In a small note in the Visible and the Invisible, Merleau-Ponty states that he conceives of being and the imaginary as elements rather than objects or entities. Moreover, he adds that those elements are to be understood in Bachelard’s sense. It is precisely the elemental nature which represents one of the characteristics of the flesh (la chair) in Merleau-Ponty’s unfinished last work. If the living body is supposed to open an ontology and to solve certain ontological problems, we need to be careful while analysing its elemental character: the notion of „element“ is not to be taken for granted. Therefore, the author begins by examining Bachelard’s conception of elements, his attitude towards the history of sciences and towards the rupture between modern and contemporary science (for example in relation to non-substanciality and processuality on the micro-level of matter). In the second part of the paper, we return to Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology of the living body, which is, according to him, different from the substancialized body in cartesian philosophy, and we develop the topic of the elemental – a notion derived from that of element – and of inter-elemental relations. After that, we point out several consequences which the reflexion on the elemental nature of the world may imply in relation to non-cartesian medicine. The fundamental axis of the text concerns also the poetic and metaphorical language and its use in the texts of both philosophers.
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