Curiosity and the Question

  • Mark Zuss
Part of the Explorations of Educational Purpose book series (EXEP, volume 20)


This chapter introduces a critical phenomenological appreciation of curiosity. Phenomenology provides one way of appreciating the experiential continuum between perception and sense knowledge and theoretical practices. Drawing from the insights of Merleau-Ponty this chapter argues that the roots of all abstract theoretical inquiries and languages are grounded in our collective, material, and shared sensuous lifeworlds. Questioning the quality and nature of being, theoretical curiosity emerges as a desire from embodied, everyday experience, perception, and the senses. It is one of prime elements that color and texture the sustained inquiries and research programs, inventions, and occasional interventions of political, pedagogical, technoscientific, and philosophical disciplines. To attune ourselves to sense, the senses of sense making is to engage in the processes that create the structures of our experience. Sense and perceptual primacy are layers and folds in experience; not merely sources, they are the grounds from which knowledge, concept, theory, objectivity, and language emerge. Perception is the starting point for all our expressions. It is also, sensibly, the point of a continual return for any embodied practice participating and contributing to discovery and invention. The question of embodiment is germane for thinking the nature and development of sustained pedagogical and intellectual projects. I read a pivotal place for a materialist appreciation of thought in the phenomenological researches starting with Husserl, and continuing in the various directions and interpretations taken by Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, and others, including Foucault and Deleuze, outside the confines of a formal phenomenological or neo-Marxist tradition. The mutable nature of the visible continues to be a critical point of departure.


Perceptual Sense Natural Attitude Disciplinary Knowledge Sustained Inquiry Subsequent Chapter 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.City University of New York, Graduate CenterBrooklynUSA

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