Publication 5726

Muller R. M. (2018) Merleau-Ponty and the radical sciences of mind. Synthese Online First. Fulltext at https://cepa.info/5726
In this paper, I critically reconstruct the development of Merleau-Pontyan phenomenology and “radical embodied cognitive science” out of Berlin-School Gestalt theory. I first lay out the basic principles of Gestalt theory and then identify two ways of revising that theory: one route, followed by enactivism and ecological psychology, borrows Gestaltist resources to defend a pragmatic ontology. I argue, however, that MerleauPonty never endorses this kind of ontology. Instead, I track his second route toward an ontology of “flesh.” I show how Merleau-Ponty’s arguments for this ontology depend upon criticisms of Gestalt Psychology to which radical embodied cognitive science remains vulnerable, and show that it leads him to a romantic philosophy of nature.

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