An embodied approach in the study of experience

Instituto de Sistemas Complejos de Valparaíso, Chile

28th and 29th October

This conference seeks to advance the methodological, theoretical and epistemological challenges posed by the implementation of an embodied approach in the study of the experience.

It is organized by the Laboratorio de Fenomenología Corporal, in collaboration with the Institute of Complex Systems of Valparaiso (ISCV) and the Faculty of Psychology at Diego Portales University and the sponsorship of the program of International Collaboration of Conicyt.


The advent of the enactive approach to cognition produced a paradigm shift that has given a central place to the body and subjective experience in various fields of research. This paradigm shift converges with the development of the field of phenomenology, which gives an increasingly central role to embodiment in the study and understanding of human experience. Notions such as body resonance, body consciousness, aesthetic body resonance, body memory, somatic markers, among others, have been opening a fruitful dialogue both at philosophical and epistemological levels as well as at an applied level (for example in areas such as cognitive sciences, neurosciences, psychology, psychiatry, linguistics, medicine, anthropology, education, artificial intelligence, design, architecture, urbanism, etc.).

The growing emphasis on the study of lived experience requires methodologies that permit its study from a first-person perspective. This has allowed the establishment of bridges between the scientific world and the arts, as practices that allow alternatives roads to the understanding of human experience. These developments involve theoretical, epistemological and methodological challenges that we have organized around the following axes:

1. What we mean by the notion of experience ?

  • What do we mean by lived experience? Is it the notion differently understood in the enactive and the embodied approach? In different branches of phenomenology? Which methodological consequences for the study of experience have these different understandings?
  • Considering the phenomenological approach as a practice for the study of experience, how do we understand the notion of “structure” of experience?
  • If a person’s socio-cultural context and previous experiences are a constitutive part of the experience under study, how do we understand the suspension of the “natural attitude”? To what extent is it possible?

2. The notion of memory and the study of experience

  • Given that experience is always studied in retrospect, how is memory understood from the enactive and the embodied approaches? How is it understood from a phenomenological approach? What are the methodological and epistemological consequences of such understandings?
  • How is the phenomenon of false memories understood under these approaches?
  • How can enactive, embodied and phenomenological frameworks broaden our understanding and treatment of traumatic memories?
  • Conversely, how can somatic approaches to trauma treatment broaden our understanding of the notion of memory?

3.         Roads to human experience: the question of language

  • How do we understand the relationship between experience and language within the enactive approach to cognition?
  • Since the possibility of referring to our experiences goes hand in hand with language development, can we consider the existence of pre-conceptual dimensions of experience? If so, does verbalizing our experiences imply reducing them or being able to distinguish them?
  • What is the difference between expressing, describing and representing one’s own experience?
  • Can body and expressive practices serve as tools to address the non-conceptual and conceptual dimensions of experience?  If so, what would be the epistemological implications of such a possibility?

The format of the conference

The conference will take place over the course of two days and will combine oral presentations, practical workshops and poster presentations. For an overview, see the program link.

Call for Posters

We invite you to participate in this conference and to submit posters for presentation regarding the questions described above or other related issues. While this conference is focused on philosophical and psychological issues, it is open to scientific contributions from different disciplines as well. For registration and submissions, please follow the registration link. The registration is open to anyone and not restricted to academic scholars.

Conference fees

$30.000 CLP (40 USD) before the 30th August

$40.000 CLP (65 USD) after the 30th August

*Limited vacancies*

Special Issue

Please also watch our Call for Papers that accompanies the conference. Selected papers will be published after the conference as Target Articles in the journal Constructivist Foundations, accompanied by Open Peer Commentaries.

For further questions regarding submissions please contact Camila Valenzuela at

Conference language

Spanish and English.

Simultaneous translation will be available.