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PHL340 Notes January 10 to 26.docx

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Heather Jackson

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PHL340 Notes January 1026 Review of MerleauPonty Two underlyingprimal aspects of perception passivity of sense experience activity of bodily skills sensory and motor dimensionsPerceptionbodily phenomenonwe experience our own sensory states not as states of mind but as state of our bodies relation between perception and body is not causal or conceptual my body is my point of view on the world mode of being in the world not an object in the environmentReflexArc Model perception and movement are not related to one another as cause and effectsbut coexist in a complex interconnected whole it is impossible to say whether the stimuli or response came first behaviour is the first cause of all stimulantsstimulants organs received are only possible through prior senses preexisting perceptions and behaviours make intelligible sensations and reflexes not vice versa reflexes in nature and simulations are different they are made to work to respond to isolated stimuli situation and reaction are not cause and effect they are two moments of a circular process animals react in coordinated ways to a whole situation and produce responses to isolated stimuli reflexes are never blind processes they adjust themselves to a sense of the situation and express our orientation toward a behaviour milieu settingReview of Descartes body as machinefreestanding physical system whose behaviour as a whole is a function of the workings of its individual parts which interact rigidly by direct causal contact the body is the chunk of the physical world that happens to be causally contingent with the soul MP Bodily Point of View the bodily point of view is the ordinary intuitive understanding we have of ourselves as embodied perceivers Proprioceptionour direct sensorimotor awareness of our own bodies differing from our perception of external things habitual body and present bodyshort term and long term sense of body eg phantom limbwe always have an intuitive understanding of our own bodies eg where we feel pain where our actions are initiated and performedimmediate and intuitive bodily sense of ourselves Body schemaphenomenal field of space of perceptual possibilities impossibilities and necessities our ability to anticipate and incorporate the world prior to applying concepts to objects also called habit the body understands constitutes our precognitive familiarity with ourselves and the world we inhabit motivational connections forge bonds of meaning in experience allowing us to preserve and maintain a best grip on the world best grip when my perception offers a clearly articulated view and when motor intentions receive responses from the world they anticipate our bodies are constantly unconsciously and involuntarily adjusting themselves to maintain best grip Motor Intentionalitybodily awareness that allows us to encounter the environment as an environment Shneidervisual form agnosiaunable to perform abstract movements with his eyes closed movements not relevant to any actual situation he could still perform concrete movements movements necessary for life provided they have become habitual for him Abstract movements not relevant to any actual situation actual background Concrete movements necessary for regular life projected background two neurological functions are involved in normal bodily behaviour one for pointing and one for grasping Shneider has lost the ability to point to things out of context but his grasping skills remain intact vision for perception and vision for action are two streams in the brain normal behaviour is a composite of two distinct functions pointing and grasping a regular situation of concrete movementtask elicits the necessary movements from him by a kind of attraction Shneiderconcrete movement is guided by a kind of visual grip on the world Shneider lacks immediate intuitive knowledge of whether he is lying or standing but must infer things from his body our bodies and worlds are given to us in sensory intuition this Shneider lacks Shneider cannot create the thought of movement into actual movementhe is lacking what is between a thirdperson process and thought as the representation of movement an anticipation or arrival at a result ensured by the body itself as a motor power a motor intentionalitylacking any direct intuition of objective spatial relations Shneider also lacks the ability to project himself into imaginary actions and imaginary worlds for the normal person every movement has a background and that movement and its background are moments of a unified whole eg Shneider throws himself into salute Shneider can perform concrete movements but he lacks the perceptual background that ordinary imbues such movements with their worldly significance his concrete movements are blind in a sense concrete movement occurs in being or in the actual and adheres to a given background abstract movement occurs in the nonbeing and projects its own backgroundthe distinction between grasping and pointing misses the crucial intermediary phenomenon of motor intentionality which involves the projection of a world given in intuition as opposed to constructed in thought Motor intentionality the normal utility and integration of our bodily movement and our intuitive awareness of a given stable environment it seems intuitively obvious that the visual image that allows us to recognize a coffee cup is the same one that guides our hand when we pick it up but this belief is an illusion vision is not one thing but twoone genuinely phenomenal and the other merely actionguidingJanuary 10MerleauPonty127 Motor Intentionalitysomething between movement as a third person process and thought as a representation of movement something which is an anticipation of or arrival at the objective and is ensured by the body itself as a motor power every movement is movement and consciousness of movement for the normal person every movement has a background the movement and its background are moments of a unique totality the background to the movement is not a representation associatedlinked externally with the movement itself but it is present immanent in the movement and sustains it at every moment an action is to relate oneself to the object and is on the same footing as perception Concrete movementbackground is the world as given Abstract movementbackground is built up Example of motor intentionality waving to a friend to come over from across the room we do not realize we do it it is not a thought prepared inside the person it is like a reaction to seeing the friend there is not a perception followed by a movement but both form a system together165 the body catches and comprehends movements the acquisition of a habit is the grasping of a significance motor grasping of motor significance motor intentionalityeg a woman with a feather in her hat keeps a safe distance away from things that may break it off she feels where it is just like she feels where her hands are eg not checking width of a door with width of body just walking right through the objects have ceased to be objects with sizevolume established by comparison with other objects the objects are potentialities of volume the demand for a certain amount of free space areas immediately appear passable or impassable for my body eg blind mans stick is an extension of his senses172 all the movements towards eg reaching for the telephone are enveloped in each other desire certain result the relevant tasks are spontaneously distributed amongst appropriate segments of the body
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