November 22, 2017

The Body-Project

The Body-Project  (1st page)

Interdisciplinary investigation on bodily experiences

1. The Body-Project

The body, as the subject or the object of our experience, mediates all our interactions between our mind and the world. Not surprisingly, both the human experience of the body itself and the concepts used to depict it are steeped in cultural and intellectual history. However, the experience of the body is rarely invoked in a unanimous manner in life sciences, mind sciences and the humanities. Could the experience of one’s body be conceptualized as a straight physiological process, a psychological structure, or an essentially private, scientifically inaccessible, subjective event? As other psychological phenomena, the experience of one’s body calls for simultaneous biological, behavioural and first-person styles of exploration. But this requirement seems to be particularly acute in the case of bodily experience: this concept focuses our attention on the intertwining of bodily and mental properties, the tension between the objective and the subjective realms, analysis by science and philosophy.

 

2. Our focus

Our starting point is the differentiation between three bodily dimensions that should be neither confounded nor reduced to each other: the anatomical, the functional, and the experiential dimensions of the body. This differentiation represents the first and necessary methodological step towards the synergies that will implement our Body-Project. Accordingly, we will investigate the respective contributions of these dimensions in three prototypical components of bodily experience:

- the sense of body-ownership: one’s direct relation to one’s own body (“this my body”).

- the sense of agency: one’s relation to one’s actions (“this is my action”)

- the bodily first-person perspective: the experience of the external world as anchored to one’s own body (e.g. “the pen is to my left”).

Eight focused and interrelated research projects will investigate the complex interdependent relations between body and actions, body and self, and body and world.

 

3. About us

Our group consists of ten young researchers, mainly trained in five different disciplines (psychology, cognitive neurosciences, neurology, philosophy, anthropology) with one common major focus of research, namely, the experience of one’s own body. We believe that a theory of bodily experiences that is conceptually clear, experientially informed, clinically valid, and experimentally testable can only be developed in an  interdisciplinary research group. Our methodological approach implies mutual constraints for mutual enrichment of theoretical, empirical and clinical perspectives on bodily  experiences.Click here for group members information.

 

4. Funding

The Body-project and the activities of the Somatognosia Group are funded by the European Platform for Life Sciences, Mind Sciences and the Humanities, Volkswagen Foundation. For the more information, please visit the Platform’s homepage