La structure du comportement.

Paris, 1942. Lex 8vo. Original printed green wrappers. A few small tears to front wrapper (no loss) and a bit of light wear to spine. Uncut and unopened. A very nice copy. (2), 314, (2) pp.

Scarce first edition on Merleau-Ponty's first published work, "The Structure of Behavior", which constitutes the outset of his philosophy, the work on the basis of which he was awarded his doctorate, perhaps the most important of all of his works and as such a main work of 20th century thought.

"The first sentence of "The Structure of Behavior reads", "Our goal is to understand the relationship of consciousness and nature: organic, psychological or even social" (SB, 3). In the philosophical field that Merleau-Ponty entered, the question concerning the relationship of consciousness and nature was dominated by two distinct approaches: on the one hand, what Merleau-Ponty would call ‘objectivism’, understood as naturalism in philosophy, behaviorism in psychology, and mechanism in biology; on the other hand, what he calls ‘intellectualism’, that is, the neo-Kantianism which loomed large in France at that time, particularly the thought of Brunschvicg. Merleau-Ponty's own position emerges as he critically negotiates his way between these two approaches. In "The Structure of Behavior", he argues against naturalism and objectivism, however, he does not employ the epistemological resources of the Kantian tradition. In his rejection of an epistemological starting point, Merleau-Ponty's position resembles that of Hegel in the Phenomenology of Spirit. The Hegelian influence on "The Structure of Behavior" should not be underestimated. Like Hegel, Merleau-Ponty ‘starts from below’, which is to say, he does not begin with an analysis of a subjectivity which would constitute the condition of possibility for the appearance of objectivity. Rather he turns his attention to the research that was currently being done in the psychology and the biology of his day, attempting to demonstrate that the actual results of this research contradict the explicit ontology that subtends it." (SEP).

Order-nr.: 47555

DKK 4.500,00