Sunday, July 4, 2010

perception and kinaesthesia

Husserl claims the close connection between perception and kinaesthesia (sense of movement).

Our perception of the object is always incomplete and accompanied by the object's horizon of absent profiles. I look at the house, for example, standing in front of it. I cannot see its sides, back, or roof. But I see the house as having another aspects to it. This structure of perception which includes the absent profiles of the object is concerned with our ability of moving.

[W]e can illustrate Husserl's idea with a concrete example. I am taking a look at my friend's new dual-fuel vehicle, and am standing in front of it. Whereas the front of the car is correlated with my particular bodily position, the horizon of the cointended but momentarily absent profiles of the car (its back, sides, bottom, etc.) is correlated with my kinaesthetic horizon, i.e. with my capacity for possible movement. The absent profiles are linked to an intentional 'if-then' connection. If I move in this way, then this profile will become visually or tactually accessible. The back of the car which I do not see has the meaning of 'the back of the same car I am currently perceiving' because it can become present through the execution of a quite specific bodily movement on my part.
[Gallagher and Zahavi. The Phenomenological Mind. p.99]

The important point of Husserl's kinaesthesia is not that we can perceive our own movements, but that our capacity of perception presupposes the movements.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Why phenomenology now?

A talk on 'The Phenomenological mind' continues.

Why do we need to reconsider phenomenology now in the 21st century?
Gallagher and Zahavi indicate these three points;

<1> Consciousness was raised as a scientific question from 1990s (the 'hard problem'), and phenomenology is thought to be important as a methodology.

<2> To design the experiments or to interpret the results of neuroscience and brain-imaging, a methodology to describe properly the conscious experience is needed.

<3> Phenomenology (especially Merleau-Ponty's) offers one of the best examples of embodied approaches to cognition, and brings the embodied, embedded, and extended view of the mind.