Continental Philosophy Review

, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 359–381 | Cite as

Plasticity, motor intentionality and concrete movement in Merleau-Ponty

  • Timothy MooneyEmail author


Merleau-Ponty’s explication of concrete or practical movement by way of the Schneider case could be read as ending up close to automatism, neglecting its flexibility and plasticity in the face of obstacles. It can be contended that he already goes off course in his explication of Schneider’s condition. Rasmus Jensen has argued that he assimilates a normal person’s motor intentionality to the patient’s, thereby generating a vacuity problem. I argue that Schneider’s difficulties with certain movements point to a means of broadening Merleau-Ponty’s account of concrete movement, one that he broaches without exploiting. What could do more work is his recognition of a transposition capacity - and hence of a plasticity - in the healthy body’s skill schema. As well as avoiding vacuity, he could forestall the appearance of a dichotomy between practical coping and creativity.


Automatism Body schema Concrete Concrete-like Context-familiar Context-strange Creativity Habitual Motor intentionality Movement Plasticity Representation Schneider Transposition capacity Vacuity 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University College DublinDublinIreland

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