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Studia Phaenomenologica

Volume 14, 2014

Place, Environment, Atmosphere

Gunnar Declerck
Pages 73-99

Des conséquences parfois pénibles de prendre de la place

The ordinary space is continuously cluttered with bodies and constantly, when we move, we must maneuver, push and shove, walk around, make space. The awareness of having to operate in a limited space, where the places are always already occupied, is sustained by a special mode of appearing of ordinary space: the occupancy field. A phenomenological analysis of the occupancy field demonstrates that: (i) the format in which space presents itself in ordinary perception is marked by our awareness of occupying space with our body and having to squeeze it somewhere each time we move; (ii) bodies and space are co-dependent on an intentional level: ordinary space has, by a sense of vacuum, a mode of appearing which is indissociable from the phenomenological structure of bodies; (iii) the presentation of space is dependent on an anticipation of possibilities: it is because the situation is considered from the opportunities and constraints on the possible set up by our body that a space presents itself to us. We could not experience space if our perceptual apparatus took a mere snapshot of the current states of aff airs, if through it we had only access to the state in which the environment is at time t. To experience space means fundamentally to be ahead of one’s time, consider the present not from the future, but from the possible.

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