Morris, David 1967-

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Morris, David 1967-

PERSONAL:

Born December 27, 1967. Education: University of Toronto, M.A., Ph.D.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Department of Philosophy, Lady Eaton College, Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario K9J 7B8, Canada. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Trent University, Lady Eaton College, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, associate professor of philosophy.

WRITINGS:

The Sense of Space, State University of New York Press (Albany, NY), 2004.

Contributor to various journals, including the Southern Journal of Philosophy, International Philosophical Quarterly, Journal of Philosophy of Sport, and the Journal of Speculative Philosophy.

SIDELIGHTS:

David Morris was born December 27, 1967. He attended the University of Toronto for his graduate studies, earning first a master's degree and then a doctorate in philosophy. He then went on to take a position at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, where he serves on the faculty of the department of philosophy at Lady Eaton College as an associate professor. Morris's primary areas of research and academic interest include phenomenology and existentialism, particularly the relationship between mind, body, and nature, with a focus on the ideas of the philosophers Merleau-Ponty, Hegel, and Bergson. He is also interested in the German Idealism movement of the nineteenth century, the philosophy of biology, and both ancient and modern thought, including the works of Aristotle, Descartes and Berkeley. In addition to his academic endeavors, Morris has written articles for a number of scholarly journals, including the Southern Journal of Philosophy, International Philosophical Quarterly, Journal of Philosophy of Sport, and the Journal of Speculative Philosophy, addressing subjects such as the question of mind versus body in relation to both animals and humans, looking at Merleau-Ponty's consideration of expression and perception, and an analysis of Hegel's approach to measuring the body, and Hegel on understanding. He is also the author of The Sense of Space, which was published in 2004.

In The Sense of Space, Morris takes a look at the ways in which humans perceive space and distance, using the relationship between our bodies and the world around us as a framework from which we decipher all other special relationships, both great and small. Rather than looking at this sense of perception from a scientific standpoint, Morris addresses it from a metaphysical angle, building on the works of previous philosophers such as Henri Bergson, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and J.J. Gibson, among others. The book is divided into two parts, along with the introduction and conclusion. In the first section, Morris gives a basis for human sense of space by focusing on our sense of selves. Our bodies are broken down into zones, with different areas playing different roles in our outlook regarding mobility and how we perceive our abilities to relate to the things around us. In the second section of the book, Morris broadens his scope, and shows how by orienting on our own sense of space and immediate surroundings, we are able to then expand our perception based on depth and social environment and previous experiences. However, rather than limiting our perceptions based on those experiences, we are adept at taking our own sense of space into consideration and reconfiguring our perceptions based on current circumstances. As a result, each isolated incident of perception of space is created based on an absorption of our current placement and surroundings. Morris provides numerous examples of well-known perceptual illusions in order to show that the ways in which people commonly perceive space can be tricked.

Glenn Statile, in a contribution for the Review of Metaphysics, noted that while this book should provide clear information for someone already familiar with these underlying concepts, a lay reader might find some of Morris's book to be difficult reading. Statile dubbed Morris's effort "a work that should prove enjoyable and instructive to the phenomenologically enlightened reader. To the philosophical novice I would give the advice: caveat lector." He went on to note: "Morris considers the proper phenomenological apprehension of the sense of space to touch upon ethical concerns…. This is an oversimplification of the liberal tradition, which is in part a distillation of a Judeo-Christian ethical culture." He concluded however that he "would recommend this book to any properly trained reader."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Review of Metaphysics, March, 2006, Glenn Statile, review of The Sense of Space, p. 665.

ONLINE

Trent University Department of Philosophy Web site,http://trentu.ca/ (March 20, 2008), faculty profile.

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