The body as blind spot: Towards lived experience and a body-specific philosophy in education
Koopman, Karen Joy
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What do the philosophies of phenomenological scholars such as Husserl, Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty tell us about education in South Africa? How can we use the philosophies of these scholars to develop the minds of our learners and students holistically? Drawing from Husserl’s “lifeworld theory,” Heidegger’s notion of Dasein and Merleau-Ponty’s “lived body theory,” this paper argues for a shift towards a philosophy of “lived experience” in the classroom that views the “body,” which is often dismissed in an educational setting, as an authentic, intelligible and privileged metaphysical object for learning. We argue that teaching should not promote a domain-specific epistemological ethos to open up new pathways to knowing and understanding the natural world, but instead should adopt a body-specific ethos that leads to a process of understanding our “true self,” “true nature” or “true humanity.” This means that education structured around preparing the masses for the corporate world should therefore not be our aim, but rather nurturing “body knowledge” that is already there.