The felt sense of the other: contours of a sensorium

Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 20 (1):57-73 (2020)
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Abstract

In this paper, I explore the phenomenon of a felt sense of the concrete other. Although the importance of this phenomenon is recognised in the contemporary discussion on intercorporeality, it has not been subjected to systematic phenomenological analysis. I argue that the felt sense of the other is an aspect of intercorporeal body memory in so far as it is a habituation to something like the concrete other’s expressive style. Because it is inherently a sensory phenomenon, I speak of an embodied sensorium of the other. I illustrate the phenomenon through contrasting case-vignettes taken from research in early parental bereavement. Based on this, I identify five modalities that outline the fundamental contours of a sensorium and specify that in their intermodal and synesthetic concretion they account for the felt sense of the other. Finally, I argue that the existential importance of the phenomenon is rooted in the distributed nature of my sense of self and self-familiarity. To illustrate this, I draw parallels between the felt sense of the concrete other and the felt sense of home and suggest that though there are also distinct differences between the two phenomena, they are rooted in the same underlying existential need for feeling-at-home in the world.

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Allan Køster
Aalborg University

References found in this work

Phenomenology of perception.Maurice Merleau-Ponty - 1945 - Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey: The Humanities Press. Edited by Donald A. Landes.
Phenomenology of Perception.Maurice Merleau-Ponty - 1962 - New York: Routledge. Edited by Donald A. Landes.
Totality and infinity.Emmanuel Levinas - 1961/1969 - Pittsburgh,: Duquesne University Press.
Oneself as Another.Paul Ricoeur - 1992 - University of Chicago Press.
Phenomenology of Perception.Aron Gurwitsch, M. Merleau-Ponty & Colin Smith - 1964 - Philosophical Review 73 (3):417.

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