'The Happy Accident': Merleau-Ponty and Kant on the Judgment of God

The European Legacy 16 (2):223-236 (2011)
Abstract
Kant's ideas about, questions, and challenges to the Western tradition of philosophy reverberate into the third century of the reception of his texts. The writings of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, the twentieth-century French existential and hermeneutic phenomenologist, are interlaced with engagements with Kant's ideas. Often these incidents are marked by Merleau-Ponty's critique, yet there is a noticeable recurrence of his efforts to contend with Kant's philosophy. In Merleau-Ponty's course notes, Nature (2002), he wrestles with Kant's version of nature in the Critique of Judgment (1790), specifically citing ?the happy accident? between sensibility and the understanding. This opens upon realms of metaphysical thought that remain deeply contentious within Kantian scholarship. An interrogation of this ?happy accident? leads to insights about Merleau-Ponty's conceptualization of an existentialized metaphysics the implications of which shed light on theology and the judgment of God
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