Foreign Bodies analyzes how our culture elaborates for us the bodies we have by natural evolution. Calling on the new means contemporary thinkers have used to understand the body, Alphonso Lingis explores forms of power, pleasure and pain, and libidinal identity.
The book contrasts the findings of theory with the practice of the body as formulated in quite different kinds of language--the language of plastic art (the artwork body builders make of themselves), biography, anthropology and literature. Lingis explains how we experience our own powers of perception, our postures, attitudes, gestures and purposive action; how our susceptibility to pain and excitability by pleasure acquiesce in and resist the ways they are identified and manipulated today; how cultures code our sensuality with phallic and with fluid identities; how others dress appeals to and puts demands on us.
"The last segment of the book elegantly elucidates Levina's conception of the face and compares it with the imperatives of Kant and Heidegger--each of whom are carefully and fairly interpreted. This review does no justice at all to Lingis's exquisite, streaming prose." -- Michael D. Barber, International Studies in Philosophy
"Lingis writes with remarkable clarity and specificity and delivers with rebellious brio tightly constructed arguments. [He] formulates an exacting account of carnal experience as the expression-event of an alterity that both enables and escapes the signifying archipelago of consciousness." -- Ron Fogleman Religious Studies Review