Thesis / Dissertation

Merleau-Ponty's philosophy of nature: negativity, ontology, and the rehabilitation of the possible

Ryan Gustafsson, Ghassan Hage (ed.), John Cash (ed.), Leonard Lawlor (ed.)

Published : 2016


This dissertation develops an account of Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy of nature, and demonstrates the importance of nature and the concept of negativity for his phenomenological ontology. For Merleau-Ponty, nature is the unreflected, “that which carries us” (N 4); it cannot be unequivocally conceived as an object or pure extension. The first part of the dissertation frames Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy of nature in relation to his critical engagement with Kant, Schelling, and Husserl, all of whom are working within, or at the margins of, the modern philosophical tradition instituted by Descartes. Merleau-Ponty identifies two irreducible ideas of nature in each of these philosophies, a ‘do..

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