Publication details for Dr Simon Paul JamesJames, Simon P. (2007). Merleau-Ponty, Metaphysical Realism and the Natural World.*. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 15(4): 501-519.
- Publication type: Journal papers: academic
- ISSN/ISBN: 0967-2559, 1466-4542
- DOI: 10.1080/09672550701654917
- Keywords: Merleau-Ponty; environmental philosophy; metaphysical realism; environmental realism; flesh ontology
- View online: Online version
- Durham research online: DRO record
Author(s) from Durham
Environmental thinkers often suppose that the natural world (or some parts of it, at least) exists in its own right, independent of human concerns. The arguments developed in this paper suggest that it is possible to do justice to this thought without endorsing some form of metaphysical realism. Thus the early sections look to Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception to develop an anti-realist account of the independent reality of the natural world, one, it is argued, that has certain advantages over the accounts proffered by 'environmental realists'. The concluding sections draw upon certain of Merleau-Ponty's later works to defend a rather bolder claim: that the conceptions of realism endorsed by environmental thinkers are not just ill equipped but, in fact, unable to acknowledge what may be provisionally referred to as the more-than-human dimension of reality.