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

Authors
Dimitris Apostolopoulos
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Abstract
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
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Reprint years 2017
DOI 10.1111/ejop.12174
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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.

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