1st Edition

Phenomenological Ontology of Breathing The Respiratory Primacy of Being

By Petri Berndtson Copyright 2023
    184 Pages
    by Routledge India

    This book studies the phenomenological ontology of breathing. It investigates breathing and air as a question of phenomenological philosophy and looks at phenomenological questions concerning respiratory methodology, ontological experience of respiration, respiratory spirituality and respiratory embodiment. Drawing on the ideas of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Gaston Bachelard, Martin Heidegger, Edmund Husserl, Luce Irigaray and David Kleinberg-Levin, the book argues for the ontological primacy of breathing and develops a new principle of philosophy that the author calls “Silence of Breath, Abyss/Yawn of Air”. It asserts that breathing is not a thing- or person-oriented relation but perpetual communication with the immense elemental atmosphere of open and free air. This new phenomenological method of breathing offers readers a chance to begin to wonder, rethink, re-experience and reimagine all questions of life in an innovative and creative way as aerial and respiratory questions of life.

    Part of the Routledge Critical Perspectives on Breath and Breathing series, the book breaks new ground in phenomenology and phenomenological ontology by offering a decisive and insightful treatment of breath. It will be indispensable for students and researchers of philosophy, phenomenology and ontology. It will also be of special interest to Merleau-Ponty scholars as it investigates uncharted dimensions of Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy.



    List of Abbreviations


    1 The Basic Barbaric Conviction of We Breathe Air and the Possibility of a New Respiratory Principle of Philosophy

    2 The Merleau-Pontian First Principle of Philosophy “There Is the World”

    3 Merleau-Ponty’s Return to “Some Immense Exterior Lung” and the Possibility of the Primacy of Breathing

    4 The Ontological Principle “There Is Being” as the Primacy of Being

    5 The New Ontologico-Respiratory Principle “There is Really and Truly Inspiration and Expiration of Being”

    6 The New Ontological Principle of Yawning Abyss of Air

    7 The Method of Phenomenologico-Ontological Respiratory Philosophy

    8 The Chasmological Epoché of the Respiratory Reduction




    Petri Berndtson (PhD) is research associate of the Institute for Philosophical Studies at the Science and Research Centre Koper, Slovenia, and the coeditor (with Lenart Škof) of Atmospheres of Breathing.

    "If a very strong criterion for originality is that a philosophical work of intrinsic merit breaks from the past, constitutes a new beginning, inaugurates a new tradition, opens a new field of inquiry, is extremely different, innovative, or even revolutionary, given the scope, profundity, daring, and novelty of its conception, then I find Berndtson’s book to be original in this sense. It genuinely extends our philosophical store, contributes a new dimension to our thinking, and adds a significantly different philosophical experience of intrinsic value."

    Patrick Burke, Ph.D, Professor of Philosophy, Conzaga University in Florence


    "This well-researched book is an eloquent statement of the unsuspected importance of breathing not only in the domain of human experience but also by way of its ramifications for life in the natural world as a whole. It breaks new ground in phenomenology and phenomenological ontology by offering a decisive and insightful treatment of breath, which is otherwise passed over and taken for granted in human life, thereby overlooking the creative potential of this very basic human action. Replete with innovative thinking, this book promises to be a landmark study in an area whose importance is of increasing interest and concern."

    Edward S. Casey, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, SUNY at Stony Brook; author of The World on Edge and Turning Emotion Inside Out

    "The book is described as the first of its kind to investigate the phenomenological ontology of breathing. As such it will most likely be a valuable contribution to this field of research, with its a decisive and insightful treatment of breath."

    Petri Berndtson, Phd, Breathwork-Science