thomas baldwin (ed.)-reading merleau-ponty on the phenomenology of perception(2007)

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  • READING MERLEAU-PONTY

    Maurice Merleau-Pontys Phenomenology of Perception is widely acknowledged tobe one of the most important contributions to philosophy of the twentiethcentury. In this volume, leading philosophers from Europe and North Americaexamine the nature and extent of Merleau-Pontys achievement and considerits importance to contemporary philosophy.The chapters, most of which were specially commissioned for this volume,

    cover the central aspects of Merleau-Pontys inuential work. These include:

    Merleau-Pontys debt to Husserl Merleau-Pontys conception of philosophy perception, action and the role of the body consciousness and self-consciousness naturalism and language social rules and freedom.

    Reading Merleau-Ponty is an indispensable resource for understanding Merleau-Pontys path-breaking work. It is essential reading for students of phenomenology,philosophy of mind and psychology, and anyone interested in the relationshipbetween phenomenology and analytic philosophy.

    Contributors: A. D. Smith, Sean D. Kelly, Komarine Romdenh-Romluc,Hubert L. Dreyfus, Mark A. Wrathall, Thomas Baldwin, Simon Glendinning,Naomi Eilan, Eran Dorfman, Francoise Dastur.

    Editor: Thomas Baldwin is Professor of Philosophy at the University of York, UK.

  • READINGMERLEAU-PONTY

    On Phenomenology of Perception

    Edited by Thomas Baldwin

  • First published 2007by Routledge

    2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN

    Simultaneously published in the USA and Canadaby Routledge

    270 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10016

    Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business

    # 2007 Thomas Baldwin for selection and editorial matter; individualchapters, the respective contributors

    All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproducedor utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means,now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording,or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in

    writing from the publishers.

    British Library Cataloguing in Publication DataA catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

    Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication DataReading Merleau-Ponty : on Phenomenology of perception / edited by

    Tom Baldwin.p. cm.

    Includes bibliographical references.1. Merleau-Ponty, Maurice, 1908-1961. Phenomenologie de laperceptionCongresses. 2. Perception (Philosophy)Congresses.3. PhenomenologyCongresses. I. Baldwin, Thomas, 1947-

    B2430.M3763P4736 20071420.7dc222006102517

    ISBN10: 0-415-39993-9 (hbk)ISBN10: 0-415-39994-7 (pbk)

    ISBN13: 978-0-415-39993-7 (hbk)ISBN13: 978-0-415-39994-4 (pbk)

    This edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2007.

    ISBN 0-203-93610-8 Master e-book ISBN

    To purchase your own copy of this or any of Taylor & Francis or Routledgescollection of thousands of eBooks please go to www.eBookstore.tandf.co.uk.

  • CONTENTS

    Notes on contributors viiPreface ixList of abbreviations xi

    1 The esh of perception: Merleau-Ponty and Husserl 1A. D. SMITH

    2 What do we see (when we do)? 23SEAN D. KELLY

    3 Merleau-Ponty and the power to reckon with the possible 44KOMARINE ROMDENH-ROMLUC

    4 Reply to Romdenh-Romluc 59HUBERT L. DREYFUS

    5 The phenomenology of social rules 70MARK A. WRATHALL

    6 Speaking and spoken speech 87THOMAS BALDWIN

    7 The genius of man 104SIMON GLENDINNING

    8 Consciousness, self-consciousness and communication 118NAOMI EILAN

    v

  • 9 Freedom, perception and radical reection 139ERAN DORFMAN

    10 Philosophy and non-philosophy according to Merleau-Ponty 152FRANCOISE DASTUR

    Bibliography 164Index 169

    CONTENTS

    vi

  • CONTRIBUTORS

    Thomas Baldwin is Professor of Philosophy at the University of York. Recentworks include Contemporary Philosophy (Oxford University Press, 2001), TheCambridge History of Philosophy (ed.) (Cambridge University Press, 2003)and Maurice Merleau-Ponty: Basic Writings (ed.) (Routledge, 2004).

    Francoise Dastur is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Nice.Recent works include Chair et langage: essais sur Merleau-Ponty (EncreMarine, 2001), Heidegger et la question anthropologique (Peeters, 2003), Laphenomenlogie en questions: langage, alterite, temporalite, nitude (Vrin, 2004)and Philosophie et difference (Chatou, 2004).

    Eran Dorfman has recently completed his doctorate on Merleau-Ponty at theUniversity of Paris XII and is currently at the University of Tel-Aviv. Hehas published articles on Merleau-Ponty in English, French and Hebrew, andhas translated some of Merleau-Pontys writings into Hebrew.

    Hubert L. Dreyfus is Professor of Philosophy at the University of California(Berkeley). He has published many articles on phenomenology, includingseveral on Merleau-Ponty. His numerous books include Being-In-The-World(MIT Press, 1991), What Computers Still Cant Do: A Critique of ArticialReason (MIT Press, 1992) and Thinking in Action (Routledge, 2002).

    Naomi Eilan is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Warwick, whereshe is Director of the Consciousness and Self-Consciousness ResearchCentre. She has published many papers on philosophical psychology andedited several collections of papers in this eld, including Spatial Repre-sentation (Oxford University Press, 1993), Agency and Self-Awareness (MITPress, 2003), and Joint Attention (Oxford University Press, 2005).

    Simon Glendinning is Fellow in European Philosophy at the European Insti-tute, London School of Economics. His works include On Being with Others

    vii

  • (Routledge, 1998) and the Edinburgh Encyclopedia of Continental Philosophy(ed.) (Edinburgh University Press, 1999).

    Sean D. Kelly is Professor of Philosophy at Harvard University. He is theauthor of The Relevance of Phenomenology to the Philosophy of Language andMind (Routledge, 2000), and of several papers on non-conceptual contentand Merleau-Pontys account of perception.

    Komarine Romdenh-Romluc is Lecturer in Philosophy at the University ofNottingham. She is currently working on a guide to Merleau-Pontys Phe-nomenology of Perception for Routledge.

    A. D. Smith is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Warwick. Hisrecent works include The Problem of Perception (Harvard University Press,2002) and Husserl and the Cartesian Meditations (Routledge, 2003).

    Mark A. Wrathall is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Brigham YoungUniversity. He is the author of How to Read Heidegger (Granta, 2005) and,with Herbert Dreyfus, has edited A Companion to Phenomenology and Exis-tentialism (Blackwell, 2005), and Heidegger Re-examined (Routledge, 2002).

    CONTRIBUTORS

    viii

  • PREFACE

    In 2003 Eran Dorfman and I met to talk about Merleau-Pontys philosophy, andas we talked we sketched a plan for an Anglo-French colloquium in Paris,where Eran was then working, to be held in 2005 in order to celebrate thesixtieth anniversary of the publication of Merleau-Pontys Phenomenology ofPerception in 1945. In order to convert this sketchy plan into a serious projectwe needed support from a French academic institution, and thanks to thesupport of Professor Ian Hacking we were exceptionally fortunate to receivethis in generous measure from the Colle`ge de France, where of course Merleau-Ponty was Professor of Philosophy from 1952 until his death in 1961. So it wasthat on 1718 June 2005 the participants of the colloquium, British andFrench philosophers with a shared enthusiasm for Merleau-Pontys philosophy,gathered at the Colle`ge de France for two days of intensive discussion. Wewere much honoured that the proceedings were started off by Claude Lefort,Merleau-Pontys friend and editor, and that Madame Merleau-Ponty attendedfor much of the time. My anxiety that the audience might evaporate on thesecond day turned out to be quite unjustied: over a hundred people were thereon a hot Saturday afternoon to listen to the papers and join in the discussion.This volume includes most of the papers given at the colloquium. One of the

    main purposes of the colloquium was to demonstrate to French philosophersthe high esteem in which Merleau-Pontys philosophy is held by a growingnumber of British philosophers. Equally it was our hope that the colloquiumwould provide a way of acquainting British philosophers with recent Frenchwork on his philosophy. In the event two rather different but complementarytraditions were in play the critical analytic approach to Merleau-Ponty of theBritish participants and the more faithful elucidations of his texts favoured bythe French, though the papers in the collection show that these stereotypesshould not be exaggerated.We were fortunate that among those able to take part in the colloquium was

    Hubert Dreyfus, who has for many years played a prominent part in promotingthe value of Merleau-Pontys philosophy in the United States of America.When he agreed that his contribution to the colloquium should be included inthis volume, he suggested that I should also include papers by two of his former

    ix

  • students, Sean Kelly and Mark Wrathall, as representatives of a younger groupof American enthusiasts for Merleau-Pontys work. I was very glad to be able todo this, and thus to demonstrate further the way in which Merleau-Pontyswork is valued within the broader Anglophone philosophical community.

    Thomas Baldwin

    PREFACE

    x

  • ABBREVIATIONS OF TITLES OF

    WORKS BY MERLEAU-PONTY

    SB The Structure of BehaviourPhP Phenomenology of PerceptionSNS Sense and Non-SenseVI The Visible and the InvisiblePofP The Primacy of Perception and Other EssaysPW The Prose of the WorldIPP In Praise of Philosophy and Oth

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