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Re: [xmca] Plying Frames and the Planet of the Apes


I find the emphasis on embodiment helpful in at least the following ways. 

1. it reminds me that each of us has ways of relating to our environment that do not require mental representations. Only the most unrepentant cognitivist would think that walking, or eating, or breathing, or dancing or sleeping require the creation of cognitive representations.

2. it reminds me that the intellectual is only part of the pie. When we think of bodies we thinking of eating and breathing, sensuality and excretion and sweating. Emotion, exertion, movement...  All sorts of corporal stuff that is just as important, if not more so, than the thought processes that we academics tend to prioritize.

3. it reminds me that culture *is* biological. The styles of walking that Mauss described; the habitus, the embodied dispositions that Bourdieu emphasized; how, as Foucault saw, our skin, our organs, bear the traces, the scars and wounds, of the way we have lived; the accents and tastes we have acquired - these are all at one and the same time biological and cultural, not one or the other.

4. and it reminds me that the basic way we have of making contact with other people isn't communication, it is bodies touching. Dancing salsa with a good partner requires and establishes an intersubjectivity, a being together, that is prior to any verbal attempt to struggle towards shared grounds. Heck, each of us came out of the body of another person! That has to count for something.


On Aug 13, 2011, at 8:34 PM, David Kellogg wrote:

> I am always impressed by the insistence on the embodiment of cognition by people who are equally insistent on its social and cultural basis. Not because I think there is an inherent contradiction (after all, social entities are bodies of bodies) but because to me a great deal of the talk of embodiment reflects the kind of bourgeois pessimism Volosinov complained about shortly after the turn of the nineteenth century.

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