Language as Gesture: Merleau-Ponty and American Sign Language

International Philosophical Quarterly 50 (1):25-37 (2010)
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Abstract

It is well known that the heart of Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy is the role of the body in all human experience and knowing, including even in the use of speech. Thus it is appropriate that his philosophy of language revolves around the notion of gesture. This essay explores the ramifications of this understanding of language in relation to the “speech” of deaf people through “American Sign Language,” which represents language as gesture par excellence

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