PHIL40250 Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception

Academic Year 2023/2024

This module comprises a close reading of Phenomenology of Perception, one of the most significant treatments of philosophy of perception in the European tradition. Merleau-Ponty offers a sustained critique of the portrait view of perception and argues that the embodied perceiver must actively appropriate and organise the perceptible environment as a condition of having a world. We begin with his
initial adaptation of phenomenology, and proceed to outline his arguments against objectivism as found in the empiricist and intellectualist approaches to perception. Merleau-Ponty's proposed alternative founded on phenomenological description will then be explicated in detail. Topics to be covered include perceptual synthesis, the body as objectified, as lived and as anonymous, the role of kinaesthetic awareness, proprioceptive awareness and the body-schema, the motor-intentional projection of action and the perceptual field.

Show/hide contentOpenClose All

Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

A clear and detailed comprehension of the most salient ideas from the Phenomenology of Perception, in particular those from the Introduction and Part One. An ability to relate these ideas to the philosophical traditions of empiricism and intellectualism that they develop on and criticise. An understanding of the shortcomings and of the strengths and contemporary relevance of Merleau-Ponty's philosophy of the embodied perceiver, with particular reference to perception in action and enactivism.

Indicative Module Content:

The phenomenological reduction; act and operative intentionality; signitive or empty intending and intuitive fulfilment; static and genetic phenomenology; empiricism, intellectualism and objective thought; the body in objective tought; the body as lived; touching and being touched; body and thing in space; the I can and the will; the body schema; the habitual body; schematic excorporation and incorporation; motor intentionality; motor transpositions; the other as emobided, expressive and engaged.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Seminar (or Webinar)


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Content is delivered through in-seminar presentations by coordinator with extensive class discussion. Ams are to provide a sympathetic and in depth understanding of this classic text and a critical perspective on the same. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Essay: One major essay as term paper Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded Yes


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Summer No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Meeting with student to discuss term paper topic, reading and content prior to submission, feedback to student after grading of said paper.

Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Seminar Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Mon 14:00 - 15:50