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What is a Sensualist?

(Untitled, 2008)

Human beings have a multitude of senses. In addition to the traditionally recognized five senses of sight (ophthalmoception), hearing (audioception), taste (gustaoception), smell (olfacoception or olfacception), and touch (tactioception), other senses include temperature (thermoception), kinesthetic sense (proprioception), balance (equilibrioception) and acceleration (kinesthesioception). What constitutes a sense is a matter of some debate, leading to difficulties in defining what exactly a sense is.


Consciously experiencing the mystery of being embedded in the world. Sensual Awareness.  A person who explores sensuality, enjoying pleasure while learning from pain.  Senses allow access to the present moment exclusively, the present moment is where life/reality resides.


A philosophical theory of knowledge, according to which sensations and perception are the basic and most important form of true cognition. Sensualism opposes abstract ideas. The basic principle of sensualism is “there is not anything in mind, which hasn’t been in the sensations.”


Derived from a Sanskrit word meaning “meditation”.  As such, it de-emphasizes theoretical knowledge in favor of direct, experiential realization through meditation and present-centered awareness.  It is a level of being that concentrates its emphasis on the body’s sensual abilities above and beyond thoughts.


Phenomenology does not attempt to explain the world, but describes the way the world shows itself to us (makes itself evident to our awareness) It describes subjectivity.  “Objective Reality” is a theoretical construction, an idealization of inter-subjective experience.  We are not observing beings, we are participating beings.  It is only activity within the background of the world where anything is encountered so you can’t question the world.  Existence is “being the situation”

Philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty coined the term “primacy of perception.” We are first perceiving the world, then we do philosophy.  What is characteristic of his account of perception is the centrality that the body plays.  We perceive the world through our bodies; we are embodied subjects, involved in existence.  Further the ability to reflect comes from a pre-reflective ground that serves as the foundation for reflecting on actions. His account of the body helps him undermine what had been a long standing conception of consciousness which hinges on the distinction between the for-itself (subject) and in-itself (object) which plays a central role in Sartre’s philosophy.

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