On one of those steamy East Bay days in which some players with only modest athletic zeal may have been tempted to suddenly renounce competitive sport as a residual artifact of medieval barbarity, even I myself considered a hasty early-inning retreat to the nearest cherry snow cone bar. Of course I had a team to manage, and since Stefano’s peeps were clearly itching to degrade us, I stoically stayed and led, and in spite of my torpidity, exciting things happened. Alas though, I lost my scoresheet with the usual game notes, and so truth be told, I find myself bereft of the usual gristle for narrative arc.
Fortunately, I happened to be toiling away at the awesome Current Periodicals Room at Cal’s Main Library yesterday when I stumbled upon a recent issue of Philosophical Explorations, which, as those who know me know, is my 18th favorite scholarly journal. Well, imagine my delight when I found within a recent issue a stirring article on Knowledge and Embodiment in Berkeley and Locke, for not only could I savor another satisfying foray into the mind-body problem, but right from the get-go, it was as if the author had been lingering over the match in anticipation of my scoresheet disappearing.
Philosophers may differ to a great extent in what they have to say about bodies, but they have to take into account that for each of us, our body has a special status. It is not merely one amongst the physical objects, but a physical object to which we have a unique relation. Descartes approaches the issue of embodiment through consideration of sensation and imagination, and eventually by consideration of action and agency: whenever we act upon the world, we act by moving our bodies. So if we can understand what an immaterialist such as Berkeley thinks about agency, we will have begun to understand what he thinks about embodiment.
The great Bishop George Berkeley was, of course, your garden variety whack job, and I don’t write that just because his clueless 17th century mother named him after a tiny California town that was 8,000 miles away from their cozy Dublin abode. No, my friends, Bishop Bananas believed that all physical existence is illusory if not perceived by the Lordmeister himself, and that would even include the basics like bats and balls! Well, again, I don’t remember any of the minutia, but in thinking of the game’s final tally, I do recall that Stefano’s leadership was listless with little cohesion, and quite frankly, it lacked the assumption of urgent Cartesian agency that I’ve always insisted on in the kinesiological actions of all those athletes under my tutelage.
So yeah, it’s hardly surprising that my contingent whooped his in a stark exemplar of the ceaseless battle between materialism, dualism, and weed, 23-18, and that’s something that the Stefster may want to ponder the next time he uses his managerial authority to infest his own team with the doubt and despair that inevitably comes with such annoying subjective idealism. Oh sure, he’ll protest my admittedly harsh aspersions by claiming that he doesn’t know what the F I’m talking about, if for no other reason than he hasn’t had any relevant exposure to the topic since he took Consciousness for the Bewildered back in 1987. Yet with all due respect, that’s too clever by half and I think we all understand this, and therefore there will be a game at Codornices this Sunday at 11, IF I get enough commits by this Friday morning . . . Raymond