Disjunctivism and Perceptual Knowledge in Merleau-Ponty and McDowell

Res Philosophica 91 (3):261-286 (2014)
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Abstract

On the face of it, Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s views bear a strong resemblance to contemporary disjunctivist theories of perception, especially John McDowell’s epistemological disjunctivism. Like McDowell, Merleau-Ponty seems to be a direct realist about perception and holds that veridical and illusory perceptions are distinct. This paper furthers this comparison. Furthermore, it is argued that elements of Merleau-Ponty’s thought provide a stronger case for McDowell’s kind of epistemological view than McDowell himself provides. Merleau-Ponty’s early thought can be used to develop a unique version of epistemological disjunctivism that is worth consideration alongside contemporary views on perceptual knowledge.

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J. C. Berendzen
Loyola University, New Orleans

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