure Reason (1781).

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