Motor intentionality and the case of Schneider

  • Rasmus Thybo JensenEmail author


I argue that Merleau-Ponty’s use of the case of Schneider in his arguments for the existence of non-conconceptual and non-representational motor intentionality contains a problematic methodological ambiguity. Motor intentionality is both to be revealed by its perspicuous preservation and by its contrastive impairment in one and the same case. To resolve the resulting contradiction I suggest we emphasize the second of Merleau-Ponty’s two lines of argument. I argue that this interpretation is the one in best accordance both with Merleau-Ponty’s general methodology and with the empirical case of Schneider as it was described by Gelb and Goldstein.


Motor intentionality Bodily agency Merleau-Ponty The case of Schneider Neuropsychology 



The author wishes to thank Thomas bassbøl, Finn Collin, Thor Grünbaum, Lisa Käll, Dorothée Legrand, Søren Overgaard and Dan Zahavi for valuable comments on earlier versions of this paper. I would also like to thank the two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments as well as the audiences at the 2nd Annual Conference of the Nordic Society for Phenomenology (Stockholm 2004), at the 10th Gathering of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness (Oxford 2006) and at the 9th International Conference on Philosophy, Psychiatry and Psychology, (Leiden 2006). The research for this paper was funded by the Danish Research Council for Culture and Communication.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center of Subjectivity Research & Sect. for Philosophy, Department of Media, Cognition and CommunicationUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

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