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This book develops a notion of philosophy as perceptual learning, by re-interpreting "Merleau-Pontya (TM)s Phenomenology of Perception." The empirical subject and her natural attitude are summoned to retrieve the pre-objective layer which founds the objective world, and the living body which founds the constituted, alienated body. But empirical life seems to resist this call, so that phenomenology, unwilling to explicitly criticize the natural attitude, nonetheless disavows it by turning to limit cases of this attitude, cases of pathological disorder. Dorfman argues that understanding pathology would allow us to understand the resistance of normal life to the phenomenological call.
The second part of the book introduces the psychoanalytical theory of Jacques Lacan in order to show that there is no pre-objective life without objectivity, just as there is no normal life without pathology. The complex relationship between the objective and the pre-objective, the normal and the pathological is examined in order to show that only the constant movement between these different poles constitutes true perceptual phenomenology as well as free existence.
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