World, Body and the Subject: A Reconsideration of Subjectivity

Social Sciences in China (Chinese Edition)

No. 12, 2021


World, Body and the Subject: A Reconsideration of Subjectivity



Wang Xiaosheng


Since the 1980s, Marxist philosophy has tended to understand subjectivity on the basis of a dualistic opposition between mind and body. This kind of understanding makes it difficult for people to grasp the notions of “world” and “body.” “World” is a system of associative meanings established by mankind through the body and through nature, and the object of cognition emerges from within the world. The body is different from the corporeal soma understood in various soma models. Bodily movement creates the body schema, which not only interacts with the world, but also establishes the unity of the world through this interaction. The reason people have trouble understanding the world and the body is that they are influenced by fetishism. The concept of “world” can give us a better understanding of “subject” and “object.” In his Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844, Marx’s emphasis on self and nature stresses the elements of the human body. In the course of the history of civilization, man’s fear of his inner nature led to the mind/body conflict. Marx’s view of returning the world of man to man himself provides an intellectual basis for resolving this opposition.