Merleau-Ponty and Embodied Cognitive Science

Discipline Filosofiche 24 (2):67-90 (2014)
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Abstract

What would the Merleau-Ponty of Phenomenology of Perception have thought of the use of his phenomenology in the cognitive sciences? This question raises the issue of Merleau-Ponty’s conception of the relationship between the sciences and philosophy, and of what he took the philosophical significance of his phenomenology to be. In this article I suggest an answer to this question through a discussion of certain claims made in connection to the “post-cognitivist” approach to cognitive science by Hubert Dreyfus, Shaun Gallagher and Francisco Varela, Evan Thompson and Eleanor Rosch. I suggest that these claims are indicative of an appropriation of Merleau-Ponty’s thought that he would have welcomed as innovative science. Despite this, I argue that he would have viewed this use of his work as potentially occluding the full philosophical significance that he believed his phenomenological investigations to contain.

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