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Representing Bodies

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Abstract:

According to the bodily awareness thesis (BAT), awareness of one's own body is a necessary condition for the acquisition and possession of concepts of primary qualities such as force and shape. I discuss two arguments for this thesis. The acquisition argument for BAT focuses on the role of bodily sensation and action in the acquisition of the concept of force. I suggest that this argument requires us to conceive of the content of sensation as both representational and non–conceptual. The objective reality argument for BAT claims that awareness of one's own body is an essential component of those experiences which are required for a proper grasp of concepts of primary qualities. I conclude by arguing, in opposition to Sartre and Merleau–Ponty, that there is no incoherence in the idea that one's body is a thing among other things.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-9329.00195

Affiliations: Wadham College, Oxford al–quassim.cassam@wadham.oxford.ac.uk

Publication date: December 1, 2002

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