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The animacy of mind. .

The primacy of movement

Maxine Sheets-Johnstone

Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 1999. Paperback, $45.95. ISBN 1-55619-194-4.

Maxine Sheets-Johnstone's latest book (part of the series, 'Advances in Consciousness Research') is a fascinating and erudite examination of the importance of bodily (and other) movement in any philosophical and psychological account of animate organisms, a continuation of her earlier book, The roots of thinking (Sheets-Johnstone, 1990). The book presents a philosophy of ethology, which seems consistent with assumptions made by Konrad Lorenz, Adolf Portmann and others in early studies of animal behaviour, and by Daniel Stem, Andrew Meltzoff and others in more recent studies of the psychology of human infants. Much as Sheets-Johnstone does, these authors view the mental as resonant in movement and responsiveness. Her book will be of particular interest to those fascinated by the recent philosophy and psychology concerning animal (including human) consciousness but can be usefully read by anyone interested in the origins of cognition. Topics of concern are phenomena such as the nature, evolution and development of symbolism and symbolic behaviour, experience and consciousness, and the brain. For a precis of the book and commentaries online, see the issue of Psycoloquy at 11.098. Although the book discusses the philosophical literature concerning animal mind and human cognition, it could be understood without extensive knowledge of this literature. I strongly recommend this book to any scientist or philosopher studying the mental.

The mind/body problem

Sheets-Johnstone repeatedly (and accurately) writes that the inclusion of kinaesthetic experience--the experience of moving oneself--in psychology is essential for scientific understanding, yet it is almost totally ignored in recent accounts of animal and human cognition and cognitive science. She argues that the Cartesian division of mind and body as separate (though interconnected), with the former 'mental' and the latter 'mechanical', resulted in a division in which the body has often been relegated as unimportant in psychological theory and philosophy of mind. As a consequence, scientists view the brain as the seat of (or identical to) the mind, and the body itself as irrelevant to psychology. Within this mindset, there is a double standard: Mechanistic ideas can be applied to the mind, but mentalistic ideas are disdained when applied to the body. Even those who focus on the body as psychological via talk of 'embodiment' (as if we are packaged' in bodies-p. 359) may fail to take into account that we are o ur bodies, complete with sensory organs, appendages and organs, experiences, thoughts, material existence and movement (pp. 358-362).

Sheets-Johnstone takes to task several recent philosophers of mind and biologically oriented anthropologists. She shows that philosophers and scientists of various types too readily over-interpret phenomena to support an inappropriate mind/body dichotomy For example, palaeontologists attribute symbolism to non-representational artefacts such as campsites and tools of early modern humans (who thereby have mind and body) but not of Neanderthals (who are purely body), and primatologists describe be brains (rather than the primates whose bodies house and use the brains) as capable of cooperative hunting. Among the many ironies in modern science noted by the author, psychologists seem all too willing to attribute experiences to brains but are quite reticent about attributing experiences to animals. (This latter problem is discussed by various authors in Mitchell, Thompson, & Miles, 1997.) Playing on Thomas Nagel's essay 'What is it like to be a bat?' (see Nagel, 1979), Sheets-Johnstone entitles one chapter 'What is it like to be a brain?' and suggests that, in the view of current scientists, it seems to be the case 'that there is such a thing as a day in the life of a brain' (p. 453). Imaginary scenarios in which brains sit in vats yet have experiences, or in which a human being is (somehow) verbally given all the information possible about some phenomenon without any actual experience of it or indeed without any linguistic development via social interaction, presume that bodily experience is irrelevant to thought and that a brain knows and experiences without any physical connections to a body. As Sheets-Johnstone wryly notes of her fellow philosophers' characterization, 'It is a brain only a comparatively sedentary human could love' (p. 481). Some philosophers are, to some extent, concerning themselves again with bodily experiences (e.g. Bermudez, Marcel, & Eilan, 1995), but, as Sheets-Johnstone notes, the philosophical imagination has typically been limited to examining the experiences of redness and pain.

Sheets-Johnstone reminds philosophers who regard all of consciousness as entirely linguistic, and scientists who view language as a brain process, that language is always a kinaesthetic phenomenon: One must move to talk, whether by vocal or manual means. Indeed, the kinaesthetic is mostly ignored in Donald Griffin's (2001) analysis of subjective experience in his recent book Animal minds, yet, as Sheets-Johnstone notes, 'At their most fundamental level, subjective experiences are tactile-kinaesthetic experiences' (p. 435). Sheets-Johnstone takes experience seriously reminding me of Suzanne Langer (1967) with her focus on the significance of feeling for any philosophy of symbols.


Sheets-Johnstone re-examines the significance of philosophers such as Aristotle, Husserl and Merleau-Ponty for her thesis. She argues, following Aristotle, that movement, not matter, should be the primitive in our understanding of biological nature because, without movement, life, perception and experience are impossible. Whether at the level of neuronal activity, or eye movement, or bodily self-movement, the natural (biological) world is active, animate, dynamic and experiential. At base, even 'lowly' creatures such as single-celled animals are sensitive to their bodily movement and to changes in their current environment. The Aristotelian biology that overlays much of her analysis is refreshing, as she notes that Aristotle's ideas are (and have been) consistently relevant to our understanding of animate life. But Sheets-Johnstone also utilizes Darwinian ideas, as when she cogently presents scientific studies that describe how sensors for external proprioception were transformed to become sensors for kinaest hetic perception during the evolution of 'lower' animals. In her concern with movement, kinaesthesis and proprioception as the basis for consciousness, and in her desire to describe the experiential aspects of organismic activity, Sheets-Johnstone calls to mind Margaret Floy Washburn (1908, 1916), an author unfortunately unrepresented in this book. Indeed, Washburn's (1916) Movement and mental imagery elaborated the idea that consciousness is always experienced movement.

The use of a phenomenological methodology derived from Husserl pervades Sheets-Johnstone's thinking. Each of the many available phenomenological methodologies appears to be distinctive to a particular phenomenologist (Schmitt, 1967) and perhaps even to any given interpreter. While Sheets-Johnstone finds Husseri's phenomenology to take significant account of kinaesthesis and Merleau-Ponty's to ignore its significance, others espouse the opposite view (Gallagher, 1995). Husserl, of course, changed in his thinking, as Sheets-Johnstone makes clear (p. xvii), so differences in interpretation may depend on differences in which texts are examined. Whatever the correct interpretation of Husserl's ideas, Sheets-Johnstone's explication of his ideas is intriguing. In one chapter comparing Husserl's phenomenological methodology and Helmholtz's scientific methodology, the author elaborates both methodologies and shows how both can lead to an understanding of experience as essential for understanding perception. Both meth odologies focus on perspective taking, with Helmholtz manipulating his own body's relation to phenomena to examine the influence of kinaesthesis on perceptual change and stability in vision, and Husserl developing the phenomenological method of 'bracketing'. Simply put, bracketing requires intentionally holding at bay ('suspending') beliefs or judgments usually taken for granted (such as the actual existence of objects). For example, one can look at a speaking person as a purely visual phenomenon, ignoring the fact of linguistic meaning and of sound itself and perceiving in the process the outward or visible articulatory gestures of speech alone. (Sheets-Johnstone's 1990 book elaborates the idea of bracketing more fully.) After bracketing, one can imagine multiple interpretations of an experience and thereby articulate possible experiences. By examining an experience from multiple perspectives (some of which may be alien to it), invariant structures or other essential aspects of the experience may be articula ted. While Sheets-Johnstone suggests that bracketing is distinct to phenomenology, it seems to me an important part of scientific theory construction in some sciences, such as comparative psychology, when one tries to discern or imagine the essential aspects of some phenomenon for a non-human (thereby 'allen') organism. (See Mackenzie, 1977, for another interpretation of the significance of phenomenological methodology in comparative psychology.)

Kinaesthesis, self-knowledge and knowledge of other minds

One particularly illuminating result of Sheets-Johnstone's phenomenological methodology is the idea that, in contrast to other perceptions, kinaesthesis does not produce imagery. To understand this, think about visual and auditory images: Both can occur without any actual (external) stimulus. One can have a visual image of one's mother, or an auditory image of her voice, even if she is not present or talking. Now try to imagine your body moving via a kinaesthetic image (without any visual experience of yourself), so that you feel as if you are moving without any actual movement occurring. What you find is that, to feel kinaesthesis, you must actually move. (Some kinaesthetic images without actual movement can be created via elaborate setups with mirrors [see Gregory, 1997, p. 250; Ramachandran & Blakeslee, 1998, pp. 46-50], but these images are atypical and require visual experiences to be produced.) Kinaesthetic 'images' are, normally, always tied to immediate actual feeling of movements, unlike visual image ry, for example, which can occur without any simultaneous sensing of the external world. This idea paves the way for understanding why the development of intersubjective experience requires kinaesthetic-visual matching (see below), in that kinaesthesis coheres with bodily movement. (The somasthetic imagery found in phantom limbs is usually a feeling of the presence or cramping of an absent body part, not of its movement; if movement is experienced here, it may be an aberrant exception to the rule.)

In discussing Nagel's (1979) proposal to understand the nature of experience in other beings, Streets-Johnstone questions his veto against using imagination and empathy (see also Shapiro, 1997) and (at other points) suggests that any and all knowledge depends upon these methods. Empathy can be experienced via imitation, and imitation and other forms of matching appear to be present at birth in human infants, as when infants match a sound to a visual experience, reproduce another's facial expression or determine visually which of two differently shaped pacifiers had been in their mouth. Following developmental psychologists studying infants, Sheets-Johnstone attributes to these infants 'amodal perception' (p. 254), which allows them to 'transfer across sensory modalities' (p. 255). Sheets-Johnstone seems to vary in how she interprets these matching skills. For example, in explicating infant facial imitation, at one point she posits that the infant 'would be aware of the correspondence between the visual face o f [another] and her tactile-kinaesthetically felt face, and correlatively aware of the difference between the two perceptions' (p. 167, italics added). However, at a later point, she specifically disavows a need for matching between discrepant modalities to explain infant matching skills: 'to approach an explanation of their imitative capacities by attempting to harmonize dissimilar sensory modalities--"the visual" and "the proprioceptive"--is to overlook what is for an infant a unity of experience in virtue of movement, that is, the kinetically unifying bond by which an infant is linked epistemologically to the world' (p. 262; cf. Merleau-Ponty, 1962, p. 352).

Sheets-Johnstone's interpretation of infant imitation is, in fact, somewhat confusing to me, and there are alternatives (e.g. Hecht, Vogt, & Prinz, 2001; Prinz & Hommel, 2002). Indeed, determining the basis for infants' apparent cross-modal skills is difficult (see e.g. Hatwell, 1990; Sugden, 1990; Vinter, 1990). The idea that infants 'fuse' (or fail to differentiate) perceptual modalities is intriguing especially since, even by preschool age, children continue to do this at a conceptual level (O'Neill, Astington, & Flavell, 1992; O'Neill & Chong, 2001; Pillow, 1993). Yet, what such fusion entails is unclear. If young infants really fuse diverse modalities, one would expect them to respond imitatively to almost anything. (How one determines what is an imitation of what then becomes a difficulty--see later discussion of iconicity.) Yet, in fact, very young infants are constrained imitators: Many respond with non-imitative actions to a model, many never produce an imitation, and the range of actions (including sounds) they are capable of imitating is limited (see Mitchell, 2002e; Nadel & Butterworth, 1999). It may be that very young infants can match from vision to kinaesthesis but not the reverse until around 14 months of age (Mitchell, 1994b), but why this would be is not obvious. Whereas Sheets-Johnstone's idea that 'Primal animation, a resonant tactile-kinaesthetic body, and a preeminent attention to movement are the keys to understanding the prodigious power of infants to imitate adult gestures and movements' (p. 262) accounts for infants' responsiveness to dynamic movements of others, it fails as an explanation of imitation. An activity's characterization as imitation requires that the point of the activity is to reproduce closely the form of the behavioural model (see Mitchell, 1987, 2002b, for review). Most non-human animals do not show imitation of this sort in infancy or later, yet still have everything needed to do so according to her account: Animation, a resonant tactile-kinaesthetic body, and an atten tion to movement. (This assumes that 'resonant' does not mean matchable across perceptual modalities'.) Sheets-Johnstone's ideas here may be appropriate for imitation characterized more globally (as in Trevarthen, Kokkinaki, & Fiamenghi, 1999). Indeed, her idea that bodily movement is, for infants, both their 'match point' with the world and their mother tongue' (p. 258) seems based on the idea that human infants sense movement itself (not necessarily its form) as the same thing whether experienced kinaesthetically or visually, and respond to movement with movement. (The notion that movement is our 'mother tongue' becomes more evocative as a pun when Sheets-Johnstone later discusses the primacy of tongue movement in language production.) We humans even recognize similarities between another's bodily movements and metaphorical movements in music (see Mitchell & Gallaher, 2001). In Sheets-Johnstone's view, our intuitive understanding of our own movements as abrupt, swift, smooth or graceful grounds our apprecia tion and understanding of other movements with the same characteristics, whether these movements be of balloons, neurons, music, frogs or other people.

If indeed young infants can imitate or match forms across sensory modalities, this is not a generalized capacity: Infants may be able to match from vision to kinaesthesis when they exhibit imitation at birth, but evidence that they can match from kinaesthesis to vision is not present until about 14 months of age, when infants recognize that they are being imitated and (soon after) recognize themselves in mirrors. Thus, the amodal matching skills of infants appear to be unidirectional, rather than bidirectional (Mitchell, 1994b, 2002c). By 14 months of age, it would appear that bidirectional cross-modal matching is occurring--generalized kinaesthetic-visual matching to be precise (Mitchell, 1993, 1997a, b)-rather than amodal or unidirectional matching. Consequently, kinaesthetic-visual matching is not a given or primitive, as Sheets-Johnstone sometimes suggests, but rather shows a development much like that which she elucidates when describing the growth of language from infancy (e.g. p. 385). Knowing exactly what develops with increases in cross-modal matching skills remains a mystery (Hatwell, 1990; Hecht, Vogt, & Prinz, 2001; Mitchell, 2002b; Sugden, 1990). I agree with her in thinking that movement and dynamism are essential for early imitations of infants (who do not imitate static images--Vinter, 1990), and that some form of kinaesthetic-visual matching is essential for (human) language and intersubjective awareness (p. 387; see also Guillaume, 1926/1971; Merleau-Ponty, 1960/1982; Mitchell, 1994a, 1997b; Piaget, 1945/1962). In contrast to Sheets-Johnstone's ideas (p. 382), I believe that most non-human animals' communication systems are not based on kinaesthetic-visual matching (see Mitchell, 2001a); the fact that animals within a group use similar gestures to communicate does not mean that the animals recognize a similarity between their own and others' productions of the gestures. As an obvious example, human-dog communication relies on repeatedly presented actions that are not producible by both participa nts, yet are still effective (Mitchell, 2001b; Mitchell & Thompson, 1991). Animals should be attentive to contingencies between their own and others' actions, even if these actions do not resemble each other; animal species whose members were attentive only to gestures similar to those they themselves could perform would not last very long. In contrast to theories suggesting that empathic understanding derives from some form of bodily matching, it is clear that we ourselves need not depend on similarity in gestures to understand other species (Thompson, 1994). Still, as Sheets-Johnstone argues, recognition of similarity at any level may be useful.

In Sheets-Johnstone's view, it is odd that Merleau-Ponty, so often perceived to be the philosopher of the body, almost completely ignores kinaesthesis and seems to assume that it is part of an unexplicatable background for experience (e.g. Merleau-Ponty, 1962, p. 150). Even more oddly from her viewpoint, Merleau-Ponty (1960/1982, pp. 117-119) is most concerned with kinaesthesis when characterizing intersubjectivity and self-recognition in the mirror. Sheets-Johnstone finds Merleau-Ponty's (1960/1982) analysis relating the child's relations with others to mirror-self-recognition puzzling:

What can the learning of our a constellation of ongoing tactile-kinaesthetic corporeal experiences, possibly have to do with a consciousness of our bodies in terms of mirrors? Moreover what is a representation doing in the midst of what Merleau-Ponty presumably conceives to be an existential analysis of 'The Child's Relations with Others'?...[H]ow can 'the development of consciousness of one's own body' have anything to do with mirrors?...Is there not something missing from Merleau-Ponty's account, namely, a resonant tactile-kinaesthetic body, and, in effect, a tactile-kinaesthetic consciousness?...Why would Merleau-Ponty fail to recognize that our visual sense of the movement of others is rooted in just those unified experiences we have of our own movement? (pp. 283-284, 289)

I believe Sheets-Johnstone misses the significance of Merleau-Ponty's ideas. Merleau-Ponty recognizes exactly the match between self-motion and others' movements in his positing of a structure, the 'corporeal schema' (used in imitation, self-recognition and intersubjective awareness), by which older infants match between kinaesthesis and vision. For Merleau-Ponty, recognizing oneself in a mirror is possible only if one has a kinaesthetic body. For MerleauPonty, the existence of matching between kinaesthesis and vision indicates the existence of a structure that is 'relatively transferrable from one sensory domain to the other in the case of my own body [as in mirror-self-recognition and knowing generally what I look like when I move], just as it could be transferred to the domain of the other' as in imitation and empathy (p. 118). This structure is an 'invariant', in both Sheets-Johnstone's (p. 385) and Merleau-Ponty's (1962, p. 141) words. In connecting consciousness of the body with mirror-self-consciousnes s via kinaesthetic-visual matching, Merleau-Ponty also connects it with understanding of other minds via the same process. According to Merleau-Ponty (1960/1982), 'I can perceive, across the visual image of the other that the other is an organism, that the organism is inhabited by a "psyche", because the visual image of the other is interpreted by the [kinaesthetic] notion I myself have of my own body and thus appears as the visible envelopment of another "corporeal schema"' (p. 118). It seems likely that kinaesthetic-visual matching allows for the possibility that a creature can become intersubjectively aware, rather than inherently making it so (Mitchell, 2000).

Interestingly, Sheets-Johnstone may have an explanation for why kinaesthetic-visual matching does not occur for most animals: They do not attend to their bodies as physical objects per se (p. 391), so the kinaesthetic (proprioceptive) and visual are never differentiated (and thus one cannot represent the other). She notes that the bonobo Kanzi does not seem to know the names of his body parts ('body part objectification'--sec Mitchell, 1993) and implies that this lack of knowledge may be true of all non-human animals, suggesting that animals experience no (Cartesian?) birfurcation between experience and body--'Their physical bodies are inseparable from their living bodies. Their living bodies are felt...the living bodies of animate creatures are coterminous with the animals themselves. Physical bodies as such have no separable place in their world as do the physical bodies of humans' (p. 391). However, several human-reared language-trained apes-chimpanzee, gorilla and orangutan--distinguish body parts and can name them (Gardner & Gardner, 1969; Hayes & Hayes, 1955; Miles, Mitchell, & Harper, 1996; Patterson & Linden, 1981), so it seems likely that Kanzi can too. In addition, these particular great apes are the only ones so far whose behaviour offers evidence for both generalized imitation and self-recognition (Mitchell, 2002a, c). Dolphins, too, can distinguish and name body parts (Herman, Matus, Herman, Ivancic, & Pack, 2001), a finding that is consistent with the usefulness of this ability for self-recognition and generalized imitation (Mitchell, 1993), each of which is individually exhibited by some dolphins (see Mitchell, 2002c). Sheets-Johnstone's idea that non-linguistic animals and human infants (and often even linguistic creatures such as ourselves) are embodied consciousnesses in the sense that they fail to differentiate between their bodies and themselves is probably accurate, as is the idea that they think in and during bodily movement (see e.g. Mawby & Mitchell, 1986).

Iconicity and apperception

Sheets-Johnstone complains (quite appropriately) that many scientific and philosophical explanations of the symbolic or psychological ignore any evolutionary history (but see Parker & Gibson, 1979; Parker & McKinney, 1999). In such theories, the symbolic and psychological come from nowhere--arriving with language, for example, which itself in these explanations has no evolutionary history and seems to arise spontaneously. I think her criticism is often accurate and is close to my own view (Mitchell, 1994a) and that of earlier theorists (e.g. Langer, 1967; Piaget, 1945/1962; Werner & Kaplan, 1963), that animate form provides for analogical (iconic) bodily representation. Iconic or analogical representation occurs when one thing is intended to look like, or be highly similar to, another thing, without actually being that thing. For example, a dancer's increasingly upward movement of her arm may look like what the higher and higher notes in a piece of music sound like. Imitation and representational art are the prototypical examples of iconicity. The problem for me in any account of animal movement as iconic or analogous is in deciding when one bodily activity is similar to another (let alone when it is intended to be similar-see Mitchell, 1987). How similar must a bodily activity be to something else to be iconic? Some authors (e.g. Tanner & Byrne, 1999) seem willing to attribute iconicity to animal action with a minimum of similarity between movement and what it resembles. Sheets-Johnstone provides examples of in-and-out tongue movements indicative of sexual interest being iconic for sexual intercourse, and of stone tools being iconic for teeth (pp. 16-19). I find it difficult to believe that primates recognized the similarity in these examples. What is believable to me is that the body is a medium of communication, that bodily movement itself is socially meaningful and that bodily movements used repetitively ('bodily invariants'--p. 385) for communication and deception are kinaesthetically and tactilely felt inva riant structures. But it seems so often that animal communication is non-analogical and arbitrary. And although there are communicative gestures that develop in deaf children that are analogical, even in sign development, many gestures appear to be arbitrary (Folven, Bonvillian, & Orlansky, 1984/1985). I suspect that analogical expression via the body is rare in animal species outside great and cetaceans, although that is still a moot point (see Mitchell, 1994a, 2002d).

It is certainly true, as Sheets-Johnstone notes, that communication and deception often rely on repetitive movements that can be recognized as bodily invariants by receivers (see e.g. Mitchell, 1994a, 1996). However, such receivers, contra Sheets-Johnstone (pp. 386-387), need not recognize that the creature moving (the 'sender') experiences tactile and kinaesthetic feelings. Thus, whereas sound-producing organisms might develop speech to communicate, they need not apperceive' that species members experience similar kinaesthetic feelings when making the same facial and bodily postures needed to produce the same sounds (see discussion in Strawson, 1958/1964). (Apperception occurs when one fills in an object's details that are not directly perceived, as in anticipating that a book seen only from the top has a bottom and sides.) Sheets-Johnstone's ideas about the development of language based on apperceptive empathy ('Speech perception... involves an analogical transfer of sense from our own tactile-kinaesthetic body to the tactile-kinaesthetic body of another'--p.387) presumes a sophisticated skill at kinaestheticvisual matching that humans (and some other species) clearly attain, but most species do not (Mitchell, 1994a, 2000, 2002a, c, d). Clearly one must acknowledge that, when originally learning a language, 'we were necessarily attentive to what we were doing inside our mouths, to the tactilekinetic play of our lingual gestures and how they felt...we spontaneously learned the specific tactile-kinaesthetic invariants peculiar to it' (p. 386). Piaget (1945/1962, e.g. pp. 42-43) also recognized this bodily attentiveness in language learning and also tied it via imitation to our understanding of others. However, it is unclear how much attention infants and developing children, let alone adults, pay to the fact that other speakers must make the same muscular movements that they themselves make to produce the same sounds; people often examine other people's movements without thinking at all about kinaesthesis. For ex ample, people are usually able to select the dance, from among three sequentially presented dances on videotape, that best matches (and was intended to express) a particular piece of music, but they typically do so without being aware of any kinaesthetic response to the music or dances or of any kinaesthetic experience on the part of the dancer (Mitchell & Gallaher, 2001). If there is apperceptive knowledge that others experience kinaesthesis, it may typically remain unconscious, coming to awareness for some people only when learning a language in infancy or adulthood, or relearning one's own language after brain injury. Indeed, one's experience of kinaesthesis can wax and wane, such that kinaesthesis itself becomes apperceived much of the time, especially when we become engaged in what we are doing, rather than on how we are doing it. What complications apperception of kinaesthesis produces for analysis of the experience of kinaesthesis as always present in body movement remain to be explored. Generally, kin aesthesis comes to awareness during skill learning or difficulty in movement; once a skill is learned, or when one is moving normally, kinaesthesis seems to fall to the background. The fact that we are so often unaware of kinaesthesis while moving may in part explain why Merleau-Ponty and J. J. Gibson so often relegated kinaesthesis to the background, rather than the foreground, of perceptual experience (see pp. 234-238, 289).

Sheets-Johnstone has written a commonsensical yet provocative and ground-breaking book. Her writings come at a time when the study of the psychology of animals has become increasingly marginalized, at least in the US. Comparative psychology and ethology have unfortunately become subsumed under neuropsychology (an observation immediately salient in the lack of jobs in the former and the surfeit of jobs in the latter). The strengths of her book are its directing attention in a thoughtful and articulate way to the importance of kinaesthesis and movement in general in our understanding of the mental, its restating the usefulness of phenomenology and Aristotelian ideas to this understanding, and its raising questions and providing answers about the nature, development and evolution of our own and other creatures' subjective experiences. There is much fun in reading some of Sheets-Johnstone's criticisms, particularly in the chapter entitled 'What is it like to be a brain?' From my point of view, the book's only sig nificant failure is the overinclusiveness of notions such as imitation and iconicity, which seems to ask more questions than it answers. I believe that the inclusion of ideas concerning kinaesthetic-visual matching into her philosophy will result in interesting questions with absorbing answers, which will extend the significance of kinaesthesis in our understanding of the world. Overall, Sheets-Johnstone's ideas remind us how being psychological at all relies on being a body, not just on having a brain. In doing so, they offer a new lease on life to a comparative psychology that meaningfully incorporates animal and human experience as an object of study.


The author would like to express his appreciation to Kim Bard, Francoise Wemelsfelder, and Alan Costall for their intelligent commentary and helpful criticism.


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Title Annotation:The Primacy of Movement
Author:Mitchell, Robert W.
Publication:British Journal of Psychology
Article Type:Book Review
Date:May 1, 2003
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