Normality, Abnormality, and Pathology in Merleau-Ponty

Edited by Susan Bredlau & Talia Welsh

Subjects: Philosophy, Psychology, Cultural Studies, Women's Studies
Series: SUNY series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy
Hardcover : 9781438486857, 288 pages, February 2022
Paperback : 9781438486864, 288 pages, August 2022

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Table of contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction: Normality, Abnormality, and Pathology in Merleau-Ponty's Work
Susan Bredlau and Talia Welsh

Part I: Grounding a Phenomenology of Normality, Abnormality, and Pathology

1. Toward a Phenomenology of Abnormality
Jenny Slatman

2. What Can We Learn about the Normal from the Pathological? Merleau-Ponty, Goldstein, and Neuropsychology
Gabrielle Jackson

3. Merleau-Ponty and Ab/Normal Phenomenology: The Husserlian Roots of Merleau-Ponty's Account of Expression
Neal DeRoo

4. The Abnormalcy of "Normalcy": Merleau-Ponty, Russon, and the Normativity of Experience
Susan Bredlau

5. The Need for Merleau-Ponty in Foucault's Account of the Abnormal
Hannah Lyn Venable

Part II: Practical Phenomenological Applications of Merleau-Ponty's Theories of Normality, Abnormality, and Pathology

6. Meandering Peripheries: A Ground without Figure for Relief
Adam Blair

7. The Insight of Dispossession: Examining the Phenomenological and Political Significance of Merleau-Ponty's Account of the Spatial Level
Whitney Howell

8. Moving without Movement: Merleau-Ponty's "I can" and the Memoirs of Bodily Immobility
James Rakoczi

9. A Whole New World: Reimagining Divergent Sensory and Perceptual Experiences in Autism through Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception
Jennifer E. Bradley

10. Health and Other Reveries: Homo Curare, Homo Faber, and the Realization of Care
Joel Michael Reynolds

11. The Desexualization of Disabled People as Existential Harm and the Importance of Ambiguity
Christine Wieseler

Works Cited
Contributors
Index

Drawing on Merleau-Ponty offers new insights into our understandings of health and illness, ability and disability, and the scientific and cultural practices that both enable and limit our capacity for diverse experiences.

Description

Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s work draws our attention to how the body is always our way of having a world and never merely a thing in the world. Our conception of the body must take account of our cultures, our historically located sciences, and our interpersonal relations and cannot reduce the body to a biological given. Normality, Abnormality, and Pathology in Merleau-Ponty takes up Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology of the body to explore the ideas of normality, abnormality, and pathology. Focusing on the lived experiences of various styles of embodiment, the book challenges our usual conceptions of normality and abnormality and shows how seemingly objective scientific research, such as the study of pathological symptoms, is inadequate to the phenomena it purports to comprehend. The book offers new insights into our understandings of health and illness, ability and disability, and the scientific and cultural practices that both enable and limit our capacity for diverse experiences.

Susan Bredlau is Affiliated Faculty in the Philosophy Department at the University of Maine. She is the author of The Other in Perception: A Phenomenological Account of Our Experience of Other Persons, also published by SUNY Press. Talia Welsh is UC Foundation Professor of Philosophy and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She is the author of The Child as Natural Phenomenologist: Primal and Primary Experience in Merleau-Ponty’s Psychology.

Reviews

"This volume is a significant contribution to the field of Merleau-Ponty studies, clarifying and critically engaging with crucial ideas at play throughout a wide array of scholarship on Merleau-Ponty. It will also serve to bring Merleau-Ponty's work to greater attention in the fields of medical humanities and disability studies, in ways that will shine new light on both the limitations and possibilities of Merleau-Ponty's thought for helping us to make sense of the great variation in human embodiment and psychology." — Laura McMahon, Eastern Michigan University