John David Shotter
University of New Hampshire, Durham
Does all understanding consist in our using concepts to relate to the things around us, or do we also possess a more direct, spontaneous, bodily way of doing so? I explore this second possibility via Bateson's notion of “double description.” These phenomena are dynamic phenomena, in that they have their existence only in our embodied relations to the temporal unfolding of events in the two or more relevant sources. As such, as Bateson put it, they are of a different “logical type” to their source events. Bateson did not, however, extend this important insight out into the ways in which can make ourselves ready to relate to the others and othernesses around us, not only in such a way as to intertwine our outgoing activities towards them in with the incoming activities from them in a subtlety responsive manner, but also come to use the relational understandings created in such dynamic interplays in an anticipatory fashion—thus to provide us with embodied, perceptual skills that enable us to go out to meet familiar circumstances with appropriate kinds of response “at the ready”, so to speak. Below, following Todes and Merleau-Ponty , I outline the kind of preparing activities required if we are to acquire new embodied “readinesses” that enable us to become more “at home” in surroundings which are in fact in continual change—a process that connects with Bateson's account of abduction, the process in which we can sense the existence of a “pattern that connects.” Overall, my purpose in all of this is to bring to the fore the ineradicable role of our bodies in spontaneously arriving at what counts as real for us, and which although unnamable by us, determines that of “which knowledge always speaks”
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DOI 10.1111/j.1468-5914.2009.00399.x
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References found in this work BETA

The Concept of Mind.Gilbert Ryle - 1949 - Hutchinson & Co.
Personal Knowledge.Michael Polanyi - 1958 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
The Visible and the Invisible.Maurice Merleau-Ponty - 1968 - Northwestern University Press.
The Tacit Dimension. --.Michael Polanyi & Amartya Sen - 1966 - Chicago, IL: University of Chicago.

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