5 / Backgrounding: From the Body of Knowledge to the Knowing Body

5 – 7 October 2007   print this page

Conference organizers:

Zdravko Radman, University of Zagreb, Croatia

Shuan Gallagher, University of Memphis, United States

Maxine Sheets-Johnstone, University of Oregon, United States

Conference description:

How does the body of knowledge become the knowing body? How do rules turn into rutines, conscious efforts into unreflexive skills? In a final instance, the conference will address how the symbolic turns into the spontaneous; not only in percpetion and other modes of the mind, but also in motor activity. Ultimately, it concerns an enactive theory of the needed embodied know how sufficient for granting our interaction with the world, and for the cognitive competence that is unique to human Handlung. Through our intervening in the world the background is constantly being reshaped and reconstituted. Rather than a matter of faithful correspondence, it is in a permanent process of adjusting to a 'maximum grip on the world'. Backgrounded knowledge harbors our experience and feeling of the world in a synthetic way. Nothing in it exists in isolation from other elements: mental and motor, language and pictures, real and imaginary, rational and emotional, logic and inuition, scientific and aesthetic - all coexist within the realm that knows no such polarized separations.