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Title: Dualism(s) revisited : a case study of Daoist internal arts and Spinoza's practical philosophy to explore a post-Cartesian perspective of embodiment
Author: Giovine, Vittorio
ISNI:       0000 0004 7223 886X
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2018
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Addressing the persistence of the Cartesian paradigm in body studies, this thesis explores a post-Cartesian perspective of embodiment. I theorise embodiment as a phenomenon possessing a dual character - i.e., a phenomenon located at the intersection of a pre-individual and individuated dimension, and thus characterised by both a relational/open-ended/processual nature and a differentiated/self-organising/structural aspect. I suggest that this dual character is reflected in two main ways of getting to know and acting in the world. One is an individuated/dichotomous mode of embodiment where the mind-body dualism is phenomenologically salient - I name it the Being. The other is a pre-individual/non-dichotomous mode of embodiment where dualism(s) vanish(es) from one's phenomenological field and mind and body are experienced as a duality in unity - I call it the Becoming. I investigate these propositions by means of a case study constituted by two self-cultivation practices: Daoist Internal Arts and Spinoza's Practical Philosophy. Aiming at shifting from the Being to the Becoming, both practices engage with our phenomenological world by employing the strategy of enveloping dualism(s) in a wider non-dualist context. That is, both practices seek to attune, and thus experience the ontological unity of, the experiential dimensions constituting relationships like those between mind and body, internal and external environments of embodiment, language and corporeality, and representational and non-representational forms of knowledge. In this way, conceived of as not separate at the ontological level while amenable to change at the epistemological level, these relationships are regulated by a principle of dynamic correspondence entailing that they can be experienced by the embodied agent as dualism(s) or dualities in unity, according to respectively dichotomous and non-dichotomous modes of embodiment. On this ground, embodiment is re-conceptualised as a dynamic process of individuation which can shift between different modes, each possessing different degrees of emergent properties and capacities for agency.
Supervisor: Ilan, Jonathan Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available