Eco-Ontology: The Flesh in Merleau-Ponty and Deleuze

Name: İrem Güven
Supervisor: Niklas Forsberg and Antony Fredriksson (co-supervisor)
Dissertation Subject:  Eco-Ontology: The Flesh in Merleau-Ponty and Deleuze

Dissertation Abstract:
The world went through several near-extinction phases in which life as we know it changed drastically. Today, we are again faced with such a crisis, in which human activity has played an important role. A philosophical approach to the environmental problem could be via the criticism of the long-standing notion of man “as the measure of all things”, and a questioning of the way we understand the environment as objects given to his usage. In this project, I intend to provide a critique of anthropocentrism by searching for the terms of an ontology which calls attention to the embodied existence of the anthropos, and explores the possibility of a posthumanist subjectivity (or rather a-subjectivity), and a posthumanist community.

To this aim this project (1) will have recourse to Merleau-Ponty’s concept of flesh as a bodily principle, and its significance in establishing a posthumanist ontology; (2) explore the post-structuralist critique (particularly by Deleuze, but also by Derrida) of this concept as a transcendence in which singularity is annihilated, (3) show how the conceptions of self in Merleau-Ponty and Deleuze both work against the traditional conception of self as that which is kept immune from the contamination of non-human others; (4) investigate how to rethink the community as the co-existence of human and non-human entities, or as a place of contamination and becoming.