With the advent of new technology and imaging techniques that measure brain activity and with the development of the computer as a model for human thinking, it is not surprising to find many authors currently addressing issues regarding brain function and themind/body problem. What is perhaps surprising, given the absence of these techniques at the time, is that Merleau-Ponty addresses these same issues with a rigor and insight that equals, and perhaps even exceeds, most current philosophical studies. Merleau-Ponty’s frequently ignored early work, The Structure of Behavior, contains a wealth of analysis still relevant to current biological and neurophysiological studies and to the philosophical consequences frequently drawn from them. Merleau-Ponty critically addresses not only theories that attempt to understand human behavior as the linear calculation of discrete physiological events but also theories that would explain human behavior simply by appealing to abstract conceptual analysis. His theory of emergent materialism focuses on the human body as a concrete organic whole that can be reduced neither to linear physical events nor to abstract conceptual relations. Understanding the human being requires a theory that recognizes the human body as an original whole, that is, that recognizes a body that intimately integrates mind and matter. It is this theory that Merleau-Ponty first articulates in The Structure of Behavior. It is the main themes of this theory that I will attempt to reveal here
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  History of Philosophy
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ISBN(s) 0019-0365
DOI 10.5840/ipq200444327
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