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By Gail Weiss

Connects Merleau-Ponty's notion to issues and matters significant to continental philosophy at the present time.

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New York: Citadel Press. Casey, Edward S. (1984). “Habitual Body and Memory in Merleau-Ponty” Man and World, 17, 279–297. Clair, André (1996). “Merleau-Ponty Lecteur et Critique de Bergson. Le Statut Bergsonien de l’Intuition” Archives de Philosophie 59, 203–218. Deleuze, Gilles and Félix Guattari (1994). What is Philosophy? trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Graham Burchell. New York: Columbia University. Merleau-Ponty, Maurice (1962). The Phenomenology of Perception, trans. C. Smith. London: Routledge and Kegan-Paul.

Vrin, 1968. 4. Edward Casey: “Bergson is often the most effective escort into Merleau-Pontian reflection on many subjects” (1984: 283); see also Scharfstein (1955); André Clair (1996); and John C. Mullarkey (1994) on the connections between Bergson and Merleau-Ponty. 5. Cf “It is inconceivable—this is the mechanist argument—that an existing physical or chemical action not have its real conditions in other physical or chemical actions. But—this is the vitalist argument—since each constant chemical reaction in the organism (for example, the fixation of oxygen on the hemoglobin of the blood) presupposes a stable context, which itself presupposes another one, the physico-chemical explanation always seems deferred (Merleau-Ponty, The Structure of Behavior, 1983: 158).

Doesn’t contemporary work in cognitive development show us that language is a natural phenomenon, that it is quite powerfully understood in terms of brain structures and neural capacities that have evolved in nature? In the early twentyfirst century, can we really, plausibly deny this? But there is a second difficulty about nature, and it rests in Levinas’ claims about the specific modalities of language that demarcate the ethical: speaking, thematizing, stating, proposing, questioning. As he insists: “Signification arises from the other stating or understanding the world, which precisely is thematized in his language” (1969: 97).

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