Our Strange Body
Our Strange Body
Philosophical Reflections on Identity and Medical Interventions
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15.6 x 23.4 cm
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Introduction The Issue of Identity: Being Self and Other Social-scientific and Ethical Analyses of Body Modifications A Phenomenology of Identity Chapter I: Heavy, Inanimate and Nauseating Bodies Carrying along Our Body The Fallen Soul Inanimate Life The Modern Soul The Soul that Inhabits the Stomach Reality Bracketed off Sweating and Blushing Chapter II: Body Boundaries Strange Bones Handiness, or Handling One's World Body Schema Leib and Körper: Difference and Unity Tolerating the Strange Limits to Tolerance Chapter III: Mirror, Please Tell Me Who I Am 'Oh My God, I Look as Hot as I Feel' Narcissism Other Narcissuses The Power of the Gaze Own and Strange in the Mirror Image Chapter IV: I Exist on the Outside Turned Inside out The Inner Self as Unassailable Stronghold Seen from the Outside Touch Recognition without Narcissism Chapter V: My Strange I Prosthetic Wings The Speaking and Spoken I Thinking is Speaking For - Sum Living with Intruders What is Strange and What Is Own Epilogue

Reviews and Features

"By developing a phenomenology of the body informed by recent philosophical contributions to the area, but also taking into account the transformations of body and self enacted by way of medical technologies and the images of body and self found in popular culture, Slatman offers an exciting view on the embodied self. Her book is a real treat to read." -- Frederik Svenaeus, Södertörn University, Journal of Phenomenological Psychology 46(01), 2015

"Jenny Slatman's Our Strange Body brings the Cartesian body into the 21st century, transforming our notions of self and other, inside and outside, mind and body, intimacy and strangeness, in the process. Slatman weaves together original readings of diverse figures across the history of philosophy, including Plato, Augustine, Descartes, De Lamettrie, Locke, Husserl, Austin, Ryle, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Dennett, and Nancy, with groundbreaking medical case studies of face, hand, and body organ transplants as well as creative insights gleaned from the work of contemporary performance and visual artists, to illustrate how what is most our own, namely, our own body, is also, at the same time, what is most strange to us. The animating insight of this innovative and fascinating investigation of personal identity is that the intimate self of oneself as a unique "I," is actually grounded upon that which constitutes us as a thing among other things, namely our physical body." -- Gail Weiss is professor of Philosophy and Human Sciences at the George Washington University, Washington DC

"Jenny Slatman offers an exciting analysis of the ways new medical technologies have altered our understanding and experiences of the body in the 21th century. She enters into dialogue with philosophers of embodiment in the phenomenological tradition - Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Jean-Paul Sartre, Jean-Luc Nancy and others - and manages to connect their path breaking thoughts to themes such as cosmetic surgery, medical imaging technologies, organ and tissue transplantation, prosthetic extensions and bodily implants. Her conclusion is original and bold: the materiality of the body is a strange and potentially alienating part of our life, but it is also the starting point for our personal experiences and identity. The body is me. I am this strange body." -- Fredrik Svenaeus, professor of philosophy at Centre for Studies in Practical Knowledge, Södertörn University, Sweden

Jenny Slatman

Our Strange Body

Philosophical Reflections on Identity and Medical Interventions

The ever increasing ability of medical technology to reshape the human body in fundamental ways - from organ and tissue transplants to reconstructive surgery and prosthetics - is something now largely taken for granted. But for a philosopher, such interventions raise fundamental and fascinating questions about our sense of individual identity and its relationship to the physical body. Drawing on and engaging with philosophers from across the centuries, Jenny Slatman here develops a novel argument: that our own body always entails a strange dimension, a strangeness that enables us to incorporate radical physical changes.

Jenny Slatman

Jenny Slatman is associate professor philosophy in the department of Health, Ethics and Society at Maastricht University. She has published widely on the issue of embodiment in relation to both modern culture and medicine, including L'expression au-delà de la représentation (2003)