2020 | Experience Embodied: Early Modern Accounts of the Human Place in Nature

Anik Waldow

Oxford University Press

Blurb: “This book develops an account of embodied experience that extends from Descartes’s conception of the human body as firmly integrated into the causal play of nature to Kant’s understanding of anthropology as a discipline that provides us with guidance in our lives as embodied creatures. It defends the claim that during the early modern period, the debate on experience not only focused on questions arising from the subjectivity of our thinking and feeling, it also forcefully foregrounded the essentially embodied dimension of our lives as humans. By taking this approach, the book departs from the traditional epistemological route so dominant in treatments of early modern conceptions of experience. It shows that, far from merely raising concerns that either challenge or endorse the idea that experience is able to generate knowledge, the concept formed an essential part of a much broader debate. This debate was moral in nature and raised questions about the developmental potential of human beings and their capacity to instantiate in their lives a form of self-determined agency that allows them to act as responsible agents.”