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Body-World Correlation and the Structure of the Chinese Script: Lessons from the phenomenology of Merleau-Ponty and Husserl
|Keywords:||現象學 ; 身體圖式 ; 古文字 ; 《說文解字》部首 ; 純粹意義邏輯 |
phenomenology ; body schema ; archaic Chinese script ; Shuowen radicals ; pure logic of meaning
|Issue Date:||2020-10-12 09:55:06 (UTC+8)|
In the Shuowen, one of the earliest comprehensive character dictionaries of ancient China, when discussing where the Chinese characters derive their structural components from, Xu Shen proposed the dual constitutive principle of ＂adopting proximally from the human body, and distally from things around.＂ This dual emphasis of ＂body＂ and ＂things around＂ corresponds largely to the emphasis on the ＂correlation＂ between the body or corporeality on the one hand, and lifeworld on the other, as discussed in the phenomenological tradition. In this tradition, Husserl was the one who first pronounced the importance of the body (Leib) in the constitution of meaning, but it was Merleau-Ponty who elaborated on the correlative intricacy of the human body (and its parts) with the world as perceived. Starting with a general survey of the cognitive aspects of the 540 radicals as recorded in the Shuowen, this paper shows that these radicals are indeed either body-related or world-related substantiating thus Xu Shen's claim. With the help of body-world correlative studies, including such useful models as ＂body schema＂, as proposed by Merleau-Monty, this paper looks into various examples of Chinese archaic script tokens to elaborate on how in the Chinese scripts the human body (and its parts) might interact in various ways with itself, with other's bodies (and their parts) or with ＂things around＂ (whether Mother Nature/natural phenomena, living creatures, or artefacts) to produce compound characters that cover the environmental, social, ritual, technical, economic, political and even intellectual aspects of human experience. Finally, by hooking upon the notion of a ＂pure logic of meaning＂ as proposed by Husserl in the fourth section of his Logical Investigations, this paper further endeavours to sort out a list of ＂primitive patterns of combinations＂ which might help demonstrate how the Chinese script, starting from the various body/world-related radicals might evolve into the whole repertoire of Chinese characters.
|Relation:||政大中文學報, 33, 5-48|
|Appears in Collections:||[Bulletin of the Department of Chinese Literature National Chengchi University] Journal Articles|
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