Focusing on the reception of Maine de Biran by Alexis Bertrand in his thesis, L’aperception du corps humain par la conscience (1880), I will demonstrate how the “corps propre” (one’s own body) becomes a key concept in order to re-orientate the French spiritualist movement. To do so, Bertrand’s neo-Biranism uses a new methodology with phenomenological issues. The image of the body, the primitive space or the engagement within the world becomes new research themes for spiritualism. His interpretation of Biran’s philosophy leads him to criticize mechanistic epistemology, and especially the concept of reflex. In this context, Bertrand proposes an animist metaphysics, aiming to reconcile his Biranism with the advances of science. As a consequence, the history of the concept of one’s own body must take into account metaphysical perspectives and not only scientific and experimental researches.

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