ABSTRACT

Praxis unfolds in time and it has all the correlative characteristics, such as irreversibility, which synchronization destroys; its temporal structure, that is, its rhythm, its tempo, and above all its orientation, is constitutive of its sense. (Bourdieu, 1980, p. 137)

Rhythmizing consciousness does not apprehend its object in the same way as unembellished perception does. (Abraham, 1995, p. 21)

The intellectualist approach according to which practical understanding of the world is governed by mind confuses presence in the world (Being) with the presence of the present of world, which appears in the form of things (beings), re-presentations. Thus, with the emergence of re/presentations that can be used to make something present over and over again, time has been expelled from common accounts of cognition. Thus, intellectual consciousness represents practice, synchronizes its moments, and thereby destroys the sense characteristic of praxis as it unfolds in real time.1 Practical understanding does not require formal knowledge: For example, children’s language is grammatical even prior to their encounter with formal grammar. The approach I take here, the one of mathematics in the fl esh, is precisely designed to address this recurrent problem to knowing in mathematics education research, whatever the brand. Practical comprehension is comprehension in and through the fl esh, enacted without the conscious mind as master and prior to any embodied image schemas. It is knowing in the fl esh acquired through the fl esh, which comes to be marked in participating in an inherently structured, societal and material world, from its beginning that even precedes the actual birth of a child.2 It is precisely because temporal and rhythmic features derive from the auto-affection of the fl esh that the difference between the living/lived body and mind becomes indistinguishable: There is no sense possible without the auto-affection of the fl esh. It makes no longer sense to operate with the Cartesian distinction maintained in the embodiment/enactivist literature, as both material body and metaphysical mind are but modalities of the fl esh. The notion of praxis, which is based on knowing as performance, goes together with the notion of the living/lived body, the fl esh. As soon as we move from the diachronic nature of praxis to its synchronic description in terms of knowledge, we loose all developmental aspects and necessities in the same way that synchronic linguistics loses the phenomenon of linguistic change.