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The Bodily SelfSelected Essays$
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José Luis Bermúdez

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780262037501

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262037501.001.0001

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The Phenomenology of Bodily Awareness

The Phenomenology of Bodily Awareness

(p.125) 5 The Phenomenology of Bodily Awareness
The Bodily Self

José Luis Bermúdez

The MIT Press

There is an interesting dialectic between discussions of bodily awareness in the phenomenological tradition and in contemporary philosophy of mind and scientific psychology. It shows, with particular reference to Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception, how phenomenological insights into bodily awareness and its role in agency can be developed and illuminated by research into somatic proprioception and motor control. The paper presents a taxonomy of different types and levels of bodily awareness and presents a model of the spatiality of bodily awareness that explains some of the fundamental differences that Merleau-Ponty identified between our experience of our bodies and our experience of non-bodily objects. The key to these differences is that bodily locations are given on a non-Cartesian frame of reference. The final section shows how this way of thinking about the phenomenology of bodily awareness has interesting and fruitful connections with current thinking about motor control.

Keywords:   Merleau-Ponty, Bodily awareness, Proprioception, Frames of reference, Spatial content, Motor control, A-location/B-location

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