Body image disturbances and Affordance Perception

James Gibson introduced the concept of Affordance in the 1970s as an approach to understanding organism-environment relations. The concept of affordance refers broadly to the opportunities for action the environment offers. The concept asserts that there is a symbiotic relationship between the organism and the environment – in that, the environment specifies information to support particular behaviors, and the organism in return poses abilities (effectivities) to enable engagement with the opportunities for affordances the environment provides.

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Cognition isnt in the head…but is it in the body?

These are just some thoughts that I had about the arguments made by Clark and Chalmers and in particular the sense of unease which these ideas create towards more traditional scientific views of cognition which comfortingly establish human cognition as being seemingly above and beyond other forms of thought. I wonder if it is possible to argue for a view of ‘cognition’ as it is thought of as the receiving and processing of information in the environment in the pursuit of achieving a goal of some kind, as a whole body process, of which the head being the location of the brain plays a particularly large role, involving the receival and processing of information throughout the body as is necessary for relevant tasks. If these processes which occur within the entire body could be viewed as ‘biological cognition’ (i.e. occurs within the body or as a result of processes within the body) separately to external items which seem to mimic or aid in the cognitive processes which occur within the body, such as notebooks, computer information processing systems, tools etc, which could be possibly be seen as ‘artificial/external cognition’. In this way it could be possible to recognise the similar and perhaps crucial role which items that appear to aid or mimic cognitive processing occurring within the biological body of a person in an ‘artificial/external’ manner play in how we develop an understanding of the world around us but to separate them from the processes more traditionally viewed as cognition which occur within an individual’s biological body, whether that be the head, body, or big toe. Perhaps this would allow for a view of cognition which could satisfy both the need for a method of researching both internal and external forms of cognition separately and together, and the need to view ‘human cognition’ as it’s own superior process in order to comfortably seperate us from the world. I will try to outline how this view of cognition could answer some of the questions raised by the examples put forth by Clark and Chalmers below.

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Collective Trauma and Society

The term ‘Trauma’ arouses various facets of psychological mechanisms like attention, fear, and flashbacks. As the renowned American psychiatrist Judith Herman quoted about trauma that “After a traumatic experience, the human system of self-preservation seems to go onto permanent alert, as if the danger might return at any moment“, trauma here is understood as an individual and a personal experience. However, it is interesting to understand conceptualization of trauma as a societal phenomenon that affects an entire community. This conceptualization is referred to as ‘collective trauma’.

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Description and explanatio

As part of the blog test, I’d like to briefly chat about the description and explanation.

The phrase “man can see color” is one of countless descriptions. So how to explain it? Let’s first change this declarative sentence into a question, why can people see colors?When a child asks his mother a question with great expectation, the usual answer to this question is that it is because people have eyes and eyes can see all kinds of colors.

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Name & Form, Cause & effect and Non Duality

The point of the previous post was to point at extremely hightened emotional states, which open up how we have registered the world, the moments are intense and after they are over quite often it points at thinking where time is linear and the world is constructed on cause and effect, I did this and hence i feel this way, they did this and i am feeling this way, i will do this and this feeling will happen. it puts us in the probelms of the past and confusions of the future. this is a dualistic register of consciousness, it is us making distinctions between aspects of our experience, like self and other, inside and outside.

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Insistence, Hesitation and Suffering

To be a body is to be subject to emotions and passions. But to be a body is also to act in the world. The suffering of life exists on these two pillars, we have passions and emotions and yet sometimes we cannot or will not act on them, sometimes we will force them. we are not just the only body, we are a body in a world populated with other bodies, we find ourselves in varying relations with other bodies, and we are passionate beings acting in a world that affects all of us. one point through which we can look at emotion and its relation with action can be viewed as insistence and hesitation. In any relationship we are bound to find insistence and hesitation when these are not present, life seems smooth, it’s pleasant and we are left wanting, and through that wanting arises suffering. When we seek answers, we seek to escape this bondage.

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A Short Thought on the Metaverse

A very nice blue fish made using computer graphics

In 1992, author Neal Stephenson published the science fiction novel “Snow Crash”. The novel’s plot jumps between the real world and a virtual-reality world called the Metaverse. In this novel, we have to credit the naming of this idea of a virtual environment in which lifelike avatars can interact with realistic 3D architectural structures and other users’ avatars.

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Embodied Approaches in Medicine. 3. The relevance of the Extended Mind Hypothesis in Medicine

The previous blog posts in this miniseries have highlighted the lack of integration of embodied approaches in modern medicine, the rather unfortunate consequences of such oversights, as well as some of the advantages that might come with the integration of such approaches into the current medical paradigm. This post will be different. Unlike embodiment and biosemiotics, the subject of ‘extended mind’ is very much present in, and relevant to, the modern medical system.

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What Ideas are Shaping our Technology?

Vincent van Gogh “A Pair of Boots” 1887 From source

Why are you wearing that piece of clothing surrounding your feet which you call shoes? Even the technology we take for granted in our everyday lives results from assumptions shaped by historical ideas and events and put into theory and practice. In “The world we perceived through the feet,” Tim Ingold brings the reader through some historical assumptions and ideas in which the advancement of footwear has been embedded and shaped. Exploring some historical aspects of shoes may help us create a framework that invites us to discuss some of the central views of the continuous research and technological advancement in western societies. 

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Embodied Approaches in Medicine, a Miniseries. 2. The use of biosemiotics in medicine through the example of placebo

As part two of the series Applying Embodied Practices to Medicine, this post will be concerned with the application of one subdivision of embodied approaches, biosemiotics, to medicine. Before looking at the potential advantages that the adaptation of a biosemiotic approach might have for medicine it is perhaps wise to sketch how the theory of biosemiotics might be applied to the field of medicine in the first instance. In brief, first proposed by Jakob von Uexkull, biosemiotics can be defined as the study of signs, their meaning, and interconnecting codes in a living system. Under a biosemiotics hypothesis, every organism establishes a vital information exchange with its lived environment (‘umwelt’) which leads to an external semiosis (sign exchange/meaning transfer) (‘exosemiosis’). While von Uexkull was primarily concerned with the external environment in his primary thesis, his son Thure von Uexkull, soon extended his concept of biosemiotics to the inner environment (‘symptomatization semiosis’) which ultimately results in an internal semiosis (‘endosemiosis’). During symptomatization semiosis, endosemiosis occurs at each of the various biological complexity levels i.e. at the level of cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems. For example, at the cellular level, signs are represented by genotype; meaning by phenotype; codes by the correspondence between DNA (genotype) and RNA (phenotype) nucleotides; and decoders by the ribosome system responsible for transcription and translation i.e. responsible for the transition from genotype to phenotype. Certainly, the processes of exosemiosis and endosemiosis do not occur in isolation but rather there exists an intricate and extensive coordination process between the two which ultimately establishes a bidirectional information flow between the body and environment i.e. a feedback loop.

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