A Merleau-Pontian Account of Embodied Perceptual Norms
Article [Version of Record]
Is part ofIthaque ; no 22, p. 1‐19
Publisher(s)Société philosophique Ithaque
Although philosophers may first find it odd to speak of norms in the context of perception, the argument for normativity finds support in the writings of some of the spearheads of the phenomenological tradition, amongst them Edmund Husserl and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. As Maren Wehrle argues however, a phenomenological analysis of perception’s normative claim requires that we redefine our traditional conception of norms as authoritative standards or prescriptive moral guidelines. To this end, as she points out, the origin of the concept of norm in architecture can be illuminating because it refers to a measure or guideline which emerges out of “practical motivations” and serves to “facilitate cooperative and intersubjective communication.” In her view, prior to any theoretical or moral engagement with the world, certain sets of norms already play a role at an embodied, pre-reflexive level and account for our ability to orientate ourselves in the intersubjective lifeworld. My interest in the concept of norms stems from such a comprehension, and attempts to unfold and clarify some of its implications for perception in general. My goal in this paper is thus to address one of the key interpretations of perceptual norms in Merleau-Pontian scholarship and to suggest a new reading of their role in the Phenomenology of Perception (1945), through the lense of interest and temporality.
Lajoie, C. (2018). "A Merleau-Pontian Account of Embodied Perceptual Norms", Ithaque, 22, p. 1‐19