1 Merleau - Ponty for Cognitive Science

  • Published 2007


My attention was first drawn to the relevance of Merleau-Ponty for cognitive science through reading Andy Clark's Being There (1997). Clark indicates that Merleau-Ponty's depiction of everyday intelligent activities in terms of "the playing out of whole organism-body-world synergies" is close in spirit and execution to Clark's own project. Moreover, Clark is particularly fond of Merleau-Ponty's stress on the activity of the organism in perception, and he coins the term 'continuous reciprocal causation' to describe this interaction between perceiver and perceived. Clark thus sees Merleau-Ponty as presenting a kind of 'free-form interactive dance' view of perception, which he endorses on the grounds of its compatibility with "recent work in the computational foundations of animate vision." (Clark 1997, p172) I want to take a moment to look at the compatibility that Clark refers to – with the findings of researchers in animate vision – which I think is surprisingly compelling. I offer this as a kind of intuition pump for appreciating the affinity between Merleau-Ponty's writing and certain developments within cognitive science. In the main part of this chapter, I'll go through the ways in which this affinity has been cashed out, supported, and formalised.

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{20071M, title={1 Merleau - Ponty for Cognitive Science}, author={}, year={2007} }