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Journal Articles Philosophiques Year : 2023

Power, powerlessness and bodily limits

Puissances, impuissance et limites corporelles

Sarah Carvallo


The body escapes us in the sense that it never gives itself up as an object for a subject. It is experienced, notably through difficulties, evasions or excesses of presence. It's true that our anthropological and medical knowledge of the body has increased, to the point where discourse and images saturate our lives. Yet all this positive knowledge does not saturate the need to philosophize, i.e. to experience bodily powers and impotencies. In this respect, philosophy does not constitute an overhang, a metalanguage, a third term beyond the human or natural sciences, which would definitively say what to think about the body, but a hospitable place so that everyone can also deterritorialize from their culture and exercise their own powers in a plural and inventive way. It recognizes escape as the primary modality of the body, which gives itself through a spectrum that extends from rootedness to uprootedness, and vice versa. To experience limits and powers - mine, ours, yours - is to understand the body, insofar as it asserts itself as an inventive capacity for existence. But this experience also shows that there is more than one body, that there are many ways of being a body, and that this plurality is a political challenge for democracy.


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halshs-04246482 , version 1 (17-10-2023)





Sarah Carvallo. Puissances, impuissance et limites corporelles. Philosophiques, 2023, 26, pp.29-51. ⟨10.4000/philosophique.1763⟩. ⟨halshs-04246482⟩


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