Merleau‐Ponty and the Phenomenological Reduction

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 48 (6):553-571 (2005)
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Abstract

_reduction in favour of his existentialist account of être au monde. I show that whilst Merleau-Ponty _ _rejected, what he saw as, the transcendental idealist context in which Husserl presents the _ _reduction, he nevertheless accepts the heart of it, the epoché, as a methodological principle. _ _Contrary to a number of Merleau-Ponty scholars, être au monde is perfectly compatible with the _ _epoché and Merleau-Ponty endorses both. I also argue that it is a mistake to think that Merleau-_ _Ponty’s liberal use of the results of empirical psychology signify a rejection of the epoché. A proper _ _understanding of his views on the relation between phenomenology and psychology shows that, at _ _least in Merleau-Ponty’s eyes, the methods of phenomenology and the empirical sciences are _ _largely similar. I conclude that we have every reason to think that Merleau-Ponty accepted _ _Husserl’s demand that the phenomenologist place the world in brackets._.

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Joel Smith
University of Manchester