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Merleau-Ponty's ontological reading of constitution in Phénoménologie de la perception

Elizabeth Behnke

pp. 31-50

In Phénoménologie de la perception Merleau-Ponty constructs and critiques two notions of “constitution, ” both of which he ascribes to Husserl: an “intellectualist” sense that he rejects because it perpetuates a dualistic ontology of determinate being; and a “genetic” sense that is rejected on the grounds that it assumes an ultimately pre-given ontological matrix that it cannot itself provide. Thus Merleau-Ponty gives “constitution” an exclusively “metaphysical” reading, thereby occluding Husserl’s distinctive methodological sense of the term.

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