5 The Body and Environment as an Active Co-object of Cognition. Embodied Knowledge in Work with Clay
This article intends to explain the phenomenon of gaining knowledge non-verbally and its significance in the subject-forming process. Today’s perspective assumes that cognition takes course both consciously and in the body, which is an active participant of this operation. The text follows the history of embodied knowledge analysing examples from i.a. history of philosophy, theory of neurobiology, psychology and cognitive anthropology. It concentrates mainly on the research which includes practice as complementary part (and sometimes a core) of scientific theses formation. The focus is on creative disciplines (art, design and craft) and indication of their direct in-depth engagement with corporal practice. There is also the emphasis on the insufficient quantity of research regarding artistic handiwork conducted from the perspective of embodied knowledge. The author analyses their own experience, artistic and craft practice based on working with clay: forming and rolling on the potter’s wheel. The subject of interest here are the processes accompanying production: the repeatable, perfecting movement, deep focus on pending activities, non-verbalisable knowledge, following one’s own body. Beside the role of the body in the cognitive process, the impact that environment has on gaining knowledge is emphasised. The article is concluded by a selection of examples to indicate that research into embodied cognition requires crossing the borders of traditional intellectual and linguistic approach, as well as introducing studies based on the practising body as integral methods of scientific work.
Keywords: body, externalisation of knowledge, manual work, embodied cognition, embodied knowledge