Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The premise of embodiment

The basic premise of the notion of embodiment is as following;

[T]he notion of embodiment, the notion of an embodied mind or a minded body, is meant to replace the ordinary notions of mind and body, both of which are derivations and abstractions. Merleau-Ponty famously speaks of the ambiguous nature of the body, and argues that bodily existence is a third category beyond the merely physiological and the merely psychological. The lived body is neither spirit nor nature, neither soul nor body, neither inner nor outer, neither subject nor object. All of these contraposed categories are derivations of something more basic.
[Gallagher and Zahavi. The Phenomenological Mind. p.135]

Thus the notion of embodiment first of all rejects the Cartesian mind-matter dualism of res cogitans and res extensa. It doesn't question how the body interacts with the mind or how the mind influences the body. Instead, it requires the description of the body which appears in our cognition and action. The real question is how the body (the minded body) appears in our experiences and how the body shapes and structures our experiences.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Biological Motions

According to the research on the perception of biological motions, in which the subjects view videos of moving figures wearing point-light displays in the dark, subjects are better at identifying themselves than friends or colleagues (cf. Gibbs, 2006). Why can they do so? What subjects see is how they look from the outside when walking. We see the gaits of friends and colleagues more than we see our own.

Probably we are able to translate our proprioception to the visual image. Proprioceptive sense of our own body cross-modally informs the visual perception.