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Gestalt and Totality. The Case of Merleau-Ponty and Gestalt Psychology

Author(s): Nilsen, Håvard

Journal: Nordicum-Mediterraneum
ISSN 1670-6242

Volume: 3;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 72;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Keywords: Castoriadis | Gestalt | Lefort | Merleau-Ponty | psychology

Connected via Merleau-Ponty’s pupil Claude Lefort, Castoriadis followed many of Merleau-Ponty’s main theoretical themes, phenomenology and psychology. In this paper, a little acknowledged aspect of Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy is presented, specifically how he used Gestalt psychology as a crucial part of his theoretical project. Today, Gestalt psychology is usually only mentioned in introductory courses in psychology, in the chapters on perception. At the beginning of the 20th century, however, they were widely debated as an attempt at transforming positivism and scientific epistemology. The aim of this paper is to show a largely forgotten, but significant source of influence in intellectual history and 20th century philosophy.
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