Merleau-Ponty, Maurice (1908-1961) - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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The Lived Body

Merleau-Ponty revolutionized European thinking about the body—which since ancient Greece had taken it to be either insignificant or a detriment to knowledge—by demonstrating its constitutive role in the process of human understanding. He showed, for example, that it is through bodily motility that the various adumbrations or perspectival views of an object can be synthesized into a unitary whole. Human understanding of objective space, the three-dimensional Cartesian grid of depth, breadth, and height, is an abstraction from lived space—space articulated by the body's capacity to move purposively, to grasp things, to maintain the equilibrium that allows for stable visual coordinates, and to interrogate its environment. Furthermore, the body's ability to perceive the world is grounded in the body's double role as sensor and sensed, capable of being both subject and object of experience: One could not touch an...

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This section contains 3,381 words
(approx. 12 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Merleau-Ponty, Maurice (1908-1961) Encyclopedia Article
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Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Merleau-Ponty, Maurice (1908-1961) from Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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