European Journal of Philosophy 25 (3):677-699 (2017)

Dimitris Apostolopoulos
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Since Husserl, the task of developing an account of intentionality and constitution has been central to the phenomenological enterprise. Some of Merleau-Ponty's descriptions of ‘the flesh’ suggest that he gives up on this task, or, more strongly, that the flesh is in principle incompatible with intentionality or constitution. I show that these remarks, as in Merleau-Ponty's earlier writings, refer to the classical, early Husserlian interpretations of these concepts, and argue that the concept of the flesh can plausibly be understood to advance a refined account of intentionality and constitution. Instead of a first-personal, unidirectional act or embodied motor project, intentionality is a latent openness to things, where the roles of subject and object are reversible. Whereas the view of constitution as meaning-bestowal is untenable, the flesh has a constitutive role, which is supported by a ‘constitutional passivity’ from the subject. On this reading, Merleau-Ponty's later work aims to develop basic tenets of his earlier thought, albeit at a critical distance, an attempt he thought was continuous with the central problems that Husserl claimed a phenomenological philosophy must grapple with, even if Merleau-Ponty's answers to these problems are not Husserl's.
Keywords active passive  flesh  reversibility
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2017
DOI 10.1111/ejop.12174
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Signs.Maurice Merleau-Ponty - 2018 - Chiasmi International 20:231-231.
Phenomenology of Perception.Aron Gurwitsch, M. Merleau-Ponty & Colin Smith - 1964 - Philosophical Review 73 (3):417.
Signes.Maurice Merleau-Ponty - 2018 - Chiasmi International 20:229-229.
The Visible and the Invisible.B. Falk - 1970 - Philosophical Quarterly 20 (80):278-279.

View all 40 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Enactive Subjectivity as Flesh.John Jenkinson - 2017 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 16 (5):931-951.
Visibility as the originating presence.Jan Halák - 2012 - Filosoficky Casopis 60 (5):667-684.
Le mouvement ou la chair: deux conceptions de la profondeur ontologique selon Patočka et Merleau-Ponty.Jan Halak - 2013 - Meta: Research in Hermeneutics, Phenomenology, and Practical Philosophy 5 (1):83-104.
Motor Intentionality and the Case of Schneider.Rasmus Thybo Jensen - 2009 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 8 (3):371-388.


Added to PP index

Total views
136 ( #75,477 of 2,438,582 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
36 ( #20,601 of 2,438,582 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes