The World of Truth: On Merleau-Ponty and Davidson’s Holistic Arguments


In this paper, I will argue that a comparison between Merleau-Ponty and Davidson gives us a great chance to further advance the dialogue between the Continental and the Analytic traditions. Although the differences between these two authors were widely discussed in scholarly literature, their similarities remain overlooked in many important ways. The main goal of this article is to demonstrate an important symmetry between Merleau-Ponty’s notion of openness and Davidson’s notion of truth by revealing the similarity in their motivations that is given despite the obvious differences in the conceptual tools that they employ and their basic methodological principles. In particular, I will argue that 1) the openness to the world performs (although partly) the same function as the truth performs for Davidson: as contentless fulcrums that tie together different elements), which enable merging of different causal stimuli. 2) there is an important similarity between Merleau-Ponty’s disregard for any kind of rigid distinction between the a priori and the a posteriori elements of experience and Davidson’s critique of the dualism of scheme and content. Both the a priori and the a posteriori require their counterpart without being reduced to it; 3) at the same time, both authors are defending the essential historicity of our understanding and consequently denouncing “a view from nowhere” encrypted in the philosophical tradition. 

Keywords: Merleau-Ponty, Davidson, openness, truth, post-transcendental philosophy

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