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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Philosophy

Undergraduate Course: Phenomenology: Merleau-Ponty (PHIL10158)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryFocusing on the work of Merleau-Ponty, this course will introduce students to the philosophical movement of Phenomenology - an influential research programme that flourished in the early 20th century, and aimed to draw fundamental philosophical conclusions from careful consideration of the structures of experience and thought.
Course description This course will introduce students to the 20th century philosophical movement of Phenomenology. Originating with the work of Edmund Husserl, Phenomenology attempts to ground substantive philosophical claims concerning metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, and beyond, in a careful articulation of the ways in which our experience of the world is structured. After introducing Phenomenology via some key ideas from Husserl's work, the course will focus on Merleau-Ponty's influential 1945 work, Phenomenology of Perception. There, Merleau-Ponty argues that proper attention to the structures that characterize thought and experience reveals that we are fundamentally embodied creatures, and that this has important consequences for our understanding of mind, language, metaphysics and epistemology. After spending the majority of the course (weeks 3-8) exploring ideas and arguments of key sections of Phenomenology of Perception in detail, the final weeks of the course will consider how Merleau-Ponty applied his views to aesthetics and ethics, and how other thinkers such as Heidegger and Sartre pursued Husserl's research programme in different ways.

Required texts:
Merleau-Ponty, Maurice & Landes, Donald A. (2012). Phenomenology of Perception. Routledge.
Romdenh-Romluc, Komarine (2011). Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Merleau-Ponty and Phenomenology of Perception. Routledge.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Knowledge and Reality (PHIL08017) AND Mind, Matter and Language (PHIL08014)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students studying on MA Cognitive Science (Humanities) are permitted to take this course without having met the pre-requisites of Mind, Matter and Language and Knowledge and Reality. However, it is advisable that students discuss the suitability of the course with their PT and the course organiser before enrolling.
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate core skills in philosophy, including the ability to interpret and engage with philosophical texts, to evaluate arguments, and to develop one┐s own critical ideas in response
  2. Understand what is distinctive and important about Phenomenology as a method of philosophical inquiry
  3. Understand some key concepts in Husserl┐s work, including: protention, retention and the anticipatory structure of experience
  4. Understand some key concepts in Merleau-Ponty┐s work, including: the lived body, motor intentionality, ┐empiricism┐ and ┐intellectualism┐
  5. Reflect critically on the relationship between Merleau-Ponty┐s work and current work in cognitive science, philosophy of mind, metaphysics and epistemology
Reading List
Dreyfus, Hubert (2005). Merleau-Ponty and recent cognitive science. In Taylor Carman & Mark B. N. Hansen (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Merleau-Ponty. Cambridge University Press.

Gardner, Sebastian, Merleau-Ponty's Transcendental Theory of Perception.

Goehr, Lydia (2005). Understanding the Engaged Philosopher: On Politics, Philosophy, and Art. In Taylor Carman & Mark B. N. Hansen (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Merleau-Ponty. Cambridge University Press. 318--51.

Madary, Michael (2012). Husserl on Perceptual Constancy. European Journal of Philosophy 20 (1):145-165.

Romdenh-Romluc, Komarine (2007). Merleau-ponty's account of hallucination. European Journal of Philosophy 17 (1):76-90.

Romdenh-Romluc, Komarine (2007). Merleau-Ponty and the power to reckon with the possible. In Thomas Baldwin (ed.), Reading Merleau-Ponty: On Phenomenology of Perception. Routledge.

Smith, A. D. (2003). Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Husserl and the Cartesian Meditations. Routledge.

Smith, A. D. (2008). Husserl and externalism. Synthese 160 (3):313 - 333.

Young, Iris Marion (1980). Throwing like a girl: A phenomenology of feminine body comportment motility and spatiality. Human Studies 3 (1):137 - 156.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information One hour lecture and one hour tutorial every week
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiser Course secretaryMiss Ann-Marie Cowe
Tel: (0131 6)50 3961
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