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Habitus in Habitat III

Synaesthesia and Kinaesthetics

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Edited By Joerg Fingerhut, Sabine Flach and Jan Söffner

A myriad of sensations inform and direct us when we engage with the environment. To understand their influence on the development of our habitus it is important to focus on unifying processes in sensing. This approach allows us to include phenomena that elude a rather narrow view that focuses on each of the five discrete senses in isolation. One of the central questions addressed in this volume is whether there is something like a sensual habitus, and if there is, how it can be defined. This is especially done by exploring the formation and habituation of the senses in and by a culturally shaped habitat. Two key concepts, Synaesthesia and Kinaesthetics, are addressed as essential components for an understanding of the interface of habitat and the rich and multisensory experience of a perceiving subject.
At a Berlin-based conference Synaesthesia and Kinaesthetics, scholars from various disciplines gathered to discuss these issues. In bringing together the outcome of these discussions, this book gives new insights into the key phenomena of sensory integration and synaesthetic experiences, it enriches the perspectives on sensually embedded interaction and its habituation, and it expands this interdisciplinary inquiry to questions about the cultures of sensory habitus.

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Framing Synaesthesia

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Sensorimotor Signature, Skill, and Synaesthesia. Two Challenges for Enactive Theories of Perception JOERG FINGERHUT Introduction The condition of ‘genuine perceptual synaesthesia’ has been a focus of attention in research in psychology and neuroscience over the last decades.1 For subjects in this condition stimulation in one modality automatically and consistently over the subject’s lifespan triggers a percept in another modality. In hearingcolour sy- naesthesia, for example, a specific sound experience evokes a perception of a specific colour. In this paper, I discuss questions and challenges that the phe- nomenon of synaesthetic experience raises for theories of perceptual experience in general, and for theories that see the content and modality of conscious experi- ence as being constituted and determined by the active and skilful exploration of the environment in particular. The focus of my paper will be on the latter, ‘en- active’ view of perception and its theory of what determines the modality- specific ‘feel’ of a perceptual experience.2 In genuine synaesthesia a local element – e.g. another percept – reliably and sufficiently triggers a specific response experience: no involvement of the body that is related to the response percept (like eye saccades for visual experience) seems to be needed. This constitutes the first challenge to enactivism: in cases of hearingcolour synaesthesia colour experiences are elicited that are not related to the normal sensorimotor signature of vision. The strong correlation between skill and experience that is predicted by enactivism does not hold in these cases. 1 It has been argued that this...

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