Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Behnke, Elizabeth A. "Husserl's Phenomenology of Embodiment." INTERNET ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PHILOSOPHY July 7, 2011.

For Husserl, the body is not a physical substance, but a central, vibrant perspective relative to which our understanding of the world is oriented. It is a locus of distinctive sorts of sensations felt firsthand by the embodied experiencer, and it is a coherent system of movement possibilities by which we experience our situated, practical-perceptual life as an arrow to a new perspective. To identify such experiential structures of embodiment, Husserl must identify not only the ways in which the natural sciences approach the body, but also the ways we have tacitly taken natural-scientific assumptions into our everyday understanding of embodiment. Husserl’s phenomenological investigations eventually lead to the notion of “kinesthetic consciousness”, which is not a consciousness of movement, but a consciousness of motility (the ability to move freely and responsively). In Husserl’s phenomenology of embodiment, the body is a center of experience, and both its movement capabilities and its distinctive register of sensations play a key role in his account of how we encounter other people in the shared space of a coherent and ever-explorable world. Many of Husserl’s theories were taken up by such later figures in the phenomenological tradition as Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty, who gave them an ontological interpretation. However, Husserl’s main focus is epistemological, and for him, embodiment is not only a means of practical action, but an essential part of the deep structure of all knowing. . . .



  1. The article is not there with this link...

  2. Apologies. The link worked yesterday but seems to have been changed since then. I've written the editors of IEP to point out the error and am hoping for a quick response.

  3. Update: The link is correct. However, the editors report that the page has been suspended in order to allow the author to make some editorial changes. It should be back up in the near future.