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Maurice Merleau-Ponty
Maurice Merleau-Ponty.jpg
Maurice Jean Jacques Merleau-Ponty

(1908-03-14)14 March 1908
Died3 May 1961(1961-05-03) (aged 53)
Paris, France
Alma materÉcole Normale Supérieure, University of Paris[1]
Era20th-century philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
Existential phenomenology
Embodied phenomenology[2]
Western Marxism
Main interests
Aesthetics · anthropology · consciousness · embodiment ·  · meaning · ontology · perception · politics · psychology
Notable ideas
Invagination, Gestalt, anonymous collectivity,[5] motor intentionality,[6][7] the flesh of the world, incarnation,[8] chiasm (chiasme), speaking vs. spoken language,[9] institution[10]

Maurice Jean Jacques Merleau-Ponty[16] (French: [mɔʁis mɛʁlo pɔ̃ti, moʁ-]; 14 March 1908 – 3 May 1961) was a French phenomenological philosopher, strongly influenced by Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger. The constitution of meaning in human experience was his main interest and he wrote on perception, art, politics, religion, biology, psychology, psychoanalysis, language, nature, and history. He was the lead editor of Les Temps modernes, the leftist magazine he established with Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir in 1945.

At the core of Merleau-Ponty's philosophy is a sustained argument for the foundational role that perception plays in the human experience of the world. Merleau-Ponty understands perception to be an ongoing dialogue between one's lived body and the world which it perceives, in which perceivers passively and actively strive to express the perceived world in concert with others. He was the only major phenomenologist of the first half of the twentieth century to engage extensively with the sciences. It is through this engagement that his writings became influential in the project of naturalizing phenomenology, in which phenomenologists use the results of psychology and cognitive science.

Merleau-Ponty emphasized the body as the primary site of knowing the world, a corrective to the long philosophical tradition of placing consciousness as the source of knowledge, and maintained that the perceiving body and its perceived world could not be disentangled from each other. The articulation of the primacy of embodiment (corporéité) led him away from phenomenology towards what he was to call "indirect ontology" or the ontology of "the flesh of the world" (la chair du monde), seen in his final and incomplete work, The Visible and Invisible, and his last published essay, "Eye and Mind".

Merleau-Ponty engaged with Marxism throughout his career. His 1947 book, Humanism and Terror, has been widely understood as defense of the Soviet farce trials. Slavoj Zizek opines[17] that it avoids the definitive endorsement of a view on the Soviet Union, but instead engages with the Marxist theory of history as a critique of liberalism, in order to reveal an unresolved antinomy in modern politics, between humanism and terror: if human values can only be achieved through violent force, and if liberal ideas hide illiberal realities, how is just political action to be decided?[18] Merleau-Ponty maintained an engaged though critical relationship to the Marxist left until the end of his life, particularly during his time as the political editor of the journal Les Temps modernes.


Merleau-Ponty's grave at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, where he is buried with his mother Louise, his wife Suzanne, and his daughter Marianne.
Merleau-Ponty's grave at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, where he is buried with his mother Louise, his wife Suzanne, and his daughter Marianne.

Maurice Merleau-Ponty was born in 1908 in Rochefort-sur-Mer, Charente-Inférieure (now Charente-Maritime), France. His father died in 1913 when Merleau-Ponty was five years old.[19] After secondary schooling at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand in Paris, Merleau-Ponty became a student at the École Normale Supérieure, where he studied alongside Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Simone Weil, Jean Hyppolite, and Jean Wahl. As Beauvoir recounts in her autobiography, she developed a close friendship with Merleau-Ponty and became smitten with him, but ultimately found him too well-adjusted to bourgeois life and values for her taste. He attended Edmund Husserl's "Paris Lectures" in February 1929.[20] In 1929, Merleau-Ponty received his DES degree (diplôme d'études supérieures [fr], roughly equivalent to a M.A. thesis) from the University of Paris, on the basis of the (now-lost) thesis La Notion de multiple intelligible chez Plotin ("Plotinus's Notion of the Intelligible Many"), directed by Émile Bréhier.[21] He passed the agrégation in philosophy in 1930.

Merleau-Ponty was raised as a Roman Catholic. He was friends with the Christian existentialist author and philosopher Gabriel Marcel and wrote articles for the Christian leftist journal Esprit, but he left the Catholic Church in 1937 because he felt his socialist politics were not compatible with the social and political doctrine of the Catholic Church.[22]

An article published in the French newspaper Le Monde in October 2014 makes the case of recent discoveries about Merleau-Ponty's likely authorship of the novel Nord. Récit de l'arctique (Grasset, 1928). Convergent sources from close friends (Beauvoir, Elisabeth "Zaza" Lacoin) seem to leave little doubt that Jacques Heller was a pseudonym of the 20-year-old Merleau-Ponty.[23]

Merleau-Ponty taught first at the Lycée de Beauvais (1931–33) and then got a fellowship to do research from the Caisse nationale de la recherche scientifique [fr]. From 1934 to 1935 he taught at the Lycée de Chartres. He then in 1935 became a tutor at the École Normale Supérieure, where he tutored a young Michel Foucault and Trần Đức Thảo and was awarded his doctorate on the basis of two important books: La structure du comportement (1942) and Phénoménologie de la Perception (1945). During this time, he attended Alexandre Kojeve's influential seminars on Hegel and Aron Gurwitsch's lectures on Gestalt psychology.

In the spring of 1939, he was the first foreign visitor to the newly established Husserl Archives, where he consulted Husserl's unpublished manuscripts and met Eugen Fink and Father Hermann Van Breda. In the summer of 1939, as France declared war on Nazi Germany, he served on the frontlines in the French Army, where he was wounded in battle in June 1940. Upon returning to Paris in the fall of 1940, he married Suzanne Jolibois, a Lacanian psychoanalyst, and founded an underground resistance group with Jean-Paul Sartre called "Under the Boot". He participated in an armed demonstration against the Nazi forces during the liberation of Paris.[24] After teaching at the University of Lyon from 1945 to 1948, Merleau-Ponty lectured on child psychology and education at the Sorbonne from 1949 to 1952.[25] He was awarded the Chair of Philosophy at the Collège de France from 1952 until his death in 1961, making him the youngest person to have been elected to a chair.

Besides his teaching, Merleau-Ponty was also political editor for the leftist journal Les Temps modernes from its founding in October 1945 until December 1952. In his youth, he had read Karl Marx's writings[26] and Sartre even claimed that Merleau-Ponty converted him to Marxism.[27] E. K. Kuby states that while Merleau-Ponty was not a member of the French Communist Party and did not identify as a Communist, he laid out an argument justifying the Soviet farce trials and political violence for progressive ends in general in the work Humanism and Terror in 1947. Kuby states that, about three years after that, however, he renounced his earlier support for political violence, rejected Marxism, and advocated a liberal left position in Adventures of the Dialectic (1955).[28] His friendship with Sartre and work with Les Temps modernes ended because of that, since Sartre still had a more favourable attitude towards Soviet communism. Merleau-Ponty was subsequently active in the French non-communist left and in particular in the Union of the Democratic Forces.

Merleau-Ponty died suddenly of a stroke in 1961 at age 53, apparently while preparing for a class on René Descartes, leaving an unfinished manuscript which was posthumously published in 1964, along with a selection of Merleau-Ponty's working notes, by Claude Lefort as The Visible and the Invisible. He is buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris with his mother Louise, his wife Suzanne and their daughter Marianne.



In his Phenomenology of Perception (first published in French in 1945), Merleau-Ponty develops the concept of the body-subject (le corps propre) as an alternative to the Cartesian "cogito".[citation needed] This distinction is especially important in that Merleau-Ponty perceives the essences of the world existentially. Consciousness, the world, and the human body as a perceiving thing are intricately intertwined and mutually "engaged". The phenomenal thing is not the unchanging object of the natural sciences, but a correlate of our body and its sensory-motor functions. Taking up and "communing with" (Merleau-Ponty's phrase) the sensible qualities it encounters, the body as incarnated subjectivity intentionally elaborates things within an ever-present world frame, through use of its pre-conscious, pre-predicative understanding of the world's makeup. The elaboration, however, is "inexhaustible" (the hallmark of any perception according to Merleau-Ponty). Things are that upon which our body has a "grip" (prise), while the grip itself is a function of our connaturality with the world's things. The world and the sense of self are emergent phenomena in an ongoing "becoming".

The essential partiality of our view of things, their being given only in a certain perspective and at a certain moment in time does not diminish their reality, but on the contrary establishes it, as there is no other way for things to be copresent with us and with other things than through such "Abschattungen" (sketches, faint outlines, adumbrations). The thing transcends our view, but is manifest precisely by presenting itself to a range of possible views. The object of perception is immanently tied to its background—to the nexus of meaningful relations among objects within the world. Because the object is inextricably within the world of meaningful relations, each object reflects the other (much in the style of Leibniz's monads). Through involvement in the world – being-in-the-world – the perceiver tacitly experiences all the perspectives upon that object coming from all the surrounding things of its environment, as well as the potential perspectives that that object has upon the beings around it.

Each object is a "mirror of all others". Our perception of the object through all perspectives is not that of a propositional, or clearly delineated, perception; rather, it is an ambiguous perception founded upon the body's primordial involvement and understanding of the world and of the meanings that constitute the landscape's perceptual Gestalt. Only after we have been integrated within the environment so as to perceive objects as such can we turn our attention toward particular objects within the landscape so as to define them more clearly. This attention, however, does not operate by clarifying what is already seen, but by constructing a new Gestalt oriented toward a particular object. Because our bodily involvement with things is always provisional and indeterminate, we encounter meaningful things in a unified though ever open-ended world.

The primacy of perception

From the time of writing Structure of Behavior and Phenomenology of Perception, Merleau-Ponty wanted to show, in opposition to the idea that drove the tradition beginning with John Locke, that perception was not the causal product of atomic sensations. This atomist-causal conception was being perpetuated in certain psychological currents of the time, particularly in behaviourism. According to Merleau-Ponty, perception has an active dimension, in that it is a primordial openness to the lifeworld (the "Lebenswelt").

This primordial openness is at the heart of his thesis of the primacy of perception. The slogan of Husserl's phenomenology is "all consciousness is consciousness of something", which implies a distinction between "acts of thought" (the noesis) and "intentional objects of thought" (the noema). Thus, the correlation between noesis and noema becomes the first step in the constitution of analyses of consciousness. However, in studying the posthumous manuscripts of Husserl, who remained one of his major influences, Merleau-Ponty remarked that, in their evolution, Husserl's work brings to light phenomena which are not assimilable to noesis–noema correlation. This is particularly the case when one attends to the phenomena of the body (which is at once body-subject and body-object), subjective time (the consciousness of time is neither an act of consciousness nor an object of thought) and the other (the first considerations of the other in Husserl led to solipsism).

The distinction between "acts of thought" (noesis) and "intentional objects of thought" (noema) does not seem, therefore, to constitute an irreducible ground. It appears rather at a higher level of analysis. Thus, Merleau-Ponty does not postulate that "all consciousness is consciousness of something", which supposes at the outset a noetic-noematic ground. Instead, he develops the thesis according to which "all consciousness is perceptual consciousness". In doing so, he establishes a significant turn in the development of phenomenology, indicating that its conceptualisations should be re-examined in the light of the primacy of perception, in weighing up the philosophical consequences of this thesis.


Portrait of the 17th-century French philosopher René Descartes, one of the leading exponents of rationalism in the history of Western philosophy.
Portrait of the 17th-century French philosopher René Descartes, one of the leading exponents of rationalism in the history of Western philosophy.

Taking the study of perception as his point of departure, Merleau-Ponty was led to recognize that one's own body (le corps propre) is not only a thing, a potential object of study for science, but is also a permanent condition of experience, a constituent of the perceptual openness to the world. He therefore underlines the fact that there is an inherence of consciousness and of the body of which the analysis of perception should take account. The primacy of perception signifies a primacy of experience, so to speak, insofar as perception becomes an active and constitutive dimension.

Merleau-Ponty demonstrates a corporeity of consciousness as much as an intentionality of the body, and so stands in contrast with the dualist ontology of mind and body in Descartes, a philosopher to whom Merleau-Ponty continually returned, despite the important differences that separate them. In the Phenomenology of Perception Merleau-Ponty wrote: "Insofar as I have hands, feet, a body, I sustain around me intentions which are not dependent on my decisions and which affect my surroundings in a way that I do not choose" (1962, p. 440).


The question concerning corporeity connects also with Merleau-Ponty's reflections on space (l'espace) and the primacy of the dimension of depth (la profondeur) as implied in the notion of being in the world (être au monde; to echo Heidegger's In-der-Welt-sein) and of one's own body (le corps propre).[29] Reflections on spatiality in phenomenology are also central to the advanced philosophical deliberations in architectural theory.[30]


The highlighting of the fact that corporeity intrinsically has a dimension of expressivity which proves to be fundamental to the constitution of the ego is one of the conclusions of The Structure of Behavior that is constantly reiterated in Merleau-Ponty's later works. Following this theme of expressivity, he goes on to examine how an incarnate subject is in a position to undertake actions that transcend the organic level of the body, such as in intellectual operations and the products of one's cultural life.

Photograph of the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure, considered to be the father of modern linguistics.
Photograph of the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure, considered to be the father of modern linguistics.

He carefully considers language, then, as the core of culture, by examining in particular the connections between the unfolding of thought and sense—enriching his perspective not only by an analysis of the acquisition of language and the expressivity of the body, but also by taking into account pathologies of language, painting, cinema, literature, poetry, and music.

This work deals mainly with language, beginning with the reflection on artistic expression in The Structure of Behavior—which contains a passage on El Greco (p. 203ff) that prefigures the remarks that he develops in "Cézanne's Doubt" (1945) and follows the discussion in Phenomenology of Perception. The work, undertaken while serving as the Chair of Child Psychology and Pedagogy at the University of the Sorbonne, is not a departure from his philosophical and phenomenological works, but rather an important continuation in the development of his thought.

As the course outlines of his Sorbonne lectures indicate, during this period he continues a dialogue between phenomenology and the diverse work carried out in psychology, all in order to return to the study of the acquisition of language in children, as well as to broadly take advantage of the contribution of Ferdinand de Saussure to linguistics, and to work on the notion of structure through a discussion of work in psychology, linguistics and social anthropology.


Merleau-Ponty distinguishes between primary and secondary modes of expression. This distinction appears in Phenomenology of Perception (p. 207, 2nd note [Fr. ed.]) and is sometimes repeated in terms of spoken and speaking language (le langage parlé et le langage parlant) (The Prose of the World, p. 10). Spoken language (le langage parlé), or secondary expression, returns to our linguistic baggage, to the cultural heritage that we have acquired, as well as the brute mass of relationships between signs and significations. Speaking language (le langage parlant), or primary expression, such as it is, is language in the production of a sense, language at the advent of a thought, at the moment where it makes itself an advent of sense.

It is speaking language, that is to say, primary expression, that interests Merleau-Ponty and which keeps his attention through his treatment of the nature of production and the reception of expressions, a subject which also overlaps with an analysis of action, of intentionality, of perception, as well as the links between freedom and external conditions.

The notion of style occupies an important place in "Indirect Language and the Voices of Silence". In spite of certain similarities with André Malraux, Merleau-Ponty distinguishes himself from Malraux in respect to three conceptions of style, the last of which is employed in Malraux's The Voices of Silence. Merleau-Ponty remarks that in this work "style" is sometimes used by Malraux in a highly subjective sense, understood as a projection of the artist's individuality. Sometimes it is used, on the contrary, in a very metaphysical sense (in Merleau-Ponty's opinion, a mystical sense), in which style is connected with a conception of an "über-artist" expressing "the Spirit of Painting". Finally, it sometimes is reduced to simply designating a categorization of an artistic school or movement. (However, this account of Malraux's notion of style—a key element in his thinking—is open to serious question.[31])

For Merleau-Ponty, it is these uses of the notion of style that lead Malraux to postulate a cleavage between the objectivity of Italian Renaissance painting and the subjectivity of painting in his own time, a conclusion that Merleau-Ponty disputes. According to Merleau-Ponty, it is important to consider the heart of this problematic, by recognizing that style is first of all a demand owed to the primacy of perception, which also implies taking into consideration the dimensions of historicity and intersubjectivity. (However, Merleau-Ponty's reading of Malraux has been questioned in a recent major study of Malraux's theory of art which argues that Merleau-Ponty seriously misunderstood Malraux.)[32] For Merleau-Ponty, style is born of the interaction between two or more fields of being. Rather than being exclusive to individual human consciousness, consciousness is born of the pre-conscious style of the world, of Nature.


In his essay Cézanne's Doubt, in which he identifies Paul Cézanne's impressionistic theory of painting as analogous to his own concept of radical reflection, the attempt to return to, and reflect on, prereflective consciousness, Merleau-Ponty identifies science as the opposite of art. In Merleau-Ponty's account, whereas art is an attempt to capture an individual's perception, science is anti-individualistic. In the preface to his Phenomenology of Perception, Merleau-Ponty presents a phenomenological objection to positivism: that it can tell us nothing about human subjectivity. All that a scientific text can explain is the particular individual experience of that scientist, which cannot be transcended. For Merleau-Ponty, science neglects the depth and profundity of the phenomena that it endeavors to explain.

Merleau-Ponty understood science to be an ex post facto abstraction. Causal and physiological accounts of perception, for example, explain perception in terms that are arrived at only after abstracting from the phenomenon itself. Merleau-Ponty chastised science for taking itself to be the area in which a complete account of nature may be given. The subjective depth of phenomena cannot be given in science as it is. This characterizes Merleau-Ponty's attempt to ground science in phenomenological objectivity and, in essence, to institute a "return to the phenomena".


Anticognitivist cognitive science

Merleau-Ponty's critical position with respect to science was stated in his Preface to the Phenomenology: he described scientific points of view as "always both naive and at the same time dishonest". Despite, or perhaps because of, this view, his work influenced and anticipated the strands of modern psychology known as post-cognitivism. Hubert Dreyfus has been instrumental in emphasising the relevance of Merleau-Ponty's work to current post-cognitive research, and its criticism of the traditional view of cognitive science.

Dreyfus's seminal critique of cognitivism (or the computational account of the mind), What Computers Can't Do, consciously replays Merleau-Ponty's critique of intellectualist psychology to argue for the irreducibility of corporeal know-how to discrete, syntactic processes. Through the influence of Dreyfus's critique and neurophysiological alternative, Merleau-Ponty became associated with neurophysiological, connectionist accounts of cognition.

With the publication in 1991 of The Embodied Mind by Francisco Varela, Evan Thompson, and Eleanor Rosch, this association was extended, if only partially, to another strand of "anti-cognitivist" or post-representationalist cognitive science: embodied or enactive cognitive science, and later in the decade, to neurophenomenology. In addition, Merleau-Ponty's work has also influenced researchers trying to integrate neuroscience with the principles of chaos theory.[33]

It was through this relationship with Merleau-Ponty's work that cognitive science's affair with phenomenology was born, which is represented by a growing number of works, including

Feminist philosophy

Merleau-Ponty has also been picked up by Australian and Nordic philosophers inspired by the French feminist tradition, including Rosalyn Diprose and Sara Heinämaa [fi].

Heinämaa has argued for a rereading of Merleau-Ponty's influence on Simone de Beauvoir. (She has also challenged Dreyfus's reading of Merleau-Ponty as behaviorist[citation needed], and as neglecting the importance of the phenomenological reduction to Merleau-Ponty's thought.)

Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology of the body has also been taken up by Iris Young in her essay "Throwing Like a Girl," and its follow-up, "'Throwing Like a Girl': Twenty Years Later". Young analyzes the particular modalities of feminine bodily comportment as they differ from that of men. Young observes that while a man who throws a ball puts his whole body into the motion, a woman throwing a ball generally restricts her own movements as she makes them, and that, generally, in sports, women move in a more tentative, reactive way. Merleau-Ponty argues that we experience the world in terms of the "I can" – that is, oriented towards certain projects based on our capacity and habituality. Young's thesis is that in women, this intentionality is inhibited and ambivalent, rather than confident, experienced as an "I cannot".


Ecophenomenology can be described as the pursuit of the relationalities of worldly engagement, both human and those of other creatures (Brown & Toadvine 2003).

This engagement is situated in a kind of middle ground of relationality, a space that is neither purely objective, because it is reciprocally constituted by a diversity of lived experiences motivating the movements of countless organisms, nor purely subjective, because it is nonetheless a field of material relationships between bodies. It is governed exclusively neither by causality, nor by intentionality. In this space of in-betweenness, phenomenology can overcome its inaugural opposition to naturalism.[34]

David Abram explains Merleau-Ponty's concept of "flesh" (chair) as "the mysterious tissue or matrix that underlies and gives rise to both the perceiver and the perceived as interdependent aspects of its spontaneous activity", and he identifies this elemental matrix with the interdependent web of earthly life.[35] This concept unites subject and object dialectically as determinations within a more primordial reality, which Merleau-Ponty calls "the flesh" and which Abram refers to variously as "the animate earth", "the breathing biosphere" or "the more-than-human natural world". Yet this is not nature or the biosphere conceived as a complex set of objects and objective processes, but rather "the biosphere as it is experienced and lived from within by the intelligent body — by the attentive human animal who is entirely a part of the world that he or she experiences. Merleau-Ponty's ecophenemonology with its emphasis on holistic dialog within the larger-than-human world also has implications for the ontogenesis and phylogenesis of language; indeed he states that "language is the very voice of the trees, the waves and the forest".[36]

Merleau-Ponty himself refers to "that primordial being which is not yet the subject-being nor the object-being and which in every respect baffles reflection. From this primordial being to us, there is no derivation, nor any break..."[37] Among the many working notes found on his desk at the time of his death, and published with the half-complete manuscript of The Visible and the Invisible, several make it evident that Merleau-Ponty himself recognized a deep affinity between his notion of a primordial "flesh" and a radically transformed understanding of "nature". Hence, in November 1960 he writes: "Do a psychoanalysis of Nature: it is the flesh, the mother."[38] And in the last published working note, written in March 1961, he writes: "Nature as the other side of humanity (as flesh, nowise as 'matter')."[39] This resonates with the conception of space, place, dwelling, and embodiment (in the flesh and physical, vs. virtual and cybernetic), especially as they are addressed against the background of the unfolding of the essence of modern technology. Such analytics figure in a Heideggerian take on "econtology" as an extension of Heidegger's consideration of the question of being (Seinsfrage) by way of the fourfold (Das Geviert) of earth-sky-mortals-divinities (Erde und Himmel, Sterblichen und Göttlichen). In this strand of "ecophenomenology", ecology is co-entangled with ontology, whereby the worldly existential analytics are grounded in earthiness, and environmentalism is orientated by ontological thinking.[40]


The following table gives a selection of Merleau-Ponty's works in French and English translation.

Year Original French English Translation
1942 La Structure du comportement (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1942) The Structure of Behavior trans. by Alden Fisher (Boston: Beacon Press, 1963; London: Methuen, 1965)
1945 Phénoménologie de la perception (Paris: Gallimard, 1945) Phenomenology of Perception trans. by Colin Smith (New York: Humanities Press, and London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1962); trans. revised by Forrest Williams (1981; reprinted, 2002); new trans. by Donald A. Landes (New York: Routledge, 2012)
1947 Humanisme et terreur, essai sur le problème communiste (Paris: Gallimard, 1947) Humanism and Terror: An Essay on the Communist Problem trans. by John O'Neill (Boston: Beacon Press, 1969)
1948 Sens et non-sens (Paris: Nagel, 1948, 1966) Sense and Non-Sense trans. by Hubert Dreyfus and Patricia Allen Dreyfus (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1964)
1949–50 Conscience et l'acquisition du langage (Paris: Bulletin de psychologie, 236, vol. XVIII, 3–6, Nov. 1964) Consciousness and the Acquisition of Language trans. by Hugh J. Silverman (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1973)
1949–52 Merleau-Ponty à la Sorbonne: résumé de cours, 1949-1952 (Grenoble: Cynara, 1988) Child Psychology and Pedagogy: The Sorbonne Lectures 1949-1952 trans. by Talia Welsh (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2010)
1951 Les Relations avec autrui chez l'enfant (Paris: Centre de Documentation Universitaire, 1951, 1975) The Child's Relations with Others trans. by William Cobb in The Primacy of Perception ed. by James M. Edie (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1964), 96-155
1953 Éloge de la Philosophie, Lecon inaugurale faite au Collége de France, Le jeudi 15 janvier 1953 (Paris: Gallimard, 1953) In Praise of Philosophy trans. by John Wild and James M. Edie (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1963)
1955 Les aventures de la dialectique (Paris: Gallimard, 1955) Adventures of the Dialectic trans. by Joseph Bien (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1973; London: Heinemann, 1974)
1958 Les Sciences de l'homme et la phénoménologie (Paris: Centre de Documentation Universitaire, 1958, 1975) Phenomenology and the Sciences of Man trans. by John Wild in The Primacy of Perception ed. by James Edie (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1964), 43–95
1960 Éloge de la Philosophie et autres essais (Paris: Gallimard, 1960) -
1960 Signes (Paris: Gallimard, 1960) Signs trans. by Richard McCleary (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1964)
1961 L'Œil et l'esprit (Paris: Gallimard, 1961) Eye and Mind trans. by Carleton Dallery in The Primacy of Perception ed. by James Edie (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1964), 159–190; revised translation by Michael Smith in The Merleau-Ponty Aesthetics Reader (1993), 121-149
1964 Le Visible et l'invisible, suivi de notes de travail Edited by Claude Lefort (Paris: Gallimard, 1964) The Visible and the Invisible, Followed by Working Notes trans. by Alphonso Lingis (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1968)
1968 Résumés de cours, Collège de France 1952-1960 (Paris: Gallimard, 1968) Themes from the Lectures at the Collège de France, 1952-1960 trans. by John O'Neill (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1970)
1969 La Prose du monde (Paris: Gallimard, 1969) The Prose of the World trans. by John O'Neill (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1973; London: Heinemann, 1974)

See also


  1. ^ At the time, the ENS was part of the University of Paris according to the decree of 10 November 1903.
  2. ^ Rasmus Thybo Jensen, Dermot Moran (eds.), The Phenomenology of Embodied Subjectivity, Springer, 2014, p. 292; Douglas Low, Merleau-Ponty in Contemporary Context, Transaction Publishers, 2013, p. 21; Jack Reynolds, Merleau-Ponty and Derrida: Intertwining Embodiment and Alterity, Ohio University Press, 2004, p. 192.
  3. ^ Alan D. Schrift (2006), Twentieth-Century French Philosophy: Key Themes And Thinkers, Blackwell Publishing, p. 46: "While Merleau-Ponty saw structuralism and phenomenology as compatible, with the former providing an objective analysis of underlying social structures that would complement the latter's description of lived experience, the structuralists themselves were much less convinced of the need for or value of phenomenology as they engaged in their various structuralist inquiries."
  4. ^ Lawrence Hass & Dorothea Olkoskwi, Rereading Merleau-Ponty: Essays Beyond the Continental-Analytic Divide, Humanity Books, 2000: "Merleau-Ponty's thought — arguably, the first genuinely poststructuralist philosophy..."
  5. ^ Martin C. Dillon, Merleau-Ponty Vivant, SUNY Press, 1991, p. 63.
  6. ^ Evan Thompson, Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind, Harvard University Press, 2007, p. 313.
  7. ^ Mark A. Wrathall, Jeff E. Malpas (eds), Heidegger, Coping, and Cognitive Science - Volume 2, MIT Press, 2000, p. 167.
  8. ^ Maurice Merleau-Ponty, The Primacy of Perception, Northwestern University Press, 1964, p. 3.
  9. ^ Richard L. Lanigan, Speaking and Semiology: Maurice Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenological Theory of Existential Communication, Walter de Gruyter, 1991, p. 49.
  10. ^ Robert Vallier "Institution: The Significance of Merleau-Ponty's 1954 Course at the Collège de France".
  11. ^ Merleau-Ponty, M., 2002, Phenomenology of Perception, Colin Smith (tr.), New York: Routledge and Kegan Paul, pp. 66–68.
  12. ^ Dermot Moran, "Husserl's transcendental philosophy and the critique of naturalism" (2008), p. 20.
  13. ^ Lester Embree, "Merleau-Ponty's Examination of Gestalt Psychology" Archived 2012-11-21 at the Wayback Machine, Research in Phenomenology, Vol. 10 (1980): pp. 89–121.
  14. ^ Maurice Merleau-Ponty - Biography Archived 2012-11-28 at the Wayback Machine at
  15. ^ Lacan, Jacques. "The Split between the Eye and the Gaze" (1964).
  16. ^ Toadvine, Ted (2019), "Maurice Merleau-Ponty", in Zalta, Edward N. (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2019 ed.), Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University, retrieved 2022-07-16.
  17. ^ Slavoj Zizek, The Sublime Object of Ideology
  18. ^ Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Humanism and Terror: An Essay on the Communist Problem.
  19. ^ Thomas Baldwin in Introduction to Merleau-Ponty's The World of Perception (New York: Routledge, 2008): 2.
  20. ^ Ted Toadvine, Lester Embree (eds.), Merleau-Ponty's Reading of Husserl, Springer Science & Business Media, 2013, p. 229.
  21. ^ Donald A. Landes, The Merleau-Ponty Dictionary, A&C Black, 2013, p. 2.
  22. ^ Matthews, Eric (2002). The Philosophy of Merleau-Ponty. Chesham: Accumen. p. 3.
  23. ^ Emmanuel Alloa, "Merleau-Ponty, tout un roman", Le Monde, 23.10.2014.
  24. ^ Whiteside, Kerry H. (14 July 2014). Merleau-Ponty and the Foundation of Existential Politics. Princeton University Press. p. 34. ISBN 978-1-4008-5973-3. OCLC 1091433580. During the liberation of Paris he joined an armed street patrol.
  25. ^ Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Child Psychology and Pedagogy: The Sorbonne Lectures 1949-1952. Translated by Talia Welsh. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2010.
  26. ^ Martin Jay, (1986), Marxism and Totality: The Adventures of a Concept from Lukács to Habermas, pages 361–385.
  27. ^ Martin Jay, (1986), Marxism and Totality: The Adventures of a Concept from Lukács to Habermas, page 361.
  28. ^ Emma Kathryn Kuby, Between Humanism And Terror: The Problem Of Political Violence In Postwar France, 1944-1962, Ph.D. thesis, Cornell University, 2011, pp. 243–244: "Merleau-Ponty provisionally defended Soviet "terror" in the name of humanism, writing that so long as the USSR's violence was authentically revolutionary in its aims, it was justified by the fact that it was helping to produce a socialist world in which all violence would be eliminated. ... Yet about three years after it was published, Merleau-Ponty, too, decided that he no longer believed political violence could be justified by the purported humanist aims of the revolution."
  29. ^ For recent investigations of this question refer to the following: Nader El-Bizri, "A Phenomenological Account of the 'Ontological Problem of Space'," Existentia Meletai-Sophias, Vol. XII, Issue 3–4 (2002), pp. 345–364; see also the related analysis of space qua depth in: Nader El-Bizri, "La perception de la profondeur: Alhazen, Berkeley et Merleau-Ponty," Oriens-Occidens: sciences, mathématiques et philosophie de l'antiquité à l'âge classique (Cahiers du Centre d'Histoire des Sciences et des Philosophies Arabes et Médiévales, CNRS), Vol. 5 (2004), pp. 171–184. Check also the connections of this question with Heidegger's accounts of the phenomenon of "dwelling" in: Nader El-Bizri, 'Being at Home Among Things: Heidegger's Reflections on Dwelling', Environment, Space, Place 3 (2011), pp. 47–71.
  30. ^ For discussions in this area of research in architectural phenomenology, refer to the following recent studies: Nader El-Bizri, 'On Dwelling: Heideggerian Allusions to Architectural Phenomenology', Studia UBB. Philosophia, Vol. 60, No. 1 (2015): 5-3; Nader El-Bizri, 'Phenomenology of Place and Space in our Epoch: Thinking along Heideggerian Pathways', in The Phenomenology of Real and Virtual Places, ed. E. Champion (London : Routledge, 2018), pp. 123-143.
  31. ^ See: Derek Allan, Art and the Human Adventure, André Malraux's Theory of Art, Rodopi, 2009.
  32. ^ Derek Allan, Art and the Human Adventure: André Malraux's Theory of Art, Rodopi, 2009.
  33. ^ Skada, Christine; Walter Freeman (March 1990). "Chaos and the New Science of the Brain". Concepts in Neuroscience. 1: 275–285.
  34. ^ Charles Brown and Ted Toadvine, (Eds) (2003). Eco-Phenomenology: Back to the Earth Itself. Albany: SUNY Press.
  35. ^ Abram, D. (1996). The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-than Human World. Pantheon Books, New York. pp. 66. ISBN 9780679438199.
  36. ^ Abram, D. (1996). The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-than Human World. Pantheon Books, New York. pp. 65. ISBN 9780679438199.
  37. ^ The Concept of Nature, I, Themes from the Lectures at the Collège de France 1952-1960. Northwestern University Press. 1970. pp. 65–66.
  38. ^ The Visible and the Invisible. Northwestern University Press. 1968. p. 267.
  39. ^ The Visible and the Invisible. Northwestern University Press. 1968. p. 274.
  40. ^ See the research of Nader El-Bizri in this regard in his philosophical investigation of the notion of χώρα (Khôra) as it figured in the Timaeus dialogue of Plato. See for example: Nader El-Bizri, "Qui-êtes vous Khôra?: Receiving Plato's Timaeus," Existentia Meletai-Sophias, Vol. XI, Issue 3-4 (2001), pp. 473–490; Nader El-Bizri, "ON KAI KHORA: Situating Heidegger between the Sophist and the Timaeus," Studia Phaenomenologica, Vol. IV, Issue 1-2 (2004), pp. 73–98 [1]; Nader El-Bizri, "Ontopoiēsis and the Interpretation of Plato's Khôra," Analecta Husserliana: The Yearbook of Phenomenological Research, Vol. LXXXIII (2004), pp. 25–45. Refer also to the more specific analysis of related Heideggerian leitmotifs in: Nader El-Bizri, "Being at Home Among Things: Heidegger's Reflections on Dwelling", Environment, Space, Place Vol. 3 (2011), pp. 47–71; Nader El-Bizri, "On Dwelling: Heideggerian Allusions to Architectural Phenomenology", Studia UBB. Philosophia, Vol. 60, No. 1 (2015): 5-30; Nader El-Bizri, "Phenomenology of Place and Space in our Epoch: Thinking along Heideggerian Pathways", in The Phenomenology of Real and Virtual Places, ed. E. Champion (London : Routledge, 2018), pp. 123–143.