Undergraduate Seminar 2

The reading for this week is this extract from ‘Thought in action’.

  1. What is absorbed coping?
  2. Why must there be more to human action than this?
  3. What is the power to reckon with the possible?
  4. What is it to reckon with the actual?
  5. What can the agent who possesses this capacity do?
  6. Why can’t Schneider recognise Goldstein’s house unless he is going there?
  7. What does it mean to give bodily significance to a conceptual representation?
  8. How do thoughts bring about action, according to Merleau-Ponty?
  9. Can you give an example?
  10. Is this an attractive picture of action?

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UG Seminar 1

We’ve so far done quite a lot of scene-setting and only just started to look at Merleau-Ponty’s account of action. For the first seminar, I want to spend time checking that people have grasped the main ideas from Husserlian philosophy, and then think in a bit more detail about the account of action that Merleau-Ponty is starting to develop.

First, please review lectures notes so far, identify the key concepts, and anything you didn’t understand/want to go over again. Here are some questions to help with that task:

  1. What is the Transcendental-Phenomenological Reduction?
  2. What is the natural attitude?
  3. What is transcendental subjectivity?
  4. What is Husserl’s view of science?
  5. Why does the body cause problems for the early Husserl?
  6. What is the Lebenswelt?
  7. What is the Crisis?
  8. How do we solve it by using the idea of the Lebenswelt?
  9. What does Merleau-Ponty mean by Objective Thought?

Second, read this short extract and think about the following questions:

  1. What, according to the traditional account, are actions?
  2. What are ‘solicitations’? And ‘affordances’?
  3. How are solicitations involved in action, according to Merleau-Ponty?
  4. How does his account differ from the traditional account?
  5. How does Merleau-Ponty use the case of Schneider to support his claims?
  6. Do you think this is an attractive picture of action? Why or why not?

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The readings and questions for the seminars will appear here each week.

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