Maurice Merleau-Ponty: Perception

Christopher Watkin

in Phenomenology or Deconstruction?

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780748637591
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671847 | DOI:
Maurice Merleau-Ponty: Perception

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This chapter explores Derrida's discussion of Merleau-Ponty in On Touching and then constructs a Merleau-Pontean reply. The question it seeks to answer is whether, after Derrida's critique, we can still speak phenomenologically of worldly meaningfulness. The argument begins by showing how Merleau-Ponty moves beyond the dichotomy of fact and essence. Then, drawing on Merleau-Ponty's notions of style and being of the world, it explores how his insistence on the rootedness of perception in the body and in the world, on the irreducibility of Gestalt forms and on the difference and continuity between perception and expression can construct a position that sits obliquely to Derrida's critique. The chapter ends by arguing that Merleau-Ponty elaborates an indirect ontology in terms of a cosmology of the visible and an empirical pregnancy.

Keywords: Gestalt; Perception; Facticity; Essence

Chapter.  14588 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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