chapter  19
11 Pages

Cognitive science

ByShaun Gallagher

Merleau-Ponty can have only a posthumous relation to cognitive science given that at the time of his death the idea of an interdisciplinary, scientific study of the mind was only at its start. In some cases, however, it is not difficult for a philosopher to have a posthumous relation to some idea, to the extent that those who continue to read his texts and to write in a way that continues and extends his thought do so in relation to that particular idea. And this has certainly been the case with Merleau-Ponty and cognitive science. In this essay I shall suggest that the relation is two-sided, and that it involves a double movement, or if you prefer a key term associated with the later Merleau-Ponty, a theoretical reversibility. My primary focus, however, is on the early Merleau-Ponty, and I first want to say something about Merleau-Ponty’s philosophical practice in that early period.