Monday, April 07, 2008

Body scheme

Schank and Abelson developed the idea that we have a scheme in our head that organizes the way we see the world and that we use in order to interpret the world. It is a kind of abstract knowledge structure in which we try to fit what we perceive. Referring to my last blog, we can call the knowledge that my body has when it knows how to run “body knowledge”. Then we can call the knowledge that I intellectually have about my running (and that I can write down in a book or article) “mind knowledge”. When people talk about knowledge, they usually mean mind knowledge, but body knowledge is also a real kind of knowledge that we need when we want to act. Some philosophers talked in this case of knowing how and distinguished it from knowledge that, which I have called mind knowledge. If it is so that our mind knowledge is ordered in a scheme that we use for interpreting the world, it is not unlikely that such a scheme also exists for our body knowledge, a kind of body scheme that organizes the knowledge of the body about the world and where the body tries to fit in new experiences about the world and that it uses for acting. But as Gallagher has shown, it is impossible to separate the mental part from a person’s bodily part, and actually both schemes are only different sides of the same scheme (cf. my blog of June 18, 2007).


ashok said...

To HbdW

It seems you are referring to a) a frame of reference for a descriptive premise, and b) the entity human body running in that frame. The frame refers to the imagery of an event for example the person running described in terms of language we call knowledge. You seem to refer this knowledge mind knowledge or intellectual knowledge. Within the frame, the body of the man has its own dynamics which sets the body in motion, for example running and dancing. Are you referring to this inherent dynamics of body as some kind of knowledge which can be rightly acknowledged body knowledge? The intellectual abstraction or an imagination to undertake the feat of running, the instance of perception. My question is can we call that abstract knowledge, how to run, generated by the body, knowing that, ‘imagination’, and knowing how the ‘determination’. if it is the distinguishing component between the ‘that’ and ‘how’ the mind, then, you seem to refer to the ‘volitional’ act the attribute mind, which has in its sphere both imagination and ‘determination’. if you agree that my understanding of your terminologies are in order, then, what you mean is that volition is mind, is, the intelligence of the body, a purely bodily component which has language element in “imagination/perception” and “determination” and the “act’ which has no linguistic element at all, all in one sweep of intelligence, which is body alone. What we are talking about is behavioral psychology, where behavior alone is the explanation, even for the emergence language, as an item of experience.

Could you be more specific in distinguishing mind knowledge and body knowledge? It would be of tremendous help to me. How you are going to make it possible, to describe, the body knowledge, or the intelligence of the body, which apparently has no language content at all especially in the act of running (or dancing, or art), in terms of language. If we cannot achieve it we are left with no hopes.


HbdW said...

For some reason or another I have the feeling that you give my concepts a somewhat different meaning than I do. Moreover, you use concepts that are new to me (like attribute mind). The ideas of scheme of reference and body scheme are not an invention of me, and it is here not the right place to explain theme (it would take too much space). However, if you send me an e-mail with your e-mail address, I can give you the most relevant literature (for the e-mail: see my profile here or my website), where you find a better explanation of scheme etc. than I can give.
As such I doubt whether there are different kinds of mind but there are different kinds of knowledge and some knowledge can be expressed by language and other knowledge in a different way. But how? Merleau-Ponty used already this difference. But for a researcher, there is a serious problem here. If he or she studies another person's body knowledge, he or she can take only a third person's point of view and for the researcher the only way to represent another person's body knowledge is language. But that other person does need language in order to express his or her own first person's body knowledge. He or she simply feels what s/he means and is simply able to apply his/her body knowledge. When one wants to dance or run, one simply does. It does not have to be meditated by language. But if something can not be directly expressed but always need the mediation of language, that does not mean that it does not exist.