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This article was downloaded by: [Umeå University Library] On: 05 October 2014, At: 14:40 Publisher: Routledge Informa Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK Journal of the Philosophy of Sport Publication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rjps20 The Sense of Space By David Morris. Published 2004 by State University of New York Press, Albany, NY. John M. Charles a a The College of William and Mary , Williamsburg , VA Published online: 19 Jan 2012. To cite this article: John M. Charles (2006) The Sense of Space By David Morris. Published 2004 by State University of New York Press, Albany, NY., Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 33:1, 106-108, DOI: 10.1080/00948705.2006.9714695 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00948705.2006.9714695 PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE Taylor & Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (the “Content”) contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor & Francis, our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinions and views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors, and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor & Francis. The accuracy of the Content should not be relied upon and should be independently verified with primary sources of information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for any losses, actions, claims, proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to or arising out of the use of the Content. This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Any substantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing,; systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at http:// www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 2006, 33, 106-108 © 2006 International Association for the Philosophy of Sport The Sense of Space Downloaded by [Umeå University Library] at 14:40 05 October 2014 By David Morris. Published 2004 by State University of New York Press, Albany, NY. Reviewed by John M. Charles, who is with The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA. This remarkable, groundbreaking book broaches metaphysical and epistemological questions of space, depth, and movement from ethical and developmental perspectives. It is steeped in allusions to the philosophies of Merleau-Ponty and Bergson and draws heavily from contemporary psychology, ecological science, and dynamic-systems theory. It incorporates metaphysically muscular musings to show that space is a plastic environment charged with meaning. More important for sport philosophers, Morris analyzes how meaning in movement situates the distinctive character of human embodiment in the full range of its multifaceted capacities. He argues that, ultimately, “the movement that crosses body and world is not simply muscular and kinetic, it is movement of a social body, and that takes our study of depth into the ethical” (p. 24). He concludes that our sense of space reflects our ethical relations to other people and to the places we inhabit. Morris begins by introducing the problem of depth. He does so through an intoxicating combination of abstruse meta-analysis and enlightening allegory. He segues from the nuances of Descartes, Merleau-Ponty, Berkeley, Heidegger, James, Dewey, Kant, and Gibson to the question, “Do I first perceive how close the tiger is coming to me and then experience this as a danger, or do I experience something frightful closing in?” (p. 20). In this introductory analysis, he indicates the limitations of ecological psychology and dynamic-systems theory in the understanding of the lability of perception. He supports this critique with deft analyses of contemporary cultural phenomena such as the illusory qualities of Nekker figures. Morris devotes the next 150 pages to a discussion of the moving sense of the body and the spatial sense of the moving body. In this measured analysis, each of these topics divides into three sections and a brief but penetrating conclusion. Morris considers the moving sense of the body through chapters on the moving schema of perception, the development of the moving body, and the topology of expression. In three chapters titled “Enveloping the Body in Depth,” “Residing Up and Down on Earth,” and “Growing Space,” he discusses the spatial sense of the moving body. In the first part of the book, Morris provides an engaging analysis of the moving scheme of perception, through appreciation of our movement styles and our dependence on habit and anticipation. He bridges the gulf between theory and practice by the adroit use of daily experiences such as wiggling a wine cork and the Aristotelian puzzle of feeling a marble with crossed fingers. Statements such as “the unity is in the wiggle” (p. 36) and “you cannot wiggle a house” (p. 38) introduce a little levity into what Edward Casey describes, in his brief cover 106 10Charles(106).indd 106 4/17/06 11:20:42 AM Downloaded by [Umeå University Library] at 14:40 05 October 2014 Review of The Sense of Space 107 review, as “sober scholarship.” Similarly, Morris cites binocular vision and unaccustomed driving of a right-hand (or left-hand) -drive car to illustrate that “the body schema is in body-world movement itself” (p. 38). That is, “the unity is not in the anatomy of the eyes, but in the moving schema of looking, which is plastic and habitual” (p. 45). A focus of the second chapter is how to understand the moving schema of perception. Morris critiques scientific methodologies and argues that the experimental method “is not methodologically suited to our conceptual task” (p. 57). There are limitations inherent in the biomechanical machine-model; for example, the “living arm” is not the “arm dissected” (p. 62). Morris analyzes the subject, through Merleau-Ponty and Bergson, into intuition and the “turn of the experience” (p. 58). The final chapter in the first part of the book is a discussion of expression and sense that leads to the conclusion that the topology of expression is a “living phenomenological geometry of the body” (p. 101). Morris finds graphic ways to reach his audience. “Frying mushrooms! saying ouch is what you do when hurting happens” illustrates the relationship of gesture and expression (p. 86). Similarly, the relationship of habit and expression is introduced with the catchy phrase, “I am on autopilot riding a habit to work” (p. 92). He provides an extended tennis metaphor (Merleau-Ponty was reputedly interested in tennis) that would be of interest to sport philosophers, particularly tennis buffs, illustrating how we contract sense from the social body skills. For example, in his analysis of tennis skills and deliberate learning, he claims that “tennis isnʼt just a matter of swinging a racket but of processing a ʻgameyʼ geometry of the court, of learning the angles, vectors and ways of seeing that give advantage in tennis as a moving game of chess” (p. 97). The second section of the book, “The Spatial Sense of the Moving Body,” develops the concept of enveloping the body in depth. The investigation of the point at which body and world cross concludes that it is not quite a point, because “it has an inner texture, a topo-logic of envelopment, of stretching across space and time yet remaining unified, a topo-logic coupled and crossed with the envelopes of things” (p. 126). Morris argues that body–world movement generates envelopes of perception, with the “crucial” result that our sense of depth does not express itself “in terms of an order provided by a Berkeleian divine language, a Cartesian geometry, or a Kantian pure intuition, but through a deep grammar of body-world movement, a topo-logic of envelopment” (p. 126). From this discussion of how the sense of depth is rooted in constrained body–world movement and how it involves a body moving in a larger place, Morris develops the idea of care in movement in the chapter “Residing Up and Down on Earth.” The focus of the discussion is a “body that not only moves in larger place, but faces itself” (p. 158). From a movement of being that encounters others, it is a natural transition to the ethical dimension of lived space, which Morris addresses in a chapter on growing space. Morris uses developmental psychology to study how our sense of space develops through moving and growing and how care in movement is a central feature of our ethical development. From this springboard, he leaps into an analysis of the ethical dimension of lived space in the chapter on growing space, which delineates patterns in body–world movement that are related to the social and ethical through dimensions such as concern and emotion. In the climactic conclusion, “Space, Place, and Ethics,” Morris explores the ethical side of our bodies as they cross with the world, with the earth, and with our 10Charles(106).indd 107 4/17/06 11:20:46 AM Charles 108 social world. He defines ethics as being “rooted in a responsibility to something that exceeds us, a responsibility already implied in our being before we even reflect on it” (p. 176). What makes this analysis particularly germane to sport philosophy is the connection he draws between ethics and our physicality: Downloaded by [Umeå University Library] at 14:40 05 October 2014 The ethical and the spatial cannot be prised apart; our sense of space develops in a social relation that will have ethical implications; our sense of others and thence of the ethical presupposes our sense of space, for this gives us our initial sense of a responsibility to something beyond us.” (p. 176) Morrisʼs argument is all the more compelling in that he buttresses it with deft allusions to the ideas of Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Levinas, DeBeauvoir, Derrida, Irigaray, Cornell, and Butler. He compares this perspective with a liberal tradition premised on an ethics attaching to a self-contained individual. He argues, in contrast, that the sense of space does not belong to a being who can be bounded or protected by limits, but belongs to a moving being who crosses limits and in doing so has a sense of space that always implicitly signals the limits of death, signals something that is there before us that can be neither encompassed nor sealed off.” (p. 178) This is a very rare contribution to the literature. It will appeal to the most philosophical of scholars because Morris weaves a richly appealing tapestry from phenomenological analyses and scientific thinking about developmental and dynamic-systems theory. For all its depth and elegance, The Sense of Space is made eminently readable by the authorʼs brilliant use of allegorical allusion. Morris alerts us to the “tension between space and place” (p. 181) and redirects us “back to that opening in which our bodies cross with the world, others, and place, an opening in which we in turn cross places with life and our social world” (p. 181). He has written a book that richly deserves the epithet “groundbreaking,” because it recognizes scientific literature, proposes a grounded alternative, and adopts a developmental ethical perspective to explore the implications of the alternative model for human experience. 10Charles(106).indd 108 4/17/06 11:20:46 AM