John Jenkinson
University of Western Ontario
Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy of embodiment has been widely adopted by enactivists seeking to provide an account of cognition that is both embodied and embedded. Yet very little attention has been paid to Merleau-Ponty’s later works. This is troubling given that in The Visible and the Invisible Merleau-Ponty revises his conception of embodied subjectivity because he came to the realization that understanding consciousness through the concepts of subject and object imposed a dualistic framework that he was trying to escape. To overcome this dichotomy Merleau-Ponty more fully develops the radically embodied ontology implicit in his earlier work by introducing the concept of flesh. I argue that the enactive account of subjectivity would be improved by “giving flesh” to the enactive subject, given that the enactive account of subjectivity as grounded in pre-reflective bodily self-consciousness is ultimately rooted in accounts of which the later Merleau-Ponty is critical. Incorporating flesh resolves the underlying problems with the enactive account of subjectivity and makes the account more consistent with the ontological commitments to embodiment and embeddedness.
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DOI 10.1007/s11097-016-9488-5
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