20 Credits SPRING

Pre-requisites: No


Aims/Description: This module will introduce students to the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty - a key figure in the phenomenological tradition, whose influence is still felt in certain contemporary approaches to the mind found in cognitive science, philosophy of mind, and other related areas. Almost all of his philosophy is concerned with one central question: how should we conceive of subjectivity and the world? His aim is to bring about a sort of paradigm shift in the way that we think about these things, which acknowledges the centrality of the body to consciousness, and the way in which subjectivity and the world depend on each other. We will focus on Merleau-Ponty┐s Phenomenology of Perception, which is one of his most influential works. The module will begin by setting Merleau-Ponty┐s thought in its historical context, providing students with a general understanding of the phenomenological tradition. Then, through close examination of the Phenomenology of Perception and the secondary literature that discusses it, we will consider Merleau-Ponty's thinking on: perception, action, knowledge, thought, other selves, the nature of the world, time, and freedom. We will relate his ideas, where relevant, to contemporary debates on these issues. The view that emerges through Merleau-Ponty's treatment of these topics is of bodily goings-on as a form of consciousness, which essentially underpins what we usually think of as the mind, and the world as a distinctively human environment that gets its character from the relations and dependencies between it and consciousness.

Restrictions on availability: No

Staff Contact: Sally Weston
Teaching Methods: Lectures, Seminars, Tutorials, Independent Study
Assessment: Formal Exam, Course work

Information on the department responsible for this unit (Philosophy):

Departmental Home Page
Teaching timetable


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Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK