Understanding is the way we have a world.

From page 102 of Mark Johnson’s book The Body in the Mind: The Bodily Basis of Meaning, Imagination, and Reason.

A crucial point here is that understanding is not only a matter of reflection, using finitary propositions, on some preexistent, already determinate experience. Rather, understanding is the way we “have a world,” the way we experience our world as a comprehensible reality. Such understanding, therefore, involves our whole being – our bodily capacities and skills, our values, our moods and attitudes, our entire cultural tradition, the way in which we are bound up with a linguistic community, our aesthetic sensibilities, and so forth. I  short, our understanding is our mode of “being in the world.” It is the way we are meaningfully situated in our world through our bodily interactions, our cultural institutions , our linguistic tradition, and our historical context. Our more abstract reflective acts of understanding (which may involve grasping of finitary propositions) are simply an extension of our understanding in this more basic sense of “having a world.”

 

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About Radical Metaphor

Philosophy student, film junkie, pop culture snob.

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