This book provides a richly rewarding vision of the burgeoning interdisciplinary field of somaesthetics. Composed of fourteen wide-ranging but finely integrated essays by Richard Shusterman, the originator of the field, Thinking through the Body explains the philosophical foundations of somaesthetics and applies its insights to central issues in ethics, education, cultural politics, consciousness studies, sexuality and the arts. Integrating Western philosophy, cognitive science and somatic methodologies with classical Asian theories of body, mind and action, these essays probe the nature of somatic existence and the role of body consciousness in knowledge, memory and behavior. Deploying somaesthetic perspectives to analyze key aesthetic concepts (such as style and the sublime), he offers detailed studies of embodiment in drama, dance, architecture and photography. The volume also includes somaesthetic exercises for the classroom and explores the ars erotica as an art of living.
Richard Shusterman is the Dorothy F. Schmidt Eminent Scholar in the Humanities and Professor of Philosophy at Florida Atlantic University, where he also directs the Center for Body, Mind, and Culture. He is the author of numerous books, including Body Consciousness: A Philosophy of Mindfulness and Somaesthetics (Cambridge, 2008), Performing Live (2000) and Pragmatist Aesthetics (1992, 2nd edition, 2000, and published in fifteen languages).
Introduction; Part I. Somatic Being, Knowing, and Teaching: 1. Thinking through the body: educating for the humanities; 2. The body as background; 3. Self-knoweldge and its discontents: from Socrates to somaesthetics; 4. Muscle memory and the somaesthetic pathologies of everyday life; 5. Somaesthetics in the philosophy classroom: a practical approach; Part II. Somaesthetics, Aesthetics, and Culture: 6. Somaesthetics and the limits of aesthetics; 7. Somaesthetics and Burke's sublime; 8. Pragmatism and cultural politics: from textualism to somaesthetics; 9. Body consciousness and performance; Part III. The Arts and the Art of Living: 10. Somaesthetics and architecture: a critical option; 11. Photography as performative process; 12. Asian ars erotica and the question of sexual aesthetics; 13. Philosophy as awakened life: everyday aesthetics of embodiment in American transcendentalism and Japanese zen practice; 14. Somatic style.