In this piece, I argue against the Cartesian trend of seeing persons, selves and mind as something distinct from the body. It is claimed that Descartes realized the importance of the link between body and mind, but never pursued this connection, and this then becomes the aim of the paper. Another effect of Cartesian modes of thinking is to divorce human knowledge from its material contexts, driving a wedge between mind and matter. Some forms of social constructionism appear to fall into this latter trap and instead I argue for a view of persons as embodied beings whose selves are intimately connected to the body. Using the work of Bourdieu, Elias, Merleau-Ponty, and Ilyenkov, I also suggest that thought cannot be disengaged from a human body active in its world and that knowledge not only partly separates us from the materiality of existence, but connects us to it in deeper ways, as another dimension of human existence. Human beings can then be regarded as bodies of knowledge – active thinkers and persons engaged with the multi-dimensional world around them and capable of producing change
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DOI 10.1111/1468-5914.00063
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