Although it is well known that Gestalt theory had an important impact on Merleau- Ponty’s philosophy throughout his career, there is still no detailed study either of its influence on his ideas or of his own understanding of the notoriously polysemic notion of Gestalt. Yet, this notion is a key to Merleau-Ponty’s fundamental project of overcoming “objective thought” and its inherent dichotomies. By indicating how signification or ideality can be immanent in, rather than opposed to, matter, it compels us to redefine both consciousness and the world it is bound up with. The aim of this article is to clarify Merleau-Ponty’s notion of Gestalt against the historical background that he refers to, including Kurt Goldstein’s theory of the organism that was crucial for his interpretation of it.

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