Consciousness Thought

Reading Merleau-Ponty: On the Phenomenology of Perception by Thomas Baldwin

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By Thomas Baldwin

Maurice Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception is broadly said to be some of the most vital contributions to philosophy of the 20 th century. during this quantity, major philosophers from Europe and North the USA study the character and quantity of Merleau-Ponty's success and examine its significance to modern philosophy.

The chapters, such a lot of that have been in particular commissioned for this quantity, disguise the crucial elements of Merleau-Ponty's influential paintings. those include:

  • Merleau-Ponty’s debt to Husserl
  • Merleau-Ponty’s perception of philosophy
  • perception, motion and the position of the body
  • consciousness and self-consciousness
  • naturalism and language
  • social principles and freedom.

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

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Additional resources for Reading Merleau-Ponty: On the Phenomenology of Perception

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K E L LY bright, then even a brown table may look white; if the light is very low, then even a white table may look black. Furthermore, different parts of the table may be lit differently, and if this is the case, then each part will appear to be a different colour. Russell admits that ‘for most practical purposes these differences [across context] are unimportant’ (Russell 1959, 9), but he thinks that for the philosopher they point toward a crucial insight about what we see when we see the colour of the table.

Think of two trees, both of which are sixty feet tall, and imagine that one is one hundred yards away while the other is two hundred yards away. 12 But if we take the perceived distance into account then this diminution is exactly compensated for. By defining perceived size as the product of perceived distance and visual angle, the Unconscious Inference theory explains how the perceived size of the tree remains the same despite changes in the size of the retinal image it casts. It should be clear that the general approach of the Unconscious Inference theory could be applied to the problems of colour constancy and shape constancy as well.

There is, of course, a wide variety of other possible positions on the metaphysical question concerning what we see. I shall not attempt to enumerate them here. Rather, for the purposes of this paper, I intend to side somewhat dogmatically with the naive realists, the people who believe both that we have a direct, unmediated relation to the objects of perception and that the proper objects of perception are just the familiar objects of the world. Although I will not attempt to defend this naive realism, I will highlight some passages that indicate it is a natural position for a phenomenologist to hold.

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