Holism in perception: Merleau-Ponty on senses and objects

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Abstract

In this article, I set out to explore Merleau-Ponty’s view of our senses and
their interconnection with perceptual phenomena. In the spirit of MerleauPonty,
I draw on contemporary empirical research exploring synesthesia
and its importance for understanding non-synesthetic perception.
Combining points from Merleau-Ponty with research from the last twenty
years of synesthesia-research, which, sadly, has gone by relatively
unnoticed by philosophers interested in the problem of perception, I
attempt to show how a modular view of mind distorts the nature of
perception. I further reject the idea that a perceived object is an empty
intellectual substance or bearer of qualities, but I also reject the idea that
the qualities in themselves are what truly matters in a perceived object.
Instead, I advocate a more dynamic and holistic view, where the qualities
of the percept entwine and saturate each other just as our senses always
communicate and influence each other. This is a view where modular
interpretations of our senses and perceptual qualities are viewed as
perverting the primordial nature of perception itself since they overlook
the dynamic way in which the living, embodied subject and perceived
object are correlated.
Original languageDanish
JournalTIDskrift
VolumeVII
Pages (from-to)22-37
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

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