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Merleau-Ponty, Passivity and Science: From Structure, Sense and Expression, to Life as Phenomenal Field, via the Regulatory Genome

Title:

Merleau-Ponty, Passivity and Science: From Structure, Sense and Expression, to Life as Phenomenal Field, via the Regulatory Genome

Morris, David (2012) Merleau-Ponty, Passivity and Science: From Structure, Sense and Expression, to Life as Phenomenal Field, via the Regulatory Genome. Chiasmi International: Trilingual Studies Concerning Merleau-Ponty’s Thought, 14 . pp. 89-111.

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Abstract

I argue that something more is at stake in Merleau-Ponty’s engagement with science than a mere dialectic with another discipline. This is because his methodological commitments end up positioning science as a special resource for pursuing deep ontological concerns that increasingly haunt his philosophy. I show this by connecting points in the Phenomenology’s “Phenomenal Field” chapter to his methodological challenge to the view that philosophy begins from a wholly active, autonomous, reflective consciousness. I link this to issues of passivity in a way that reveals science as a potential resource for grasping reflection not as autonomous, but as an operation of and within the phenomenal field—as radical reflection. Via critical analysis of recent results about the regulatory genome, I then show how current embryology can help us conceptualize life as a phenomenal field that implicitly engenders the sorts of revelatory operations distinctive of phenomenality. This lets us position phenomenology not merely as a reflection on phenomena from above, but as a radical reflection that operates through an ‘older’ phenomenality of life. This also give insights into some difficult issues in Merleau-Ponty’s later philosophy, by suggesting a new route to them through combining his earlier philosophy with recent science.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Philosophy
Item Type:Article
Refereed:No
Authors:Morris, David
Journal or Publication:Chiasmi International: Trilingual Studies Concerning Merleau-Ponty’s Thought
Date:2012
ID Code:977291
Deposited By: DAVID MORRIS
Deposited On:23 May 2013 17:37
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:44
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