Merleau-Ponty on Meaning, Materiality, and Structure

Against David Schenck's interpretation, I argue that it is not absolutely clear that Merleau-Ponty ever meant to replace what Schenck refers to as the "unity of meanings" interpretation of "structure" with a "material meanings" interpretation. A particular problem-setting -- for example, an attempt to understand the "truth in naturalism" or the "truth in dualism" -- may very well require a particular mode of expression. I argue that the mode of expression chosen by Merleau-Ponty for these purposes, while unfortunate in some of its apparent implications, need not be interpreted as recommitting him to the doctrine he spent his life working to renounce. I have argued that this would have been clearer had he been able to avail himself of James J. Gibson's notion of affordances, which capture perfectly what he was reaching for.
Keywords Merleau-Ponty, Maurice  Gibson, James J.  affordances  meaning  materiality  structure
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David Morris (2008). Body. In Rosalyn Diprose & Jack Reynolds (eds.), Merleau-ponty: Key Concepts. Acumen Publishing 111-120.

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