an extended critical overview and a beginning phenomenology of learning

Maxine Sheets-Johnstone

pp. 143-169

This paper takes five different perspectives on kinesthesia, beginning with its evolution across animate life and its biological distinction from, and relationship to proprioception. It proceeds to document the historical derivation of "the muscle sense," showing in the process how analytic philosophers bypass the import of kinesthesia by way of "enaction," for example, and by redefinitions of "tactical deception." The article then gives prominence to a further occlusion of kinesthesia and its subduction by proprioception, these practices being those of well-known phenomenologists, practices that exemplify an adultist perspective supported in large part by the writings of Merleau-Ponty. Following this extended critical review, the article shows how Husserl's phenomenology enlightens us about kinesthesia and in doing so offers us substantive clues to the phenomenology of learning as it takes place in the development and acquisition of skillful movement. It shows further how phenomenological methodology contrasts markedly with existential analysis, most significantly in its recognition of, and its ability to set forth a developmental history, a veritable genetic phenomenology that is basically a phenomenology of learning anchored in kinesthesia. After showing how that phenomenology of learning finds mutual validation in a classic empirical study of infant movement, the article ends by highlighting how human "I cans' are grounded in "I move," specifically, in the pan-human ability to learn one's body and learn to move oneself.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/s11007-018-09460-7

Full citation:

Sheets-Johnstone, M. (2019). Kinesthesia: an extended critical overview and a beginning phenomenology of learning. Continental Philosophy Review 52 (2), pp. 143-169.

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