15. Plato (430 – 350 BC)
Man is his soul.
Soul is the essence of man’s humanity and the
source of all his activities.
Plato uses the following metaphor: The soul is
the charioteer of the two-winged horses. One is
sensible and flies high to the heavens to reach
the light of truth and goodness. The other
comes from a bad breed and because of neglect
and sinfulness, had lost his wings and fallen to
earth to assume human form.
16. Human body is an unfortunate
accident and a cruel imprisonment
of the free and pure soul.
In death, the true man is freed from
17. Aristotle (304 – 322 BC)
Man is the whole of his body and
The relation of the body to the
soul is the relation of matter to
There is no matter that is not
informed by form, and no form
that is not the form of matter.
18. St. Augustine (354 – 430 CE)
Man can be divided into body and soul, and
no doubt the soul is more real and
It is not possible, however, that only the
soul is man since a soul cannot become a
soul if it is not a soul of the body.
Moreover, it is not possible that only the
body is man because a body is not a body if
it is not a body of the soul.
Therefore, man is still a unity of body and
19. St. Thomas Aquinas (1226 – 1274)
Like Aristotle, St. Thomas affirms the
unity of body and soul in man.
Unlike Aristotle, St. Thomas contends
that man is not only a rational animal
but an embodied spirit.
The soul of man is not like the soul of
20. By virtue of man’s spiritual faculties –
intellect and will – which inhere in man’s
soul, human soul, then, is spiritual and can
exist without matter.
Nevertheless, while St. Thomas was
affirming that man’s spiritual soul can exist
without matter, he also affirmed that this
soul cannot do its operation without the
Body and soul are inherently united. They
form a one substance, a unity, and not a
couple. This unity is the human person.
21. Rene Descartes (1596 – 1650)
He was the father of modern philosophy and
He contended that all extended beings
(meaning, bodily beings) including man’s body,
are subject to change and hence, uncertain.
To get rid of illusion in order to secure that
which is certain as the foundation of any
inquiry, he introduced a methodic doubt in
which he subject every extended being into
doubt and claimed that whatever is that
which will pass the test shall be held as certain
22. He realized that even if almost everything can
be doubted, there is one thing that he cannot
doubt – the fact that he is doubting.
And is he is doubting, then he is thinking.
Thinking, then, is something that is
indubitable, and it is through which we can
know ourselves and the fact of our
existence. Cogito, ergo sum. I think, therefore
He could not imagine himself without thinking
while he could imagine himself without the
23. Man, therefore, is independent of the body.
Man is a res cogitans, a thinking being and not
a bodily being.
Body is not man. Man is his soul, the soul
which thinks, affirms, denies, and wills.
Nevertheless, Descartes has been inconsistent
with his contention. In the latter part of his
writings, he also affirmed that there is
substantial unity of body and soul in man.
However, he claimed that the inquiry into the
nature of the soul is rather complicated and is
beyond the reach of reason.
24. Gabriel Marcel (1889 – 1973)
Many philosophers specifically
phenomenologists in the contemporary
period criticized Descartes’ conception
of the human person. One of those is
Gabriel Marcel, a French
phenomenologist who is also a
playwright and musician.
Marcel disagrees how Descartes and
some other mathematicians and
scientists look at the body of man as
merely a machine.
25. In Marcel’s philosophy, man’s
embodiment is not simply a datum
alongside other data but the primary
datum that is the starting point and basis
of any philosophical reflection.
This means that knowing and
investigating man is not the same as
knowing and investigating things, for man
is not merely a body but an embodied
26. Primary and Secondary Reflection
There are two levels in the act of knowing
according to Marcel: primary and secondary
Primary reflection is when we look at a particular
thing objectively (ob-jectum – thrown in front).
In this kind of reflection, I place myself outside the
thing I am investigating. It has nothing to do with
me nor do I have anything to do with it.
In this manner, the body studied in primary
reflection is no longer my body but “a body”.
“A body is an objective idea apart from me; I have
nothing to do with it nor does it have anything to
do with me.”
27. This is the body talked about in anatomy,
physiology and other sciences.
Because this is an objective and universal
idea, this can be the body of anybody else,
and consequently, of nobody.
Nevertheless, primary reflection about the
body is important.
Had it not because of primary reflection,
there could have never been any
development in medicine and in other
sciences as well.
29. However, Marcel contends that looking
at the body in a primary reflection is not
the whole truth. And indeed, there
could be a danger if I treat my body as
separate from me. I need to transcend
beyond primary reflection and go back
to the concrete experience of my body
where the whole truth about my body is
30. I have to enter into the level of secondary
In this kind of reflection, I recognize that I am
part of the thing I am investigating, and
therefore my discussion is subjective (“thrown
I have something to do with it and it has
something to do with me. Because I participate
in the thing, I cannot tear it apart into clear
and fixed ideas.
In using secondary reflection, I discover that
what exists is not “a body” but “my body” – my
body that is uniquely mine.
31. My Body
Marcel’s philosophy of the body is an
inquiry on the meaning of the
experience of my body.
“My Body” has two possible
connotations: I have my body and I am
To say that I have my body is to imply
that I possess or own it just as I own
32. My Body
First reason is that my body is mine and
mine alone. It cannot be the body of
Second is because I have a responsibility
over my body. It is I who must take care
And lastly, I can say that I have my body
because I have a control over it.
33. If I look at my body this way, I can say
that my body is an instrument or an
extension of myself, just as my dress is
an extension of my skin.
Marcel claims that understanding the
body in this manner is the product of
primary reflection in which we
objectify our body and make it apart
34. If I understand my body as merely a
possession, then it’s being mine loses its
It can be used, disposed and abused by
Upon consideration of secondary
reflection, it does not make sense to
treat our body as an instrument.
35. For Marcel, the experience of my body is the
experience of the I-Body. Here secondary
reflection recuperates and states that there is
no gap between me and my body. In other
words, I am my body.
If I say I am my body, this does not imply that
I am the body that is objectified by others,
the body seen, touched, felt by others. This
interpretation of my body only implies that
my being as a human person is reduced into
my body, instead to exalting my body as a
manifestation of my being a human person.
36. I am my body simply states that I cannot separate
myself from my body. I am an embodied
spirit. “I”, being subject, makes my body an
expression of my subjectivity also. Hence, I
cannot simply objectify my body just as others
cannot objectify me through my body.
What happens to my body happens to me; what
is inflicted to my body inflicts me also. What is
being said about my body is said about me.
Kapag ginawang katuwaan ang aking panlabas
na anyo, ang dignidad ko bilang tao ay
tinapakan na rin.
37. Marcel admits that it is difficult
to conceive of this experience of “my
body” in a clear and distinct manner.
Thinking involves making use of ideas
or concepts. However, the experience
of my body is not an idea. Even an
idea could not express this mysterious
relationship between me and my
I do not think of my body; I feel it.
38. If we want our thinking to be faithful to
experience, we need to use concepts
that point to this feeling. And this can
be fulfilled only if we enter into
secondary reflection and humbly
return to the experienced reality of
Such is the reason why description is
recognized to be more appropriate in
expressing experience than definition.
39. The Life of Embodied Spirit
Our reflection on the experience of my body
exposes its paradoxical character: On the
one hand, I cannot detach my body from
myself: I am my body. On the other hand, I
cannot reduce myself to my body. I also
experience myself as an I – a spirit with
intellect and will, that can never be
imprisoned in my flesh and bones. Hence,
the body becomes only an extension of
myself: I have my body.
40. A. THE BODY AS INTERMEDIARY
I experience myself as being-in-the-world
through my body. My body acts the
intermediary between the self or subject
and the world.
Intermediary connotes two meanings: as a
bridge and as wall
When I say my body is the intermediary
between myself and the world, I refer to
41. On one hand, because of my body, an
encounter and agreement occur between
myself and the world. Through my body, my
subjectivity is opened to the world and the
world is opened to me.
On the other hand, because also of my
body, I experience the world as separate
from me. I am hidden from the world, and
the world is hidden from me.
42. B. The body in intersubjectivity
My body is not only an intermediary between
me and the world but also between me and
Through my body, I show myself to others and
the others, through their body, show
themselves to me.
Yet, it is also though my body that I hide
myself from them, and they hide themselves
Dahil sa aking panlabas na anyo, nakakapiling
ko ang iba, ngunit dahil rin dito kaya’t
nawawalay ako sa kanila.
43. Ang pagkakaroon ko ng katawan ay isang
napakagandang pangyayari sa aking pagkatao. Dahil
dito’y nakikita ako at nakikita ko rin ang iba.
Gayunpaman, ito rin ay isang napakasalimuot kong
hantungan. Dahil dito’y tinatago ako, at sila’y tinatago
rin mula sa akin.
44. C. The value of my body
As the appearance and expression
of my subjectivity, my body has a
unique value and dignity. It directs
me not only to the world and to
others but also to God.