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Transcript of Embodiment
The Primacy of Perception, 1964 "Embodiment" from Merleau-Ponty: A Guide for the Perplexed If asked to explain my desire for the apple, I should speak, not of the chemical preconditions of my present brain states, but of my reasons for feeling this way. Human beings are embodied subjects; however, their subjectivity is not something merely attached to their bodies, but something which is inconceivable without a body of a particular form. ...to be embodied means that living in the world comes before conscious thought about the world: experience is 'pre-reflective' at base, and reflection concerns what is pre-reflectively given. Rene Descartes
Descartes was the father of modern western philosophy, and made great contributions to mathematics. Meditations Descartes begins with throwing away all former notions, and tries to find what is real. Humans are capable of having dreams that feel life like, and there is not always a clear mark to distinguish dreaming from being awake. Therefore its possible that I am dreaming right now, and my perceptions are false. Although dreams are made up of pieces that actually exist, we have reason to doubt the quality of our surface perceptions. What we don't have to doubt are the mathematical properties that material bodies generally have. That is UNLESS there is a god deceiving us, which would be well within the power of a being that created all existence. Lets say there is no god, then we have all the more reason to doubt our beliefs. Argh! Is there nothing I can prove to be true?
Wait a moment... even if I were being deceived, I can still think. While the objective content of my thoughts could be wrong, I cannot be be deceived about the fact that I seem to perceive objects with certain characteristics. I think, therefore I am. Even physical objects are known more distinctly through the mind, rather than the body. Take a piece of wax and melt it. The size, shape, smell, and texture change. It still remains the same piece of wax. We know the wax through our mind and judgement, not through our senses or imagination. Therefore, knowledge of physical matter provides evidence for our existence of thinking beings. Thankfully we still get to doubt our senses and intuitions concerning mathematical knowledge, since god may allow us to be deceived.
Lets prove god. There are three common types of ideas: The innate, those that I conceive with thought, and those that originate from something outside of me. Descartes says that god exists from the fact that he has an innate idea of god. Every idea has an objective reality according to the reality of what it represents.
"I don't need to assume there is a force greater than myself, yet I still have the idea of a perfect god. Since I am a finite being, the idea of god could not have originated in me". -Descartes Descartes goes on to say that we must have an idea of perfection before we can have an idea of limitation. But what if I am more perfect than I think, and contain these perfections I attribute to god? NOPE! Only a more perfect being can explain our coming into, and our continued existence. This must be god. We cannot blame god for giving us free will. It's the fault of human beings that we abuse free will. God is still perfect, so it's still impossible for god to deceive us. When we imagine something, we understand that thing as present to the mind. Imagining is distinct from thought since we can think of things without understanding what they look like. Try imagining a thousand sided figure. We can think of it, but cannot form an image. In imagination the mind turns towards the bodies senses to form an image. It seems that the imagination requires the existence of a body. The body is like a machine. It is intimately joined, yet distinct from the mind. The mind is indivisible, while the body is divisible. The mind is only affected by the brain. While the body is affected by the stimulation of the world. All animals are automatons, and our god given souls are grants us free will. In the end we can add three things to our list of real concepts. I exist, god exists, and mathematical properties are trustworthy. Since god is perfect, there is no reason he would deceive us. We can now trust in mathematics. Life of Pierre Bourdieu
Born: August 1, 1930 in Denguin, Pyrenees-Atlantiques, France
Died: January 23, 2002 (Age71) in Paris, France Most Popular Works Why Is Bourdieu Important? Who Influenced Bourdieu •Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste
•Outline of a Theory of Practice
•The Rules of Art
Bourdieu's theory of class distinction
Bourdieu’s theory of power and practice
Bourdieu's theory about media and cultural production
Field and Habitus
Habitus and Doxa He built upon the theories of Ludwig Wittgenstein, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Edmund Husserl, Georges Canguilhem, Karl Marx Belief and Body "The body believes in what it plays at: it weeps if it mimes grief. It does not represent what it performs, it does not memorize the past, it enacts the past, bringing it back to life. What is ‘learned by body’ is not something that one has, like knowledge that can be brandished, but something that one is." Pierre Bourdieu His works have been translated in over 24 languages. His ideas of habitus and social learning of the body are referenced in sociology, anthropolgy and philosophy. Other social scientists used his ideas such as Loïc Wacquant, who applied Bourdieu idea of participant observation to boxers. He was inspired by Merleau-Ponty concept to refer to embodied knowledge developed through self-discovery in the body’s contact with nature and practical knowledge developed through apprenticeship in the body’s contact with artifacts. In short, the corporeal pertains to motor skills. Oh free will A Cartesian does not see himself in the mirror; he sees a dummy, an "outside," which, he has every reason to believe, other people see in the very same way. His "image" in the mirror is an effect of the mechanics of things. If he recognizes himself in it, if he thinks it "looks like him," it is his thought that weaves this connection. The mirror image is nothing that belongs to him. Artists have often mused upon mirrors... ...they recognized the metamorphosis
of seeing and being seen that defines
both our flesh and the painter's vocation. This explains why they have so often liked to draw themselves in the act of painting. Mimesis The Spirit Self Identity Gender Power and Embodiment POWER and RESISTANCE Medical Terms "By replicating an experience in gesture and art, the experience becomes known and familiar" grotesque body process of self-construction
healing ritual Marginalization? 'existential ground of belief and the locus of engagement with the spirit world' Communication an idiom for articulating a certain range of experiences Mohammad and Dawia Malay Women Emotions IT ITSELF REDUCIBLE TO NONE possession widens out from the body and self into other domains of knowledge and experience 'ultimately fail to comprehend phenomena that evade all rational containment' What Women DO work in the spiritual realm on behalf of themselves, their families, households, or communities maintain kin ties and family health, social reproduction of their communities, protect future generations "a threat to women's fertility is a serious threat to....the community as a whole" message of defiance beyond [their] own limited confines a second culture, lying in the shadow of the first provide ways of understanding, trying out, coming to terms with, and contesting modernity, colonialism, capitalism, and religious and other hegemonies one's relationship to others by thinking through the Other writ large reservoirs of cultural knowledge theatrical commonly refers to the hold exerted over a human being by external forces or entities more powerful than she a broad term referring to an integration of spirit and matter, force or power and corporeal reality, in a cosmos where the boundaries between an individual and her environment are acknowledged to be permeable, flexibly drawn, or at least negotiable. "How else are we to understand other cultures?" Spivak-
The subaltern can't speak How is it that other peoples believe the self to be permeable from forces from without? are we denying the whole of the possession experience? How is it that Western models have repeatedly denied such permeability? Or to put it another way...
I am, therefore I think. Spirit Possession Janice Boddy Spirit Possession Revisited: Beyond Instrumentality Peripheral