International Journal of Art & Design Education

The Knowing Body: Art as an Integrative System of Knowledge

Volume 14.3   1995



Drawing upon research in a number of fields (particularly in ecology, Èsystemsi approaches to perception, the philosophy of science, and the phenomenology of Merleau-Ponty and his interpreters) this paper raises issues and questions about the relationships between knowledge, art and science. It suggests a way of thinking about art as an integrative system of knowledge based upon the recognition of three important factors: our fundamental participation in the world as knowing bodies; the perspectival nature of our interpretations of the world; and the particular ways in which we achieve coherence and integration through the making of art. The paper also traces some of the changes in the ways in which knowledge is described and formulated within Modernist and Post-Modernist paradigms, and suggests how these changes support a revision of our views about the cognitive implications of art.