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

Postgraduate Course: Phenomenology: Merleau-Ponty MSc (PHIL11153)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryBy focusing 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 2-8) 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.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
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 the work of Husserl and Merleau-Ponty, including: protention, retention and the anticipatory structure of experience; motor intentionality; the lived body; 'empiricism' and 'intellectualism'
  4. reflect critically on the relationship between Merleau-Ponty's work and current work in cognitive science, philosophy of mind, epistemology and metaphysics
Reading List
Required text:
Merleau-Ponty, Maurice & Landes, Donald A. (2012). Phenomenology of Perception. Routledge.

Additional reading:
Romdenh-Romluc, Komarine (2011). Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Merleau-Ponty and Phenomenology of Perception. Routledge.

Carman, Taylor (2007) Merleau-Ponty. Routeledge 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

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.

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.

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

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 Thinking and writing clearly. Understanding the relationship between work from different disciplines and traditions.
KeywordsPhenomenology; Merleau-Ponty
Course organiserDr Dave Ward
Tel: (0131 6)50 3652
Course secretaryMs Becky Verdon
Tel: (0131 6)50 3860
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