ISTP Conference in Toronto
A common assumption in much of psychology is that the body is best (if not solely) understood as a physically deterministic entity, even when the existence of a mind/psyche is granted. Here I wish to explore an alternative conception of the body—that of lived embodiment—and make a modest proposal on its ramifications for how we understand addiction. I begin by discussing some of the important assumptions of the physicalistic model, namely linear temporality, causal determinism, and the notion of "habit" implied in those assumptions. Next, I will discuss an alternative conception of embodiment, drawn particularly from Maurice Merleau-Ponty and supplemented by the phenomenology of Martin Heidegger. The lived body, as found in our everyday movement in the world, exhibits a non-linear temporal horizon through which the world is habitable. I do not act from the temporally punctualized t1 to t2, but I act 'during the lecture,' 'as I cook,' or 'during the conference'; the temporal horizon is spanned. Similarly, it does not follow the if-then logic of causal determinism or rationality, but is based on "motivation"—rather than if I do this, then that will be the result, bodily motility is structured as if I am to do this, then I need to or must do that. For the body to act in a motivated way means its being "geared" towards the world according to specific intentions and, thus, it acts meaningfully. Lastly, "habit," rather than being a learned response to stimuli, is a "style" of being in the world, a particular way of dealing with various contexts. With the above in mind, I propose that the embodied aspect of addiction cannot be fully understood in causal terms, but must include the body’s circumstantial grasp of the world, motivation-based actions, and stylistic modes of being in the world.Admittedly, I have not written the paper yet, but I'm pretty certain it will work.
There is so much going on I don't know which sessions I will attend. However, the following definitely stick out at me: Relationship Between Language, Mind & Culture, The "Costs" of Being Dialogical: Assuming the Theoretical Consequences of the Dialogicality of Psychological Knowledge, Hermeneutic and Phenomenological Explorations, Constructing the Self and Identity (I and II), History Without Theory is Empty & Theory Without History is Blind, Exploring Ontological Relationality: Ricoeur, Buber, MacMurray, and Girard, and Embodied Subjectivity. It looks like this will be a really interesting conference and a great chance to network with like-minded pyshologists. So, if you just happen to be in Toronto at the time, come on over and see what theoretical psychology is like.