Lost in (Symbolic) Space

  • David W. Kidner


One might reasonably assume that our physical embodiment in a physically real world would be the foundation from which our understanding would grow; and it is bizarre and tragic that much philosophy and social science, as well as some of the major religious traditions, begins from precisely the opposite assumption — namely, that our embodiment leads us away from truth and understanding. It is an indicator of the estrangement of academia from reality, as Paul Stoller tells us, that it has become necessary to defend the view that “the human body is not primarily textual … rather, it is consumed by a world filled with smells, textures, sights, sounds, and tastes, all of which spark cultural memories”.1 Arthur Kleinman, too, has referred to the “tyranny of meaning that overvalues coherence and other intellectualist priorities”, adding that

sensory conditions of sounds, smells, tastes, feel, balance, sight, and more complex and subtle sensibilities (moral and aesthetic), as well as muscular agency and action also constitute everyday experience. So do social relations and social memories; fragmentary, contradictory, changing, unexpressed and inexpressible though they often are.2


Industrial Society External Reality Woman Refugee Symbolic Order Sinus Headache 
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Copyright information

© David W. Kidner 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • David W. Kidner
    • 1
  1. 1.Nottingham Trent UniversityUK

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