Embodiment, Transparency and the Disclosiveness of Failure, Shaun May

  • embodiment is characterised by a plasticity which entails that it can include both the biological limb and the ‘artificial’ tool, as evidenced by recent research in cognitive science.
  • embodiment has a plasticity which allows its boundary to extend beyond and retract behind the epidermal one
  • the body schema is fundamentally a non-representational state of ‘bodily awareness’
  • the body schema is more fundamental than the body image, and it is only on the basis of our having a body schema that we can have ‘objects of awareness’ and representational knowledge
  • the issue of ‘incorporation’, and the possibility that an object can be incorporated into both the body image and the body schema
  • the rubber hand illusion
  • when the object is both motorically and perceptually embodied we get the same sense of ownership that we are accustomed to having with our biological limbs.
  • According to Heidegger (1996), we need to understand that the most fundamental relationship that we have with objects is what he calls ‘readiness-to-hand’. The ready-to-hand object is the one which is fulfilling its function optimally, and in doing so it is ‘transparent’ – I don’t really ‘register’ it on a conscious level, and my attention is focussed on the activity with which I am immersed.
  • When the embodied object or limb fails it suddenly ceases being embodied and the ‘boundary of embodiment’ shrinks.


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