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date: 25 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article combines an evolutionary perspective with phenomenological philosophy of Merleau-Ponty. Neuroscience addresses the way the brain connects individuals to domains of adaptation, while Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy of perception explores the way sense situates humans the world. In particular, his concept “the intentional arc” captures the basic structure of embodied mental life through purposeful action. The processes of “sedimentation” and the neuroscience of ontogeny offer a perspective on the development of cortical and subcortical neural circuits that are in to-and-fro communication with the lived body. This dynamic sheds light on the genesis of a psychological life, structures of attunement, and capacity for adaptation to the world, which are all vulnerable to disruption in psychiatric disorder.

Keywords: neuroscience, Merleau-Ponty, intentional arc, evolution, phenomenology

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