Merleau-Ponty and the Preconceptions of Objective Thinking
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Maurice Merleau-Ponty thinks that many classical theories of perception, especially reductionism, are influenced by the objective and the scientific form of thinking. Such influence is expressed in two preconceptions. The first preconception is that perception is reduced to units such as “impressions”. The meaning of these units is considered to be a representation of the world. The second preconception is that such perceptual meaning is caused by the world and the living being is passive in its relation to such constitution of meaning. In my view, the results of Merleau-Ponty’s criticism of these two preconceptions constitute his two main concepts: the phenomenal body and the perceptual meaning determined by the structural relation with the world. Despite the fact that some traces of these preconceptions can be found in the introduction of Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception, there is no straight argument that shows how he approached these two results from the rejection of these two preconceptions. My thesis is to present Merleau-Ponty’s view on the phenomenal body based on his criticism of the two preconceptions described above. In my view, Merleau-Ponty’s criticism of these preconceptions can be traced through his argument against Gestalt psychology, associationism, and behavioral associationism.