I am also a fan of Mark Johnson's work in general and in particular The Meaning of the Body. Johnson's own thoughts on the emotion/reason continuum stem from two thinkers: John Dewey and Merleau-Ponty. Both he and George Lakoff acknowledge their mutual indebtedness to them in The Philosophy in the Flesh. Their mantra in that book was that: The mind is inherently embodied, reason is mostly unconscious, abstract concepts are largely metaphorical and reason is emotionally engaged and evolutionary and is rooted in perceptual and motor repertoire that we share with other animals.
In his essay in Mind in Architecture, Mark Johnson speaks of how radical John Dewey's understanding of emotion actually was. Emotion, for Dewey was not only personal and internal it is endemic to the situation at hand, emotions are simultaneously an expression and an attunement to the situation in which we are embedded. Dewey called the ear the emotional sense for this very reason—sound moves us directly. Emotion is not strictly an internal condition but a coextensive awareness gauging inner and outer situations. This relationship between sound/ear and emotions likely accounts for why music moves us so deeply, Jon Sakata, are you with me?
Maurice Merleau-Ponty insisted that an angry gesture does not make us think of anger, it is anger itself. Which is akin to the poet Jane Hirshfield's observation that one cannot skip while angry or rage in a tender voice. When understood this way, emotion suddenly seems reasonable, that is, ia reasonable psycho-bio-chemical embodiment of the situation in which we find ourselves. A leading thinker in affect and emotion is the philosopher Giovanna Colombetti, who studied with Mark Johnson, Evan Thompson and Shaun Gallagher and her book The Feeling Body, is a must read.
Sarah, Where in this constellation would you place Jean Gebser?
(And thanks for yet another book I have to read. This symposium has become a book lust fest!)
The thing that struck me most about Johnson's book was his ability to synthesize a wide range of scientific and philosophical thought, and to wrap everything up in a way that felt both deeply personal and completely of-the-moment. He also draws on thinkers as varied as William James, Suzanne Langer, Rudolf Arnhem, and Antonio Damasio.
Love this line: "The mind is inherently embodied, reason is mostly unconscious, abstract concepts are largely metaphorical and reason is emotionally engaged and evolutionary and is rooted in perceptual and motor repertoire that we share with other animals."
It`s all true.
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