By Mark Johnson
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Extra info for The Meaning of the Body: Aesthetics of Human Understanding
In this book, I focus mostly on exploring the aesthetics of the bodymind—how meaning grows out of our organic transactions with our environment. I try to show why disembodiment is not purity of thought but would, in fact, amount to the loss of all the means we possess for making sense of things. As the Collins poem suggests, our bodies are the very condition of our meaning-making and creativity. If a man were reduced to only a skeleton with a penis at a typewriter, then he would, of course, write poems only about sex and death.
Art as an Exemplar of Meaning-Making 11. Music and the Flow of Meaning 12. The Meaning of the Body Notes References Index Color plates PREFACE The Need for an Aesthetics of Human Meaning People want their lives to be meaningful. This desire—this eros—for meaning is so strong in us that we are sometimes even willing to risk death in our pursuit of meaning and fulfillment. It is our need to make sense of our experience and to inquire into its overall meaning and significance that has kept philosophy alive since the dawn of reflective thinking in our species.
PART I Bodily Meaning and Felt Sense Discovering, making, and communicating meaning is our full-time job. We do it from the moment we are born until the moment we die. Sometimes we do it consciously and intentionally; but mostly, meaning emerges for us beneath the level of our conscious awareness. Meaning is happening without our knowing it. So, to figure out where meaning comes from, we have to look deeply into mostly nonconscious bodily encounters with our world. I submit that if you want to understand human meaning-making, you should probably not start with theories of meaning put forth in contemporary analytic philosophy of mind and language.