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The Embodied Self Reformulating the Existential Difference in Kierkegaard

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Abstract:

This article argues for the notion of the embodied self in reformulating insights in Kierkegaard that point to the existential difference in being embodied. The main arguments are: 1. Kierkegaard uses a Hegelian model: the human mind exteriorizes itself, in history and language, in actions and speech. Human being is being (out) there. 2. This does not make the notions of self and interiority obsolete. On the contrary, in order to understand human exteriority, we need to re-define what a human self is. 3. The crucial point in this re- definition is that self is to be understood as self-relation. Self is to relate oneself to others and to a world in between, and, in these relations, to relate to oneself. 4. Human consciousness is embodied in being embedded in a social, historical and cultural context. A human being relates to itself as being corporeally and temporally determined. 5. Human embodiment, with its intrinsic history, is a matter of concern: how humans take themselves in being embodied. In this there is a critical difference between being present and not being present. Our embodied existence is to be taken over or to be appropriated by ourselves as embodied beings.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2004

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