Rona Cohen – “Taking Flesh” in Heidegger: On Dasein’s Bodying Forth

Here is the latest of our recordings from The British Society for Phenomenology’s 2018 Annual Conference ‘The Theory and Practice of Phenomenology’. Rona Cohen is from Tel-Aviv University, and the paper is titled ‘“Taking Flesh” in Heidegger: On Dasein’s Bodying Forth’.


Abstract: “In discussing the phenomenology of the body in the Zollikon seminars, Heidegger draws a distinction between the spatiality of Dasein and its body. According to Heidegger, Dasein is not spatial because it is embodied. Rather, “its bodiliness is possible only because Dasein is spatial”. Here, Heidegger puts into service the distinction between spatiality and embodiment to draw a distinction between the ontological and the ontic: the spatiality of Dasein is prior to Dasein’s embodiment, which is to say, Dasein is ontologically spatial and ontically embodied. In another of the Zollikon seminars, Heidegger addresses the phenomenology of the body by invoking Husserl’s distinction between Korper [“the corporeal thing”] and Leib [“the body”]. However, Heidegger gives this distinction a spatial interpretation. He claims that the corporeal thing stops with the skin, nevertheless noting that, “phenomenologically, Dasein always exceeds the corporeal limit […] when pointing with my finger toward the crossbar of the window over there, I [as body] do not end at my fingertips”. According to Heidegger, the bodily phenomenological limit extends beyond the corporeal spatial limit. Owing to this, he explains, the two “limits” do not coincide. How, then, is this argument compatible with Heidegger’s former claim that Dasein’s spatiality is its mode of being and the body is “ontic”? In this lecture, I present this dilemma in Heidegger’s text vis-à-vis Merleau-Ponty’s distinction between body and flesh in The Visible and Invisible. I suggest that Heidegger’s (little-known) notion of bodying forth [Leiben] introduced in this seminar could supply a solution to this dilemma.”


The British Society for Phenomenology’s Annual Conference took place at the University of Kent, in Canterbury, UK during July, 2018. It gathered together philosophers, literary scholars, phenomenologists, and practitioners exploring phenomenological theory and its practical application. It covered a broad range of areas and issues including the arts, ethics, medical humanities, mental health, education, technology, feminism, politics and political governance, with contributions throwing a new light on both traditional phenomenological thinkers and the themes associated with classical phenomenology. More information about the conference can be found at:


The British Society for Phenomenology is a not-for-profit organisation set up with the intention of promoting research and awareness in the field of Phenomenology and other cognate arms of philosophical thought. Currently, the society accomplishes these aims through its journal, conferences and other events, and its podcast. You can support the society by becoming a member, for which you will receive a subscription to our journal:

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