ABSTRACT

This article takes up Richard Shusterman's somaesthetics as a way in which philosophy can be prescriptive about everyday embodiment. Popular self-help literature also promotes directed self-mastery, but it is often beholden to unquestioned norms and dualist ideas about the mind dominating the body. Somaesthetics encourages bodily self-mastery without dualism or social obedience. This article argues that in directed bodily self-transformation, such as somaesthetic discipline, one discovers one's vulnerability and dependency as much as one's strength. In conclusion, this article notes that human weakness and dependency circumscribe the reach of Shusterman's original idea of somaesthetics as always promoting individual flourishing. Instead, careful attention to embodiment leads to a realization of weakness. Somaesthetic practices are ways not simply to better lives but also to destabilize them.

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