My Personal Path into and with Philosophy

I have been interested in first-person experience as long as I can remember. It almost doesn’t make sense. I have always been in awe of my own embodied state. I remember as a kid being fascinated by the process of swallowing. I didn’t realize that it was something everyone did. One time I was laying in bed and I could hear my own blood flowing through the pulse in my ear against the pillow and I was fascinated by this odd noise that I could not place in the world. I have this vivid memory of my mother telling me when I was about five or so that some people theorize that you can’t have thought without language. I must have asked her something to prime her tell me this, but I remember her asking me what I thought of that idea and I was staring at my dollhouse trying to escape language in my thoughts. When I was ten, I found a C.S. Lewis book that my brother had that talked about philosophy and I had this revelation of, “OH! Other people think this way too! I’m not crazy!” I think this was about a week after I had been in the car with my family deconstructing the world and trying to figure it out and pick it apart…I remember very clearly telling myself, “You can’t think that way, Lynda, it won’t get you anywhere.” So…then when I was thirteen or fourteen I suddenly started getting really interested in philosophy. I don’t remember why. I think it was mentioned in some of the books I had been reading at the time…I remember going to the library and finding all of these books…I remember specifically looking for books by Locke, but I don’t remember why. I checked out Warburton’s guide to philosophy and I still have it…I never returned it. Then I went to a bookstore with my dad and found The Mind’s I by Dennet and Hofstadter. I remember before school one day I read something that I think is in the intro of that book where they talk about you as the reader, holding the book, and looking at your hands, and knowing that those are YOUR hands. I read it aloud to my sister while she was pouring a bowl of cereal. I was SO EXCITED about it. I thought it was as big as the theory of relativity! I thought it was this life-changing thing. And then I started talking to people five or six or seven years older than me in online philosophy forums and I started to realize that…this was real, and it was important. It wasn’t until I was eighteen or so that I actually found phenomenology, formally, but I was always interested in it, regardless. And then when I was twenty I found The Embodied Mind, through a video that I randomly stumbled on (Using “Stumble Upon”!) and that resonated so strongly with my insights that I decided to keep following the path of embodied cognition, neurophenomenology, and merging third-person and first-person methodologies in the mind sciences. The rest of the story is still in the process of being written.

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