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Merleau-Ponty's Transcendental Theory of Perception

By Sebastian Gardner


This paper is concerned with the status of Merleau-Ponty's account of perception. Since my primary aim is to determine the kind of theory that is offered by Merleau-Ponty, I will not enter into detailed discussion of Merleau-Ponty's highly original treatments of particular topics in the theory of perception, such as sensation, spatial awareness, or the role of the body. Instead I will argue that Merleau-Ponty's account of perception should not, in fact, be understood at all as a theory of perception in the familiar sense, namely as a theory formulated with a view to the solution of problems of epistemology and psychological explanation and constrained accordingly; rather it should be understood as belonging to transcendental philosophy, conceived as a form of idealist metaphysics. From this it follows that the evaluation of Merleau-Ponty's claims about perception need to be cast in terms remote from those that a philosopher of mind applies to a theory of perception. Though I will not attempt here a full evaluation, I will set out what I take to be the basic justification offered by Merleau-Ponty for his transcendental claims.Working pape

Topics: PHI
Year: 2007
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Provided by: SAS-SPACE
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