Body Practice and Meditation as Philosophy

Teaching Philosophy 39 (2):115-135 (2016)
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Abstract

What challenges arise when attempting to incorporate body practice and meditation into undergraduate philosophy courses? In recent years, a number of philosophers have begun teaching such practices in academic classrooms, and at my university I have experimented specifically with teaching qigong, taijiquan, hatha yoga, and meditation techniques in a variety of courses on East Asian and Indian philosophy. Teaching body practices and meditations poses potential problems about exclusion and advocacy in the classroom: exclusion, in the sense that the practices might improperly marginalize certain students from full participation, and advocacy, in the sense that including these practices in a class might amount to problematic advocacy of a particular substantive set of religious values. This paper explores ways I have addressed these problems through a variety of pragmatic, situation-specific approaches and by encouraging students to have a sense of ownership about the practices and the learning environment itself.

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Steven Geisz
University of Tampa

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