Merleau-Ponty and the Measuring Body
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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In recent years a growing number of scholars in science studies and related fields are developing new ontologies to displace entrenched dualisms. These efforts often go together with a renewed interest in the roles played by symbolisms and tools in knowledge and being. This article brings Maurice Merleau-Ponty into these conversations, positioning him as a precursor of today’s innovative recastings of technoscience. While Merleau-Ponty is often invoked in relation to his early work on the body and embodiment, this article focuses on his later work, where the investigation of perception is integrated with an ontological exploration. The resulting approach revolves around the highly original idea of the body as a standard of measurement. We further develop this idea by coining the term ‘the measuring body’, which to a greater extent than did Merleau-Ponty accentuates the relative autonomy of symbolisms and tools and their capacity to decentre the perceiving body.