The article attempts to revive the conception of the body in Ludwig Feuerbach and the young Marx. The aim is to show that Feuerbach produced a concept of embodiment which is to be distinguished from its conception in psychoanalysis and in political thought (the body as the object of bio-power) which prevail in contemporary post-Marxist theory. The difference between these two conceptions can be expressed thus: the Feuerbachian and young-Marxian understanding corresponds to the concept sarx (the natural body), while its conception in post-Marxist thought corresponds to the concept sóma (the body symbolised). Post-Marxist authors generally assume the correctness of Althusser’s rejection of this conception. It is for this reason that I examine Althusser’s critique of Feuerbach’s philosophy in its relation to the question of embodiment and I attempt to show that Althusser’s theory cannot comprehend Feuerbach’s most important discovery. In the final part I deal with Feuerbach as the first thinker of non-identity (Adorno’s term) and I look at his reflections on death as the hidden background of his living and real body. The conclusion is that Feuerbach introduces a conception of embodiment which cannot be completely incorporated into cultural and bio-political practices.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
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