Ohio University Press · Swallow Press ·

Motivation and the Primacy of Perception
Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology of Knowledge

By Peter Antich

“Antich’s book demonstrates the difference made to epistemological debates and perplexities when we understand perception as motivating knowledge. It does this with great lucidity and insight, enriched by examples drawn from empirical studies, literature and art—all of which make for a compelling read. Because of its clarity and its commendable development of Merleau-Ponty’s understanding of perceptual motivation, it will be very useful not only to scholars but also to graduate students and senior undergraduates in philosophy.”

Kym Maclaren, co-editor of Time, Memory, Institution

“An erudite and seminal contribution to phenomenology studies, Motivation and the Primacy of Perception must be considered as a core and unreservedly recommended addition to college and university library contemporary philosophy collections and epistemic supplemental studies. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that [the title] is also readily available in a digital book format.”

Midwest Book Review

Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenological notion of motivation advances a compelling alternative to the empiricist and rationalist assumptions that underpin modern epistemology.

Arguing that knowledge is ultimately founded in perceptual experience, Peter Antich interprets and defends Merleau-Ponty’s thinking on motivation as the key to establishing a new form of epistemic grounding. Upending the classical dichotomy between reason and natural causality, justification and explanation, Antich shows how this epistemic ground enables Merleau-Ponty to offer a radically new account of knowledge and its relation to perception. In so doing, Antich demonstrates how and why Merleau-Ponty remains a vital resource for today’s epistemologists.

Peter Antich is visiting assistant professor of philosophy at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. His publications include “Merleau-Ponty on Hallucination and Perceptual Faith,” in Études Phénoménologiques – Phenomenological Studies, “Perceptual Experience in Kant and Merleau-Ponty,” in the Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, and “Merleau-Ponty’s Theory of Concept Formation,” in the History of Philosophy Quarterly.   More info →


Order a print copy

Hardcover · $76 ·
Add to Cart

Retail price: $95.00 · Save 20% ($76)

Buy from a local bookstore


US and Canada only

Buy an eBook

Amazon Kindle Store Barnes & Noble NOOK Google Play iBooks Store

Availability and price vary according to vendor.

Cover of Motivation and the Primacy of Perception

Share    Facebook icon  Email icon


Desk Copy Examination Copy Review Copy

Permission to reprint
Permission to photocopy or include in a course pack via Copyright Clearance Center

Related Subjects

Click or tap on a subject heading to sign up to be notified when new related books come out.

In Series

Series in Continental Thought, № 54


Retail price: $95.00, S.
Release date: February 2021
6 illus. · 264 pages · 6 × 9 in.
Rights:  World

Release date: February 2021
6 illus. · 264 pages
Rights:  World

Related Titles

Cover of 'The Phenomenology of Pain'

The Phenomenology of Pain
By Saulius Geniusas

The Phenomenology of Pain is the first book-length investigation of its topic to appear in English. Groundbreaking, systematic, and illuminating, it opens a dialogue between phenomenology and the sciences to argue that science alone cannot clarify the nature of pain experience without incorporating a phenomenological approach.

Philosophy | Movements | Phenomenology · Psychology · Social Science | Disease & Health Issues · Philosophy

Cover of 'Thinking between Deleuze and Merleau-Ponty'

Thinking between Deleuze and Merleau-Ponty
By Judith Wambacq

Questioning the dominant view that Deleuze and Merleau-Ponty have little of substance in common, Judith Wambacq draws on unpublished primary sources and current scholarship in English and French to bring them into a compelling dialogue to reveal a shared concern with the transcendental conditions of thought.

Philosophy | Movements | Phenomenology · Continental Philosophy · Philosophy

Cover of 'The Birth of Sense'

The Birth of Sense
Generative Passivity in Merleau-Ponty’s Philosophy
By Don Beith

Don Beith proposes a new concept of “generative passivity,” the idea that our organic, psychological, and social activities take time to develop into sense. Drawing on empirical studies and phenomenological reflections, he argues that in nature, novel meaning emerges prior to any type of constituting activity or deterministic plan.

Philosophy | Movements | Phenomenology · Continental Philosophy · Philosophy

Cover of 'Merleau-Ponty'

Space, Place, Architecture
Edited by Patricia M. Locke and Rachel McCann

Phenomenology has played a decisive role in the emergence of the discourse of place, and the contribution of Merleau-Ponty to architectural theory and practice is well established. This collection of essays by 12 eminent scholars is the first devoted specifically to developing his contribution to our understanding of place and architecture.

Philosophy | Movements | Phenomenology · Art Criticism and Theory · Philosophy | Aesthetics · Philosophy

Sign up to be notified when new Philosophy titles come out.

We will only use your email address to notify you of new titles in the subject area(s) you follow. We will never share your information with third parties.