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The World, the Flesh and the Subject

Continental Themes in Philosophy of Mind and Body

Paul Gilbert, Kathleen Lennon

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Here, for the first time, contemporary Continental thought comes into conversation with analytic philosophy on all the principal topics of philosophy of mind. Rejecting the dominant Anglo-American paradigm, which reduces mental phenomena to their roles in a scientific psychology, the authors present a non-mysterious, naturalistic alternative. Characterising mental life is, they seek to show, capturing the world from the point of view of the subject. But the subject is essentially embodied, so that mental phenomena are modes of our fleshly existence in the world.

The book aims to bring together these three themes - the world,the flesh and the subject - to resolve many of the puzzles that beset contemporary philosophy of mind. It thereby provides a coherent new approach which draws upon phenomenology, hermeneutics, psycho-analysis and poststructuralism, and relates recent feminist work on the body to traditional concerns with the mind. The topics discussed include the problem of consciousness, perception and sensation, imagination, desire, emotion, reason and agency, and the self and others.

Key Features

  • Brings continental thought to bear on contemporary philosophy of mind
  • Offers a new approach to problems of mind
  • Brings recent work on the body together with traditional concerns with the mind
  • Treats philosophy of mind in a topic oriented way


Chapter One The Character of Experience
Chapter Two The Constraints of Experience
Chapter Three Imagination and the Imaginary
Chapter Four Desire
Chapter Five Emotions
Chapter Six Reason, Agency and Understanding
Chapter Seven Ourselves and Others.

About the Author

Paul Gilbert is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Hull. His previous books include The World, the Flesh and the Subject (with Kathleen Lennon, 2005), New Terror, New Wars (2003), Peoples, Cultures and Nations in Political Philosophy (2000), The Philosophy of Nationalism (1998), Terrorism, Security and Nationality (1994), and Human Relationships (1991).

Kathleen Lennon is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Hull University. She works in philosophy of mind, philosophy of body and gender theory. She recently co-authored Theorising Gender (Polity 2002).