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Sense of Space, The

David Morris

Publication Year: 2004

The Sense of Space brings together space and body to show that space is a plastic environment, charged with meaning, that reflects the distinctive character of human embodiment in the full range of its moving, perceptual, emotional, expressive, developmental, and social capacities. Drawing on the philosophies of Merleau-Ponty and Bergson, as well as contemporary psychology to develop a renewed account of the moving, perceiving body, the book suggests that our sense of space ultimately reflects our ethical relations to other people and to the places we inhabit.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. iii-iv

CONTENTS

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pp. v-

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PREFACE

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pp. vii-ix

THE SENSE OF SPACE is the basis of all social experience and of perceptual experience in general. Without it we would have no sense of a world beyond us. But what is the basis of spatial experience, and what does our sense of space tell us about us and our social being? The concern here is not the space...

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INTRODUCTION

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pp. 1-30

IMAGINE SITTING IN an outdoor plaza, watching things go on around you. I am thinking in particular of City Hall in Toronto. I am sitting on a bench near the fountains, whose pool is used as a skating rink in winter; to my right, paraboloid ribbons of concrete arch over the...

PART I THE MOVING SENSE OF THE BODY

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pp. 31-32

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CHAPTER 1THE MOVING SCHEMA OF PERCEPTION

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pp. 33-52

I AM TRYING TO WRITE the opening sentences of this chapter. I reach for my pen, which is sitting to the left of my coffee-filled cup, move the pen toward the paper, twiddle it, attempt a drawing of the cup, realize I am no artist, put the pen down on the right side of my cup, take up the cup and drink the coffee just to have something...

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CHAPTER 2 DEVELOPING THE MOVING BODY

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pp. 53-80

IMAGINE WATCHING A BABY playing on its back. It kicks its two legs, together, and swings its two arms, together, toward its midriff. Then it throws its legs and arms back straight and repeats the movement. The infant’s movement is symmetrical, with a one-beat rhythm: two arms move as one and two legs move as one, and arms and legs are joined together in an overall movement of...

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CHAPTER 3 THE TOPOLOGY OF EXPRESSION

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pp. 81-104

DURING THE COURSE OF development, the infant moves from kicking legs and arms together in one overall movement of the body, to walking, an asymmetrical two-beat movement of arms and legs in counterpoint. A fold, a constraint in movement, folds into a new fold. The symmetrical one-beat movement of the infant curls the body into...

PART II THE SPATIAL SENSE OF THE MOVING BODY

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pp. 105-106

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CHAPTER 4 ENVELOPING THE BODY IN DEPTH

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pp. 107-128

I AM WALKING DOWN the hill toward my house. As I move toward it, it turns different faces toward me. First I see only its west side, with the north face tucked in behind, hidden, although obviously there. As I get closer, the north face swings into view, and the west side...

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CHAPTER 5 RESIDING UP AND DOWN ON EARTH

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pp. 129-158

WE ARE IN A CURIOUS CONFLICT with the earth upon which we reside. We are bound to it, yet are separate from it; there is “something tenaciously involved between my life and the earth,” yet this something is “openly unconquerable and unfriendly.” The conflict concentrates in the legs and feet, which are, as we might say in English,...

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CHAPTER 6 GROWING SPACE

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pp. 159-174

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN living in a house with a very young infant and living in a house with a toddler is astounding. It calls for nothing less than a transformation of the household, of attitudes towards things in the house, of ways of caring and playing. Simply put, in moving about, the toddler becomes a different, more independent...

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CONCLUSION SPACE, PLACE, AND ETHICS

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pp. 175-181

OUR BODIES CROSS with the world, cross the earth, cross with our development and with our social world. Our sense of space refers to and makes sense of this crossing, it is not the reconstruction of an already constituted spatial order or container into which we have...

NOTES

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pp. 183-195

REFERENCES

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pp. 197-213

INDEX

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pp. 215-220


E-ISBN-13: 9780791484593
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791461839
Print-ISBN-10: 0791461831

Page Count: 220
Illustrations: 1 figure
Publication Year: 2004

Series Title: SUNY series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy
Series Editor Byline: Dennis J. Schmidt

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Merleau-Ponty, Maurice, 1908-1961. Phénoménologie de la perception.
  • Human body (Philosophy).
  • Movement (Philosophy).
  • Space perception.
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