Merleau-Ponty (Arguments of the Philosophers)
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ABSTRACT: Modern philosophy from the mid-nineteenth century on, has been particularly interested in choosing, adapting, and in some cases inventing literary forms to fit the particular philosophical subject under investigation. Simone de Beauvoir, with her explicit rejection of any formalist division between literature and philosophy, is one of the most interesting contributors to the modern development of philosophical writing. In fact, many of her compositions rest simultaneously in both the categories of literature and philosophy.
The significance of this aspect of her work was recognized by some of her contemporary philosophical associates, most particularly Merleau-Ponty. In this paper we want to examine a category error in which her fiction and philosophy are treated as mutually exclusive and separate categories. The underlying problem at work in contributing to this mistake is that of the conflation of a writerly form with the type of subject matter addressed by it. Falling into this confusion is particularly misleading for readers of Simone de Beauvoir because one of the most significant and fascinating aspects of her methodology lies in her explicit rejection of any formalist division between literature and philosophy.
This is an intriguing aspect of her work which places it in an honourable and innovative philosophical position. The dialogues of Plato and Hume, the fables of the Enlightenment philosophers, the dramatic narratives of Kierkegaard, the parables and aphorisms of Nietzsche, as well as the essays of Kant and Sartre are all part of that heritage. Equally, the mathematician's "paper" used by Tarski and Russell, and the scientific paper adapted and made so fashionable by the logical positivists, and that strange literary form devised by Wittgenstein, so eccentric that it apparently remains without a name and yet has its antecedent in Spinoza's Ethics , all form part of the major lineage of ways in which philosophy has been successfully written.
As the above list suggests, no one writerly form can be designated as the only one properly used for the most sophisticated philosophical investigation. And it must be noted that modern philosophy, from the mid-nineteenth-century on, has been particularly interested in choosing, adapting, and, in some cases, inventing literary forms to fit the particular philosophical subject matter under investigation.
Simone de Beauvoir is one of the most interesting contributors to the modern development of the diversity of forms of philosophical writing. The significance of this aspect of her work was recognized by some of her contemporary philosophical associates, most particularly by Maurice Merleau-Ponty.
In what follows we want to consider briefly the nature and ramifications of Beauvoir's originality in terms of philosophy's tradition of methodological diversity. In fact, many of Beauvoir's compositions rest simultaneously in two categories, literature and philosophy. In the mids, first Merleau-Ponty and then Beauvoir herself wrote lucid essays explaining her unorthodox but not entirely unprecedented philosophical methodology.
The reasoning behind Beauvoir's method is fascinating. Adoption of new or neglected literary forms by philosophers is usually linked to decided views of what are and are not the proper substantive concerns of philosophy. The logical positivists' imitation of the compositional forms of science, for example, grew from their position that philosophy should limit itself to serving as the handmaiden of science. Similarly, Beauvoir's practice, as well as her advocacy of using writerly forms usually associated only with purely literary work for philosophy, is tied to her strong views about what kind of philosophical knowledge is possible.
Beauvoir begins her essay by dividing philosophy and philosophers roughly into two camps. The first camp, which includes Aristotle, Leibniz, Spinoza and Kant, holds that philosophical truth exists only in a "timeless and objective" sense, and thereby regards "as negligible the subjectivity and historicity of experience. Beauvoir regards this view as seriously deluded.
20th WCP: Merleau-Ponty on Beauvoir's Literary-Philosophical Method
As Eleanore Holveck notes, Beauvoir "argues that philosophers pretend to explain all things universally, but in fact these 'universals' are based in the consciousness of some individual thinker who claims knowledge of the universal, a claim that must be justified. She diagnoses it as a position which only a man, working from a position of masculine privilege, could possibly accept.
It is a point to which she returns in her writing throughout her career. She writes: "Man cannot escape from his own presence nor from the singular world that his presence reveals around him; even his effort to uproot himself from the earth makes him dig a hole for himself.
Spinozism defines Spinoza, and Hegelianism Hegel. Against these universalist delusions, Beauvoir juxtaposes the orientation of thinkers who, like herself, insist upon the philosophical relevance of individual human experience. She believes and this is where her anti-universalist principles accord with and feed into the thought of the philosophical postmodernists that a fundamental characteristic of human reality is that no one, including all of history's great male philosophers, can take a universal or God-like point of view, whatever they may claim to the contrary.
Her attitude toward the universalist standpoint of most traditional philosophy is one of intellectual and moral contempt, a contempt she announced vehemently: "The universal mind is without voice, and every man who claims to speak in its name only gives to it his own voice. How can he claim the point of view of the universal, since he is not the universal?
One can not know a point of view other than one's own.
Phenomenology of Perception
Beauvoir's own position with regard to the universalist philosophical perspective was, in fact, settled in the s, a fact that her fiction of that decade demonstrates and which Merleau-Ponty shows he understands well in his essay on her work. She believed, as she noted succinctly in her preface to America Day by Day in , that "concrete experience envelops at once the subject and object. Merleau-Ponty understood and accepted Beauvoir's anti-universalist arguments. Further, he understood the techniques she employed in her fiction as one way of practising the new philosophical methodology demanded by acceptance of her argument.
The year before the appearance of Beauvoir's essay, Merleau-Ponty had already begun the public explication of her philosophical method. Merleau-Ponty begins by noting that, since the end of the nineteenth century, the boundaries between literature and philosophy had dissolved and that "hybrid modes of expression" had developed in response to the opening up of what he calls "a new dimension of investigation.
It is this concern with "establishing a certain attitude toward the world" which Merleau-Ponty identifies as the impulse behind Beauvoir's success at using fiction as a philosophical medium. He, like Beauvoir, distinguishes between two kinds of metaphysics. But Merleau-Ponty continues:. Everything changes when a phenomenological or existential philosophy assigns itself the task, not of explaining the world or of discovering its "conditions of possibility," but rather of formulating an experience of the world, a contact with the world which precedes all thought about the world.
Man is metaphysical in his very being, in his loves, in his hates, in his individual and collective history. It should be noted that in narrowing the domain to which philosophy is seen as properly addressed, Beauvoir and Merleau-Ponty are following a well-travelled definitional path.
They prescribe methods of doing philosophy which match their chosen philosophical interests and proscribe others. The evidence for me came in a startling manner. While reading the section about perceiving the body, I had an experience for which I have no words, but that perhaps comes closest to what certain mystics would call enlightenment.
But it was a completely bodily enlig In some ways this may be the most phenomenal philosophy book that I have ever read. But it was a completely bodily enlightenment, a full consciousness of myself as a specific unique bodily being. For several moments, I didn't want to read or touch my coffee, because I wanted to fully digest this feeling. The feeling stayed with me to a noticeable degree for two weeks thereafter. The main reason this book loses a star down to a mere four is because in the later chapters, when Merleau-Ponty goes into human perception of the social, he lets his marxian sympathies get in the way of his phenomenological method, and this weakens his arguments on these questions considerably.
View 2 comments. A slow read. Lots of conceptual learning involved. What is empiricism, etc. I never was highly philosophical. The characteristic A slow read. Jan 20, Feliks rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites , philosophy-general , self-growth , philosophers-best , criticism , good-nonfiction. I have to suspect that this is probably the most thrilling and exciting book I have ever read , in any genre, in any format, on any subject matter.
Just an astounding book. On fire. Makes you want to race around the room and scramble up the walls like a lab mouse on stimulants. You suddenly realize that so much of the topics we typically preoccupy ourselves with are hardly even apprehended correctly by our own senses. It is not just that we 'glance' at things, 'half-hear' what is sp I have to suspect that this is probably the most thrilling and exciting book I have ever read , in any genre, in any format, on any subject matter.
It is not just that we 'glance' at things, 'half-hear' what is spoken to us; or only give our environments a distracted sliver of our attention. Many other authors have written on such matters. Instead, Merleau-Ponty proves that even when we are gazing directly at what's before us we never truly see it. In the course of our normal daily routines, we always skip right over the hesitation which we should experience. We should countenance much deeper, graver mistrust of our faculties.
The truth is that we never perceive anything fully or correctly. Perception--the crux of everything--of course! The most fundamental step towards ratiocination, and we can't even congratulate ourselves on handling this task accurately! Merleau-Ponty really shows up the rich and false self-conceit we possess in our own powers. How do we know anything, how can we trust anything when we can't even trust the functioning of our own judgments?
How can we agree between ourselves on any topic, when each of us is wrapped in fog? The internal world, the external world All such questions like, 'is this thing part of this other thing? Gentlemen: we've all been sleepwalking. TPoP is certainly all that I could have asked for or desired. Immediate 5-star rating. I'm placing it in the very highest tier I can offer--the most distinctive, singular ranking I can give it in my shelves.
A spot where it will rub shoulders with maybe only other books--those being my top picks from the entire field of philosophy. I close this hierarchy to all but a select few. To be included, a title must contain what I feel is the most salient and relevant wisdom to offer our lives today. If only every child in North America could read this and some empirical, vernacular juggernaut such as Robert Burton's "Melancholy" before the age of eighteen View all 4 comments. Nov 02, Joshua Stein rated it really liked it Shelves: history-of-philosophy , mind , philosophy.
Merleau-Ponty is, for me, the best writer in phenomenology since Husserl, who created the damned thing. While Phenomenology of Perception is clearly a product of its time, and the available psychology, the amount of interesting work that Merleau-Ponty is able to do in what is essentially proto-cognitive science is very impressive. One of the things that really struck me in reading Merleau-Ponty was the realization of how extensive his impact is on what is easily just written off as an "analytic" philosophy of mind. Many of the case studies that he discusses are a major part of the writing of Dan Dennett and the arguments that he lays out against neuro-centric views of mind are basically the same as the views that contemporary neuro-centrists are still arguing against.
Writers who focus on the debates in philosophy of mind are still unable to shake the influence of Merleau-Ponty, and as someone very interested in that discussion, it was pretty incredible to look at what has stayed the same, in many ways, in contemporary study. There are a lot of good ways to enter into this book, as a reader.
If you're new to philosophy of mind, but not to continental philosophy, it will give a nice preface to early philosophy of mind and discussions of consciousness. If you're experienced in philosophy of mind, but just starting off in continental philosophy, this gives a nice bridge that maintains a good portion of the data that you're familiar with and shows how the data can be assessed through the processes of phenomenology. If you're engaged with both, this makes a great read as a point of interest in the history of philosophical traditions.
I strongly, strongly recommend the read. I do think that the most important thing to attend to, as a reader of the book, is Merleau-Ponty's lengthy footnotes. The most interesting one, for me, is the extensive discussion of dialectical materialism and the way that phenomenologists who aren't sympathetic to Marx understand the metaphysics of that approach. Merleau-Ponty is very philosophically dense, so this really isn't good for those who are just entering philosophy.
I do think that it is useful to have a background in some phenomenology, even if it is just a passing familiarity with Husserl or Heidegger. Sep 21, Andrew added it Shelves: french-existentialists , philosophy.
- Flesh and différance – Derrida and Merleau-Ponty in: Corporeity and Affectivity;
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From what I comprehended of the Phenomenology of Perception, it is a stunning, absolutely stunning work of philosophy-- rigorous and scientific while at the same time very aware of the limits of human knowledge, radical without devolving into cant, deeply humanistic, and, unsurprisingly, exceptionally perceptive.
For Merleau-Ponty novices: our minds are nested within our bodies which are nested within the world, and any attempts to reduce the world to an "idealist" or "materialist" conception rel From what I comprehended of the Phenomenology of Perception, it is a stunning, absolutely stunning work of philosophy-- rigorous and scientific while at the same time very aware of the limits of human knowledge, radical without devolving into cant, deeply humanistic, and, unsurprisingly, exceptionally perceptive.
For Merleau-Ponty novices: our minds are nested within our bodies which are nested within the world, and any attempts to reduce the world to an "idealist" or "materialist" conception rely on the same false assumptions about the nature of knowledge. This book is a seriously steep climb, laden as it is with multi-page arguments and reports of neurological research, but that climb delivers the reader to a very high Alpine meadow of intellect. When we want to analyze perception, we transport these objects into consciousness. We build perception out of the perceived. And since the perceived is obviously only accessible through perception, in the end we understand neither.
What begins as an exploration of perception - one which interjects the body between consciousness and When we want to analyze perception, we transport these objects into consciousness. What begins as an exploration of perception - one which interjects the body between consciousness and the world and institutes it as both Subject and Object, simultaneously - and through much of part two restructures the way one views their interaction with the world and their relation with the world - eventually attempts to encompass the complication of the perceptive Other which mostly closes part two.
I'll admit, some of the stuff M-P tackled towards the end of part two and the beginning of part three went over my head; that's okay, I always aim to take what I can away from these texts and hopefully revisit them renewed some later day to gain more from them. Some of that later stuff I felt was reaching, but I reserve that judgment based on my own imperfect understanding.
In its own way this book has altered the way in which I at least think about my interaction with and my interaction in the world. I suppose that's all I ask. I would survey the world from above, and far from all places and times suddenly becoming real, they would in fact cease to be real because I would not inhabit any of them and I would be nowhere engaged. If I am always and everywhere, then I am never and nowhere.
Thus, there is no choice between the incompleteness of the world and its existence, between the engagement and the ubiquity of consciousness, or between transcendence and immanence, since each of these terms, when it is affirmed by itself makes its contradiction appear. What must be understood is that for the same reason I am present here and now, and present elsewhere and always, or absent from here and now and absent from every place and from every time. This ambiguity is not an imperfection of consciousness or of existence, it is their very definition. Dec 06, Lance rated it it was amazing Shelves: philosophy.
First, I must admit it took me many months to read this book. Frankly, I can only handle one chapter at time. But like many such books, the work pays off as one slowly reflects on the slow, detailed exposition of a philosophy. In some ways, I see this book as a sequel to Schopenhauer's World of Will and Representation a book that takes even longer to read.
Merleau-Ponty takes the world of representation -- or perception -- and deeply explores how consciousness arises, not as a thing itself, First, I must admit it took me many months to read this book. Merleau-Ponty takes the world of representation -- or perception -- and deeply explores how consciousness arises, not as a thing itself, but within the world. Most importantly for me, Merleau-Ponty is revising the Cartesian subjectivity, which is the foundation for much of Western philosophy, science, and comparative work -- and also the root of many ideologies and problems we've struggled with for several centuries.
As the world becomes more "globalized" and interrelated, it will be important that new approaches to science, theory, and cultural studies start with this revised Cartesian subject. In short, Merleau-Ponty shows that our consciousness can not exist in and of itself; the very core of consciousness is intersubjectivity. This may seem like a small point, but it completely revolutionizes how we think and act in the world, particularly as academics and scientists. What many religions have asserted for a very long time, Merleau-Ponty gives philosophical and methodological weight.
Jan 16, Linus Ragnhage rated it it was amazing. This work is - together with Nietzsche's "Beyond Good and Evil" and Heidegger's "Being and Time" - a perfect cure for anyone who has overdosed on abstract thinking. Its message has yet to be heard by a wider audience and is bound to gain new appreciation as the currently dominant mode of thinking begins to falter.
A thorough background in philosophy might be required to understand much of what Merleau-Ponty writes, but, then again, if you have not already spent a substantial amount of time in th This work is - together with Nietzsche's "Beyond Good and Evil" and Heidegger's "Being and Time" - a perfect cure for anyone who has overdosed on abstract thinking. A thorough background in philosophy might be required to understand much of what Merleau-Ponty writes, but, then again, if you have not already spent a substantial amount of time in the realm of rational thinking, then it is unlikely that you require the relief that this work can bring.
Apr 22, Ann Michael rated it really liked it. Not an easy read, but a thought-provoking book. Merleau-Ponty essentially sets forth reasons to rethink philosophy's approaches in an age of science and psychology; not a call to end philosophy or render it irrelevant, though. He suggests that philosophy as a discipline can become MORE relevant if philosophers admit of phenomena and look to the ontology of being as an aspect of phenomena.
He's not a reductionist; though he is often classed with the existentialists, he's not that, either. Nor wou Not an easy read, but a thought-provoking book. Nor would he agree with E. Wilson's empirical "consilience. Might be a great book to read along with the works of Oliver Sacks. Sep 09, Otto Lehto rated it really liked it. This could, and undoubtedly necessary will, cloud my judgment.
So take my conclusions with a grain of salt. It carries heavy traces of Husserl and Heidegger in it. And of course Sartre. Then again, all the great philosophers have always subverted tradition. The notion of the primacy of the intentional body is utilized to overcome the subject-object dualism. There is no mystical union, here: the being-in-the-world as an intentional body is presented as a matter-of-fact phenomenological reality. The whole analysis is elaborate and a bit all over the place, but the basic point is well-made. As is typical of the French tradition, the language turns occasionally very poetic and literary.
Rhetorical flourish, and a good quip, is preferred over analytical intelligibility, and a simple syllogism. This is the difference between the German-French and the Anglo-Saxon traditions. The worst-reading parts are influenced by the tortuous language of Hegel, but as long as one is comfortable with its off-putting terminology - such as "for itself" and "in itself" - the methodology that Merleau-Ponty uses is, all things considered, relatively rational. There are no wild leaps of logic, just a few wild goose chases.
Arguments are happily sprinkled full of real-life examples, literary quotations, and even references to empirical Gestalt psychology. Although not a philosophical masterpiece in the league of, say, Heidegger's "Being and Time", Phenomenology of Perception is, nonetheless, one of the essential works of the 20th Century. I give it 4 stars because it is, to put it bluntly, too meandering and too unoriginal. It also seems to relish in its repetition of the same questions from a multitude of angles.
This befits a philosophy aiming to bring us back to the "Ur-Presence" of our primary phenomenology, but it sometimes feels like a series of disjointed diary entries, rather than a single logical whole. So, to sum up my criticism: 1 The text is sometimes too obscure - i. A fact perhaps made worse in translation. It would have been a better book with tighter editing and a more focused structure. Such looseness, alas, is a common problem in French philosophy - but this doesn't excuse Merleau-Ponty's falling into the same trap.
Some chapters are better than others. None are perfect.
4. Expression, Language, and Art
It is not the most original of works, even if it revolutionized the way we approach, or interpret, phenomenology. Merleau-Ponty did not completely extricate himself from the Husserlian-Cartesian projects. He simply wanted to follow it faithfully to the existentialist direction. Furthermore, by rehashing traditional themes, and tossing them about, he often gets entangled in some old Cartesian snares.
Despite these problems - which are mostly quibbles - the book is well worth a read. It has been used in philosophy - e. And it also forces a deep self-study on the un fortunate reader. It is a remarkable work in many ways. But just how this book, full of the unique spirit of its times Les Temps Modernes and all that jazz , written in a laid-back but obscurantist fashion, will be rated in a hundred years, is hard to judge.
Perhaps it will be forgotten, or treated as an "in-between", second-rate work of those years, relegated in the shadow of Heidegger and Sartre? Or perhaps someone, with less Hegelian baggage, will come along, one day, and express the same thing - the fundamental bodily-phenomenological insight - more clearly, for a new audience? Or perhaps one would do better to read some Hubert Dreyfus instead. That would be desirable, because unfortunately many people will find the form in which the argument is presented to be impenetrable. Until then, I hope this book continues to inspire generations to come.
Aug 20, Carlo rated it it was amazing. This should required reading for humans. Dec 26, Alina W.
Merleau-Ponty has taken Heidegger's existential phenomenology and given it body! Heidegger's theory of dasein and the various ontological features that constitute it are abstract is ill-defended, even if it is intuitively appealing. From my reading, Merleau-Ponty covered all of Heidegger's main ontological themes and adds even more e.
Moreover, he was up-to-date with the psychological and neurobiological findings at his time, and even if he ultimately rejects that scienti Merleau-Ponty has taken Heidegger's existential phenomenology and given it body! Moreover, he was up-to-date with the psychological and neurobiological findings at his time, and even if he ultimately rejects that scientific methods could ever get at the ultimate truth of our human condition, he is nonetheless scientifically minded and respectful of making his theories naturalistic and plausible.
I would like to add that his theories have panned out in natural science; there is a movement in cognitive science called "embodied cognition" that is primarily inspired by Merleau-Ponty's embodied existential phenomenology and has provided solid analytic and empirical grounding to it. Furthermore, Merleau-Ponty writes beautifully, with unexpected, effective metaphors and examples.
Compared to Heidegger, he rarely uses obscure jargon and takes time to carefully elaborate on any terms he introduces. Overall, Heidegger broke much more new ground in philosophy compared to Merleau-Ponty, but I feel that Merleau-Ponty importantly refines and elaborates on Heidegger, as well as crucially makes Heidegger's philosophy naturalistic and scientifically plausible.
Uniquely, Merleau-Ponty draws on cases studies in psychiatric and neurobiological pathology and uses these empirical facts about abnormal minds and perceptual realities as springboards for his theories. I found Merleau-Ponty, unlike many other theorists who attempt this method, deeply compassionate, respectful, and accurate to these individuals with such pathologies.
With this method, Merleau-Ponty both makes his theories more scientifically plausible and immensely poignant or powerful to the reader. I found myself even at tears in his chapter on sexuality, no joke! In this chapter, he explained how behavioral and somatic symptoms are not mere indicators of foul mental states, but rather they are concrete, literal manifestations of unusual, detrimental ways of relating to the world.
The mistake of taking them as mere symptoms is the result of sticking to an empirical framework, and the truth of their existential nature is revealed when we access the deeper existential realm, from which all theoretical frameworks are derived.
In the chapter on space, Merleau-Ponty makes the striking point that the world, which we find ourselves in, is presented by our body in continuous dynamical coupling with environmental structures since our time of birth in other chapters, such as the one on temporality, he focuses more on our body's coupling to cultural traditions and sociality.
It is important to remember this book is, foremost, a response to the question "how can the world appear for us?
http://derivid.route1.com/seora-de-rojo-sobre-fondo.php From earliest infanthood, our body learns, on the demand of its needs and motivations, the patterns of activities that lets us fulfill these intentions. This process, at the same time, discovers new features of the world. All objects and features of the world are thoroughly intentional and relevant to our activities and ways of life. Every discovery and acitivty is made possible by previous "schema" general potential ways of being in the world that are always indeterminate and open to change and at the same time adds to this schema, or provides further detail or a new alteration into the schema.
These processes demonstrate how our body is in constant, reciprocal co-determination coupling with the environment; the world shows up in terms of the schema held in the body, an the schema of the body is constituted and determined by the world. So, whenever we focus our attention on a part of the world, and it appears for us instantly, it is given by our body-world, as a dynamical system.
My conscious awareness is always less than and distinct from this deeper level of the body-world, although the two are fundamentally integrated and determine each other. Interestingly, although Merleau-Ponty doesn't explicitly mention this point, I see that his theory can be extended to our evolutionary history.
When we are born into the world, our genetics bound to the billions of years of innumerable individual creatures who have lived in dynamical coupling with this environment. Our lives are not our own in two senses; one is our own body and world in perceptual interaction; another is our body and genetic predecessors in causal determination since the beginning of life itself. I find this deep, substantive interconnectedness a secular source of sublimity and belongingness - or "spirituality" in banal terms. In the chapter on freedom, Merleau-Ponty resolves the debate on free will and determinism.
He reveals how this quibbling is the result of a blind commitment to a combination of empirical causality and logical thinking. Genuine freedom can be understood only from an existential perspective, the most fundamental of all. Freedom is found in existential commitment - any commitment to a way of life, such as even philosophers' commitments to rationalism or empiricism.
The status of any object or event in this world as being an obstacle or an enabler depends strictly on our existential commitments. Only when we have taken on a way of life and are concerned about it, then certain events will come with the significance of hindering or helping us on this project. For example, jagged rocks on a mountain will be a hinderance only to a person with an existential commitment to mountain climbing.
To anyone else, these rocks would have other meanings or no significance at all. So, what we take to be obstacles to our freedom are in fact direct manifestations of our a priori freedom to pursue existential commitments. I strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in how people can see such utterly different things while standing in the same room. Or, how people can end up committing atrocious deeds or experience spirituality. Ultimately, if you have been dissatisfied with philosophical accounts of space and time, or other metaphysical problems, that are devoid of culture, meaning, or our human conditions, this book is perfect.
This one is up there with last century's cornerstones of Philosophical Investigations and Being and Time. Definitely a rewarding mental workout. Nov 04, Lesliemae rated it really liked it Shelves: special-fields , phenomenology. Coming to Merleau-Ponty through Heidegger was a kind if shock to my system. I was not prepared for the deeply rational language of MP's study. Still, he brought to Heidegger's inherence, or being-in-the-world a very full-"embodied" discussion of our indissoluble link to that world via our own bodies. In most respects, MP's conception of being-in-the-world follows Heidegger's original, yet there are three starkly divergent thoughts I can identify from a first read: 1.
Merleau-Ponty wanted phenomen Coming to Merleau-Ponty through Heidegger was a kind if shock to my system. Merleau-Ponty wanted phenomenology to take centre stage as the main focus whereas Heidegger turned more towards ontology with phenomenology as his method. This creates a difference between philosophical motives. Merleau-Ponty bequeaths us our thoughts on embodiment, which does not come into Heidegger. This makes MP feel much more reflective about biological concerns without compromising his stand with regards to either scientific or objectivist methods.
For MP, the phenomenal body is an experience from the inside that rises towards the world to create meaning. The body for MP is a natural subject and expresses the existence of being-in-the-world. Pre-reflective states. Our being-in-the-world is not a dualistic relation between an objective body and disembodied consciousness; rather it is a pre-objective perspective.