Thursday, April 12, 2007

ISTP Conference in Toronto

Another official announcement about my presentation at another conference. The International Society for Theoretical Psychology is having its annual conference at York University. They've recently put up the preliminary program. My presentation is during a paper session titled "Psychotherapy, Addiction & Intervention" on Thursday, June 21st somewhere between 4:00-5:55pm. The paper title of my paper is "Lived Embodiment and Addiction." Here is the abstract:
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.

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