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Title: A study of the views of Sartre and Merleau-Ponty relating to embodiment, and a consideration of the implications of these views to the justification and practice of physical education
Author: Whitehead, Margaret Eleanor
Awarding Body: Institute of Education (University of London)
Current Institution: UCL Institute of Education (IOE)
Date of Award: 1987
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The thesis acknowledges the confusion that has arisen out of the various, and often extravagent, claims made to justify the inclusion of physical education in the school curriculum. It is noted that many of these are not concerned with bodily attributes but assert that physical education is instrumental in furthering a whole range of non-physical ends such as social development. The validity of these 'instrumental' claims is questioned and the profession's lack of confidence in presenting a case for the intrinsic value of its own area is identified. It is seen necessary, therefore, to consider whether such an intrinsic justification can be formulated. To this end aspects of existential and phenomenological philosophy are examined through the work of Jean-Paul Sartre and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. Their general agreement on man's essential nature as embodied in-the-world issues in a significant role for the embodiment in existence. This is further supported by an analysis of Merleau-Ponty's views on the role of the embodiment in perception. The first major focus of the thesis concludes with an argument for the inclusion of physical education alongside other aspects of education. The second major focus considers the views of Sartre concerning body modes. This examination reveals the dangers inherent in others viewing one's embodiment as an object and would seem to explain the disenchantment felt for the subject by many pupils. Recommendations for the practice of physical education are then made. The thesis concludes with a reconsideration of the aims of physical education and a reassertion of its rightful place in an education of the 'whole man'.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available