Ethical coexistence beyond dualism The converging visions of Dewey and Merleau-Ponty

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Description: In this dissertation, I systematically delineate points of convergence and complementarity between the ideas of American "pragmatist" John Dewey and the twentieth-century continentalist Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and I mount this investigation in the pursuit of two aims. The first is to advance a philosophical position that renounces traditional dualisms and foundations while nevertheless affirming the reality of the world, and the second is to flesh out the implications and possibilities that such a theoretical position holds for ethical life. I begin by delineating the parallel strategies these two thinkers have developed in subversion of both the mechanistic and intellectualistic strains of rationality stemming from Cartesianism, presenting their positions as behaviorist standpoints that are emergentist rather than reductive. Then, by examining the post-phenomenological insights that Merleau-Ponty acquired from his reading of Saussure's linguistics in conjunction with Dewey's theory of inquiry, l present both thinkers as pushing beyond idealism and objectivism with two forms of a contextual brand of realism that contain ethical positions that lie between dogmatic absolutism and mere ethnocentric drift, demonstrating how both of their ethical visions hinge upon developing and utilizing dynamic social institutions to empower the unique and creative potentials of every individual in the promotion of new possibilities and a freer and richer experience for all.
Language: English
Format: Degree Work