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Merleau-Ponty’s Gordian knot: transcendental phenomenology, science, and naturalism

Reynolds, Jack 2016, Merleau-Ponty’s Gordian knot: transcendental phenomenology, science, and naturalism, Continental philosophy review, In Press, pp. 1-24, doi: 10.1007/s11007-016-9395-z.

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Title Merleau-Ponty’s Gordian knot: transcendental phenomenology, science, and naturalism
Author(s) Reynolds, Jack
Journal name Continental philosophy review
Season In Press
Start page 1
End page 24
Total pages 24
Publisher Springer
Place of publication Berlin, Germany
Publication date 2016-10-21
ISSN 1573-0611
Keyword(s) phenomenology
Merleau-Ponty
naturalism
science
psychology
transcendental
Summary In this paper, I explore a series of fertile ambiguities that Merleau-Ponty's work is premised upon. These ambiguities concern some of the central methodological commitments of his work, in particular his commitment (or otherwise) to transcendental phenomenology and how he transforms that tradition, and his relationship to science and philosophical naturalism and what they suggest about his philosophical methodology. Many engagements with Merleau-Ponty's work that are more ‘analytic’ in orientation either deflate it of its transcendental heritage, or offer a "modest" rendering of its transcendental dimensions. This is also true, albeit perhaps to a lesser extent, of the work of the more empirically-minded phenomenological philosophers who engage very seriously with Merleau-Ponty – e.g. Hubert Dreyfus, Shaun Gallagher, Evan Thompson, Alva Noë, and others. At the same time, many other scholars contest these proto-scientific and more naturalistic uses of Merleau-Ponty's work on hermeneutical and exegetical grounds, and they likewise criticise the deflated reading of his transcendental phenomenology that tends to support them. By working through some of the key passages and ideas, I seek to establish that the former view captures something pivotal to Merleau-Ponty's philosophy. I extend these interpretations by arguing that, at least around the time of Phenomenology of Perception, his philosophy might be reasonably regarded as a form of minimal methodological naturalism.
Language eng
DOI 10.1007/s11007-016-9395-z
Field of Research 220310 Phenomenology
2203 Philosophy
1606 Political Science
Socio Economic Objective 970122 Expanding Knowledge in Philosophy and Religious Studies
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, Springer
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30088167

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