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Title: Phenomenology and difference : the body, architecture and race
Author: Weate, Jeremy
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 1998
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The aim of the thesis is to consider the position of phenomenology in contemporary thought in order to argue that only on its terms can a political ontology of difference be thought. To inaugurate this project I being by questioning Heidegger's relation to phenomenology. I take issue with the way that Heidegger privileges time over space in "Being and Time". In this way, the task of the thesis is clarified as the need to elaborate a spatio-temporal phenomenology. After re-situating Heidegger's failure in this respect within a Kantian background, I suggest that the phenomenological grounding of difference must work through the body. I contend that the body is the ontological site of both the subject and the object. I use Whitehead and Merleau-Ponty to explore the ramifications of this thesis. I suggest first of all that architecture should be grounded ontologically in the body, and as such avoids being a 'master discourse'. Secondly, by theorising the body and world as reciprocally transformative, my reading of Merleau-Ponty emphasises the ways in which his thinking opens up a phenomenology of embodied difference. It is on the basis of these themes that I develop this thinking in the direction of race, exploring the dialectics of visibility and invisibility in the work of Frantz Fanon and James Baldwin. I argue that embodied difference attests to variations in the agent's freedom to act in the world. If freedom is understood through Merleau-Ponty as being the embodied ground of historicity, we must ask after unfreedom. I suggest that the "flesh" ontology of a pre-thetic community should be rethought as a regulative ideal, the ideal of a justice that can never be given. In this light, phenomenology becomes as much as poetics. Beyond being though of as conservative, phenomenology henceforth unleashes the possibility of thinking a transformative embodied agency.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: British Academy (BA)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BD Speculative Philosophy