L’émergence de la subjectivité au sein de la vie

Abstract

The Emergence of Subjectivity within Life

My paper aims to elucidate the emergence of subjectivity from the interplay between living beings and their environment. This attempt to give account of becoming-subject within the life itself leads to a confrontation between the phenomenology of life pursued since at least two decades by Renaud Barbaras with Canguilhem´s philosophy of biology. It starts with a criticism of Merleau-Ponty’s and Patočka´s respective failures to overcome the contrast between the level of bare life and the level of human existence. In order to answer such a prejudicial separation between unexamined life and self-reflected existence, I adopt in the second part a bio-centric perspective on human existence, inspired by Canguilhem and Guillaume Le Blanc, in order to re-evaluate the notion of life in terms of normative, expansive movement that both shapes the living being itself and individuates the elements on which it acts. The final part of the paper seeks to understand the emergence of subjectivity from ordinary life-challenges such as illness and experiences of vulnerability or fragility, thus bypassing the need for stipulating a self-referencing consciousness as a primary mode of self-disclosure.

Keywords: subjectivity, life, existence, phenomenology, Renaud Barbaras, Georges Canguilhem


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