Izvestiya of Saratov University.

Philosophy. Psychology. Pedagogy

ISSN 1819-7671 (Print)
ISSN 2542-1948 (Online)

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The Relation of Body and Mind – a Fundamental Issue concerning Human Identity

Kather R., Universit?t Freiburg i.Br., Deutschland Werthmannplatz

The actual debate on human identity is dominated by a one-sided definition of person: It focuses on rationality, language and consciousness of time, in brief on self-consciousness. The relevance of the body is constrained to its physiological functions. Yet as lived body it is also an expression of the inner life, of feelings, emotions and mental acts. As expression of the variety of intentional acts the relation of body and mind can be defined as a symbolic relation, as Ernst Cassirer, an important representative of neo-Kantianism, argues. By means of the bodily expression the inner life can be observed by fellow humans and the higher animals who can respond to its meaning by their own actions. Therefore the bodily expression of intentional acts is the necessary condition of intersubjectivity which embraces concrete actions, speech and emotions. The lived body is not the means of communication but its medium. Due to the bodily expression of intentional acts humans are not only essentially related to fellow humans, the relation to nature changes, too. As unity of body and mind persons are related essentially to fellow humans and to the whole range of nature. If human integrity has to be preserved, ethics must also deal with these relations.

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