Monday, June 26, 2006


We can note with Polanyi the shared skills of improvisation and performance which result from changes in the world of Renoir and the water-beetle. Seen in the impassioned personality of Polanyi's approach there is a "continuity between heuristics and morphogenetic equipotentiality."*1*
*1*{Polanyi, 1962, Personal knowledge}, p. 339.

Sunday, June 25, 2006


The question of the generality of the body surfaces in both Ricoeur and Wyshogrod. Ricoeur states that no general self can emerge in a world where humans can not name God's name. Ricoeur names this a deferred unity. For Wyschogrod difference grounds the possibility of generality and the subsequent moral demands of the body so unity is also deferred but generality can still emerge. The crucial importance of the possibility of difference and plurality that Ricoeur and Wyschogrod aver is amplified by MarĂ­a Lugones,
When I do not see plurality stressed in the very structure of a theory, I know that I will have to do lots of acrobatics—like a contortionist or tight-rope walker—to have this theory speak to me without allowing the theory to distort me in my complexity. When I do not see plurality in the very structure of a theory, I see the phantom that I am in your eyes take grotesque forms and mime crudely and heavily your own image. Don't you? When I do not see plurality in the very structure of a theory, I see the fool that I am mimicking your image for the pleasure of noticing that you know no better. Don't you?*1*

*1*{Lugones, 1991, Feminist ethics, viii, 300 p}, p. 43. Emphasis in original.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Bodies fill the discursive (and non-discursive) planes of ethics because prediscursive corporeality signifies without the need to make use of a symbolic function.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


The separation between God and humanity that is most obviously seen in bondage to sin is not only a separation from God. It is also, and most completely, a separation for liberation. The self then is related to God, a God who exceeds the ontology of either neo-Platonism or of Heidegger in two ways. A polyphony of possible selves follow from the polyphony of biblical genres. The self mirrored in scripture is not general self, but one particular self in a plurality of possible selves. The impossible of a general self is confirmed by the "deferred unity that corresponds to the unnamable Name."*1*
*1*{Ricoeur, 1997, The whole and divided self, viii, 251 p}, p. 213.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The way a cat knows

My cat is considerable more knowledgeable on this account than I, to the point that I am amazed when she errs. Her ability to habituate herself to her world is more impressive than mine, but this is no surprise, for she is concerned to practice this knowledge more diligently than me; any new arrangement of furniture, a paper box or bag placed on the floor, or most delightfully a basket of clean laundry; all must be immediately investigated and learned. The habits which follow are, "knowledge in the hands [or in this case paws?], which is forthcoming only when bodily effort is made, and cannot be formulated in detachment from that effort."*1*
*1*{Merleau-Ponty, 1962, Phenomenology of perception, 466 p}, p. 144.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Descartes' Dualism?

The conditional language of Descartes' own explication of, "I think therefore I am," is worth quoting at this point. Notice especially the use of "pretend" and "if" in reference to the body.
Then, when I was examining what I was, I realized that I could pretend that I had no body, and that there was no world nor any place in which I was present, but I could not pretend in the same way that I did not exist ... Thus this self—that is, the soul by which I am what I am—is completely distinct from the body and is even easier to know than it, and even if the body did not exist the soul would still be everything that it is.

{Descartes, 1999, Penguin classics}, p. 25.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Another body sentence

In this chapter and the next I want to signal the possibility of an account of interpretation that is grounded in the body rather than in language. While language is a common route beyond modernity for many postmodern's the imagination I want to elicit in these pages seeks a separate path, providing a posture for an active, understanding body that is able to both interpret and perform.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The body

I went to Chicago; had a meeting with my director that wasn't great; went to a consultation on the Confession of Faith; and got a bad cold. So here's a whole paragraph!

A body that sees, feels, and acts in a particular way suggests a particular way in which the body will interpret and a distinct potential for an embodiment that is natively open to an ethical stance in the world. The body perceives both finitely and transcendently and reveals itself to be a body which engages in perception in this way. The habitual body understands its world through this double perception. The habitual body does not aim at a pure perception or hope for a platonic sight upon emergence from a platonic cave. Similarly, the habitual body is both attracted and repulsed by the objects it encounters; perhaps paradigmatically in the ways in which touch informs and deforms the body's perception. The personal passions of the body shape its ability to interpret and again the body knows itself to be the type of body that shapes its approach to the world in this way. As we will see below, the habitual body is passionately committed both in intentional ways, and through a whole host of involuntary coefficients to the particular world that it interprets. The body also imperfectly risks particular actions in contexts of power. Both able and unable to shape these contexts the habitual body engages in a variety of appropriations of the world and through the feedback it receives is shaped by that world. Even the body which separates itself from the world becomes separated for engagement with the world. Each of these modes perception/understanding; pathos/commitment; praxis/appropriation are disposed in particular ways according to the personality and peculiar way of being grounded any given particular body.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Chicken Joke

This joke involves a man, a therapist and a chicken each of whom has a body which shows aspects of themselves and the world to each other.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


The symbol of the cherubim becomes a mythical proleptic irritant, impossible to perfectly understand, but full of meaning conveying to Ezekiel the new vision God is articulating for God's people.