The Ends of Flesh
This chapter attends to the reception of Merleau-Ponty’s “flesh” in continental philosophy. It begins by explicating Michel Foucault’s treatment of flesh, which Merleau-Ponty understands to be a product of Christian discourses about sin. It then turns to philosophers who are explicitly troubled by “flesh” in the writings of Merleau-Ponty. Nancy worries that Merleau-Ponty’s “flesh” is a metaphysical concept that subordinates differentiated bodies to a universalizing explanatory principle; for Luce Irigaray, the appearance of flesh in Merleau-Ponty evidences the suppression of the maternal feminine and overemphasizes the masculine world of visibility.