Ecological embodiment, tragic consciousness, and the aesthetics of possibility
creating an art of living
John Dewey, best known as a philosopher of education, continually attacks the dualisms presupposed in many philosophical writings, especially those that separate humans from nature, individuals from society, and the mind from the body. This chapter will build upon Dewey's writings to support four primary claims. First, it will argue that the individual is best understood in ecological terms that emphasize human embodiment within larger biological and social environments that extend globally and beyond. Second, understanding the implications of our ecological embodiment often leads to the development of a "tragic consciousness" as we become aware of our precariousness in light of the dangers within the systems of which we are a part. Third, tragic consciousness can undermine personal and social action, particularly when individuals suspect that their actions are insufficient to solve the problems facing them, whether locally or globally. Finally, this chapter will argue for the need of an aesthetics of possibility and an art of living that responds to our existential realities while cultivating meaning and working to enrich our lives. In doing so, it will draw upon not only John Dewey's works, but also those of Thomas Alexander.
Jeffcoat, T. (2015)., Ecological embodiment, tragic consciousness, and the aesthetics of possibility: creating an art of living, in , Aesthetics and the embodied mind, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 71-84.
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