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Title:Merleau-Ponty and the dialectic of perception
Author(s):Hass, Lawrence Robert
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Melnick, Arthur
Department / Program:Philosophy
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:Thought about perception finds itself confronting an antinomy: On one hand it would seem perception is the result of causal action--the effect of external objects upon us; on the other hand, there are compelling reasons to understand perception as an internally constituted event. The predominant post-Cartesian theory of perception--causal representation theory--has attempted to resolve this puzzle by synthesizing the two contrapositions through the postulation of sense-data. I argue that the philosophy of Maurice Merleau-Ponty offers a detailed and sustained critique of the program implicit in every phase of this dialectic: each type of theory, in its turn, attempts to explain the event of perception in terms of an ontological commitment that is essentially derivative from perception and hence a distorting abstraction from it. After developing each theory and re-constructing Merleau-Ponty's most persuasive arguments, I defend his own positive contribution--his "phenomenology" of perception--which identifies a range of interwoven perceptual structures that serve as ontological pre-conditions for thought: (1) the genealogy of objectivity, (2) the projective living body, and (3) the intersubjective world. I conclude that Merleau-Ponty's philosophy offers a solution to the antinomy of perception by inviting us to abandon the faulty ontological categories that inform it.
Issue Date:1991
Rights Information:Copyright 1991 Hass, Lawrence Robert
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9124421
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9124421

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