- Existence (Philosophy of) 3
- Philosophy of existence 3 Merleau-Ponty Bernard Cullen à Henri Godin LIFE AND WORKS Maurice Merleau-Ponty was born on 14 March 1908 into a petty bourgeois Catholic family in Rochefort-sur-Mer on the west coast of France. When he died suddenly, at his desk, on 3 May 1961, he was widely regarded as France’s most brilliant and most profound philosopher. After his father, an artillery officer, died in 1913, the young Maurice grew up in Paris, in the company of his mother, a brother and a sister. He told Jean-Paul Sartre, in 1947, that he had never recovered from an incomparably happy childhood ([4.99], 230). Schooled, as were all philosophy students of his generation, in a distinctively French philosophical tradition dominated by Cartesianism, he entered the most elite establishment for the study of philosophy in France, the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, in 1926. It was there he first made the acquaintance of Sartre, in circumstances he was to recount twenty years later in the course of an affectionate defence of that ‘scandalous author’ against his detractors on the right and on the left: ‘the Ecole Normale unleashed its fury against one of my schoolmates and myself for having hissed the traditional songs, too vulgar to suit us. He slipped between us and our persecutors and contrived a way for us to get out of our heroic and ridiculous situation without concessions or damages’ ([4.22], 41). Simone de Beauvoir describes in her autobiographical novel Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter, under the fictitious name Pradelle, her friend and fellow student Merleau-Ponty, a rather serious but optimistic young searcher after truth who still attended mass. At the Ecole Normale, Merleau-Ponty’s main teacher was the idealist Léon Brunschvicg. In the academic year 1928–9, he prepared a dissertation on Plotinus, under the supervision of Emile Bréhier. Between 1928 and 1930, he attended a series of lectures given at the Sorbonne by Georges Gurvitch on contemporary German phenomenology, especially the writings of Husserl, Scheler and Heidegger; and in February 1929, he attended the lectures given at the Sorbonne by Husserl himself, which were revised and published two years later as the Cartesian Meditations. One phrase from those lectures recurs as a leitmotiv throughout Merleau-Ponty’s work: ‘It is “pure and, in a way, still mute experience which it is a question of bringing to the pure expression of its own significance”’ ([4.18], 219; cf. [4.24], 129 and [4.21], 188). The growing interest in German philosophy within Parisian philosophical circles was not confined to phenomenology. The year 1929 also saw the publication of Jean Wahl’s pioneering book Le Malheur de la conscience dans la philosophie de Hegel (The Unhappy Consciousness in the Philosophy of Hegel). After graduating in second place in the 1930 examinations for the agrégation en philosophie (the qualification required to prepare candidates for the baccalauréat) and carrying out a year’s compulsory military service, Merleau-Ponty taught philosophy in lycées in Beauvais and Chartres. He taught himself German. (For his own account of his researches at this time into the nature of perception, together with a list of the works he read in 1933–4, see [4.60], 188–99.) In 1935, he was appointed as a tutor at the Ecole Normale, where he remained until mobilization in 1939. His first two published works, in the Catholic journal La Vie intellectuelle, were sympathetic critical notices of the French translation of Max Scheler’s book on ‘ressentiment’ (1935) and Etre et avoir by Gabriel Marcel (1936). (For a summary of these articles, see [4.60], 13–24.) In the mid-1930s, he began to deepen his study of Marx, especially the writings of the young Marx. From 1935, he attended the influential lectures by Alexandre Kojève at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes on Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit—a reading of Hegel deeply influenced by the writings of the young Marx, subsequently published under the title Introduction à la lecture de Hegel. But around this time (and until the end of 1937), he was still closely associated with the left-leaning Catholic journals Esprit and Sept. The closure of Sept, on instructions from the Vatican, was probably the final blow to his religious faith. In the same way, the publication in 1939 of the reports of the Moscow trials of Bukharin and twenty others the previous year must have influenced his decision not to commit himself to membership of the French Communist Party. His minor doctoral thesis, The Structure of Behavior, was completed in 1938 (though not published in book form until 1942). In early 1939, Merleau-Ponty became acquainted with a special issue of the Revue internationale de philosophie devoted to Husserl (who had died in April 1938). The references therein, especially by Eugen Fink, to Husserl’s last book, The Crisis of the European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology, whetted his appetite to learn more about this work, only the first part of which had been published. At the beginning of April, he was the very first visitor to the Husserl Archive at Louvain in Belgium (whence the Husserl papers had been hurriedly moved), where he read the entirety of The Crisis, Ideas II, and a number of other unpublished pieces. (See [4.110].) These brief encounters undoubtedly had a decisive influence on the way in which Merleau-Ponty appropriated the later thought of Husserl and incorporated it into the heart of his own philosophy. The outbreak of war forced Merleau-Ponty to interrupt his research. After a year as a second lieutenant, he was appointed to a post in the Lycée Carnot, where he remained until 1944, when he took over from Sartre as senior philosophy teacher at the Lycée Condorcet. In the meantime, in 1941, he had encountered Sartre again, when he joined Socialism and Liberty, one of the many groups, as Sartre put it, ‘which claimed to be resisting the conquering enemy’ ([4.99], 231). As Sartre tells it in his remarkably moving extended obituary, the two men immediately recognized their common interests: ‘The key words were spoken: phenomenology, existentialism. We discovered our real concern. Too individualist to ever pool our research, we became reciprocal while remaining separate…. Husserl became our bond and our division, at one and the same time’ ([4.99], 231). Throughout this period, Merleau-Ponty continued to work on his principal doctoral thesis and philosophical masterpiece, the Phenomenology of Perception, which was accepted and published in 1945. Appointed lecturer in philosophy at the University of Lyons, he was made professor in 1948. He combined these duties with editing the leftwing, anti-colonialist journal Les Temps modernes, which with Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir he had founded shortly after the Liberation. (See [4.99], 247–53.) He was the journal’s (anonymous) political editor and editor-in-chief, writing most of the editorials (unsigned) and many lengthy articles (signed), several of them later gathered in his book Humanism and Terror: an Essay on the Communist Problem, published in 1947. Others were gathered in the collection Sense and Non-Sense, published in 1948. According to Sartre’s reminiscences, ‘the review belonged to him. He had defined its political orientation, and I had followed him’ ([4.99], 283). From 1949 to 1952, he occupied the chair of child psychology and pedagogy at the Sorbonne; and in 1952, at the unusually early age of 44, he was appointed to the most prestigious position for an academic philosopher in France, the chair of philosophy at the Collège de France. He gave his inaugural lecture, entitled In Praise of Philosophy, at the Collège on 15 January 1953. Relations with Sartre had been cooling for some time: they disagreed deeply over the role of the Communist Party and the actions of the Soviet Union before and during the Korean War, and Merleau-Ponty resigned as editor-in-chief of Les Temps modernes in 1952. Almost half of the book in which, in 1955, Merleau-Ponty renounced his adherence to Marxism, Adventures of the Dialectic, was devoted to a merciless critique of ‘Sartre and ultrabolshevism’. A further collection of essays was published under the title Signs in 1960. His last published work, Eye and Mind, had just appeared in the journal Art de France when Merleau-Ponty died suddenly on 3 May 1961, from a stroke, aged 53. The divisions between him and Sartre had been gradually healing. Merleau-Ponty had taken the opportunity of his Introduction to Signs to record in print his affectionate admiration for Sartre. He counters Sartre’s harsh self-criticism (in his Preface to Aden Arabie, by their mutual friend Paul Nizan) with the observation that ‘his accursed lucidity, in lighting up the labyrinths of rebellion and revolution, has recorded in spite of himself all we need to absolve him’ ([4.23], 24). Sartre, for his part, records his surprise and delight when Merleau-Ponty unexpectedly turned up, shortly before his death, at a lecture Sartre gave at the Ecole Normale. Among his many posthumous publications, the two most important are The Prose of the World (notes dating from 1950–2) and the unfinished manuscript of the book on which he was working at the time of his death, The Visible and the Invisible. THE PRIMACY OF PERCEPTION In a paper he wrote in 1952 to support his candidacy for the chair of philosophy at the Collège de France, Merleau-Ponty offers a brief summary of the themes of his work thus far, before proceeding to outline his plans for future research. He begins by referring to ‘the perceived world which is simply there before us, beneath the level of the verified true and the false’. His first two works, he goes on, ‘sought to restore the world of perception’ ([4.21], 3). Beginning with the insight that the mind that perceives is an incarnated mind, his writings have tried to establish and illustrate the inadequacy of both behaviourism and idealism and to overcome this dualism by recourse to the fundamental reality of the perceiving body-subject. He had already announced this programme of work in the opening sentence of his Introduction to The Structure of Behavior: ‘Our goal is to understand the relations between consciousness and nature.’ Rejecting philosophical approaches that emphasize either the ‘pure exteriority’ of the objects of perception or the ‘pure interiority’ of the perceiving subject, Merleau-Ponty insists that the world as perceived is not a sum of objects of our perception; and our relation to the world is not that of a disembodied thinker to an object of thought. What must not be forgotten is ‘the insertion of the mind in corporeality, the ambiguous relation which we entertain with our body and, correlatively, with perceived things’ ([4.21], 4). This means that the classical Aristotelian/Kantian distinction between form and matter is misleading. We cannot conceptualize the world to be perceived as disordered ‘matter’ on which the perceiving mind (or consciousness), through the use of reason, imposes ‘form’ or in which it deciphers ‘meaning’. ‘Matter is “pregnant” with its form, which is to say that in the final analysis every perception takes place within a certain horizon and ultimately in the “world”’([4.21], 12). Perception, for Merleau-Ponty, is not a conscious activity of the mind: perception is the mode of existence of the body-subject at a preconscious level, the dialogue between the body-subject and its world at a level that is presupposed by consciousness. At the same time, ‘the perceived world is the always presupposed foundation of all rationality, all value and all existence’ ([4.21], 13). In The Structure of Behavior, his first published book, Merleau-Ponty considers this theme of the relations between perceiving persons and the world in which they live and perceive through an examination of certain physiological and psychological theories, principally behaviourism and Gestalt psychology. He exposes the inadequacy of behaviourism by showing that we cannot explain the facts of perceptual life by conceptualizing the relation between the perceiving organism and its milieu in terms of an automatic machine whose pre-established mechanisms are brought to life by reaction to external stimuli. ‘The true stimulus is not the one defined by physics and chemistry; the reaction is not this or that particular series of movements; and the connection between the two is not the simple coincidence of two successive events’ ([4.20], 99). Behaviourism, in other words, is false as a model of perceptual behaviour. So is idealism. It is not a question of superimposing a pure, thinking consciousness on a brute, thinglike body. Within the realms of physics or mechanics, a body can legitimately be seen as a thing among things. But the scientific point of view is itself an abstraction. ‘In the conditions of life…the organism is less sensitive to certain isolated physical and chemical agents than to the constellation which they form and to the whole situation which they define’ ([4.21], 4). Furthermore, the behaving organism displays a kind of ‘prospective activity’, as if it were oriented towards the meaning of certain elemen-tary situations, ‘as if it entertained familiar relations with them, as if there were “an a, priori of the organism”, privileged conducts and laws of internal equilibrium which predisposed the organism to certain relations with its milieu’ ([4.21], 4). Higherorder behaviours bring out new forms or shapes of the milieu, in correlation with the meaning-conferring activity of the behaving subject. Perceptual behaviour emerges from these relations to a situation and to an environment which are not the working of a pure, knowing subject. In the Phenomenology of Perception, his major published work, Merleau-Ponty takes for granted the emergence of perceptual behaviour and installs himself in it ‘in order to pursue the analysis of this exceptional relation between the subject and its body and its world’. The book seeks to illustrate how the body is not ‘an object in the world, under the purview of a separated spirit…. It is our point of view on the world, the place where the spirit takes on a certain physical and historical situation’ ([4.21], 4–5). Although space does not permit any more than a cursory glance at this long and densely textured treatise, it is worth lingering on its Preface, one of the classic texts in the history of phenomenology. This is Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenological manifesto, one that is clearly indebted to the unpublished works of Husserl which he had first inspected in 1939 in Louvain. This is the Husserl who emphasized the Lebenswelt, the life-world in which all thinking, perceiving and acting takes place. According to Merleau-Ponty, phenomenology is a philosophy which puts essences back into existence, and does not expect to arrive at an understanding of man and the world from any starting point other than that of their ‘facticity’…. It is also a philosophy for which the world is always ‘already there’ before reflection begins—as an unalienable presence; and all its efforts are concentrated upon re-achieving a direct and primitive contact with the world, and endowing that contact with a philosophical status. ([4.18], vii) The first feature of this phenomenology is that it is a rejection of science: ‘I am not the outcome or the meeting-point of numerous causal agencies which determine my bodily or psychological make-up.’ I cannot conceive of myself as ‘a mere object of biological, psychological or sociological investigation…. The whole universe of science is built upon the world as directly experienced, and if we want to subject science itself to rigorous scrutiny and arrive at a precise assessment of its meaning and scope, we must begin by reawakening the basic experience of the world of which science is the secondorder expression’ ([4.18], viii). If the world as understood by phenomenology is ‘always already there’, it is not the ‘objective’ world of zoology, social anatomy or inductive psychology, since ‘I am the absolute source, my existence does not stem from my antecedents, from my physical and social environment; instead it moves out towards them and sustains them, for I alone bring into being for myself…the tradition which I elect to carry on’ ([4.18], ix). To return ‘to the things themselves’ (an earlier rallying cry of Husserlian phenomenology) is to return to ‘the world that precedes knowledge’, the world of which science always speaks. In relation to this primordial world, science is an abstract and derivative sign-language, as is geography in relation to the countryside in which we already recognize a forest, a meadow or a river. The purpose of phenomenology is to analyse these perceptual foundations which precede knowledge and upon which our knowledge is built ([4.18], ix). Also in the Preface to the Phenomenology of Perception, Merleau-Ponty offers a revised version of Husserl’s ‘phenomenological reduction’, a way of looking at the world which enables us to see just how embedded in it we actually are. ‘It is because we are through and through compounded of relationships with the world that for us the only way to become aware of the fact is to suspend the resultant activity, to refuse it our complicity.’ It is because the certainties of common sense and the ‘natural attitude’ to things are the presupposed basis of any thought that they are taken for granted and go unnoticed. Only by applying the phenomenological reduction, by suspending for the time being our recognition of them, can we bring them into view. Reflection ‘steps back [from the world] to watch the forms of transcendence fly up like sparks from a fire; it slackens the intentional threads which attach us to the world and thus brings them to our notice; it alone is consciousness of the world because it reveals that world as strange and paradoxical’. Not only is the philosopher a perpetual beginner, but ‘philosophy consists wholly in the description of its own beginning’. It is in this sense that phenomenology ‘belongs to existential philosophy’, the philosophy that interrogates Heidegger’s ‘beingin- the-world’ ([4.18], xiii). In the course of this personal restatement of phenomenological principles, Merleau- Ponty considers the notion of intentionality, at the same time sketching out his own understanding of history. Unlike the Kantian relation to a possible object, phenomenological intentionality assumes that the unified world that is already there is the world that is ‘lived’ by me. What Husserl calls ‘operative intentionality’ is the way in which consciousness knows itself to be a project of the world, ‘meant for a world which it neither embraces nor possesses, but towards which it is perpetually directed’. Operative intentionality ‘produces the natural and antepredicative unity of the world and of our life, being apparent in our desires, our evaluations, and in the landscape we see, more clearly than in objective knowledge, and furnishing the text which our knowledge tries to translate into precise language’ ([4.18], xviii). These are the dimensions of history, the events that are never without meaning. In seeking to understand a doctrine, it must be examined from the point of view of ideology, politics, religion, economics and psychology—all at the same time! ‘All these views are true provided that they are not isolated, that we delve deeply into history and reach the unique core of existential meaning which emerges in each perspective. It is true, as Marx says, that history does not walk on its head, but it is also true that it does not think with its feet.’ Neither head nor feet are paramount, of course: all aspects of a life are captured in ‘the body’. In an obvious reference to Sartre’s famous claim that ‘we are condemned to freedom’, Merleau-Ponty concludes this discussion of intentionality and history with the thought that ‘because we are in the world, we are condemned to meaning, and we cannot do or say anything without its acquiring a name in history’ ([4.18], xix). The above discussion leads naturally into a discussion of the individual’s relations with other people. To the extent that phenomenology unites extreme subjectivism and extreme objectivism in its notion of rationality, it discloses the way in which ‘perspectives blend, perceptions confirm each other, a meaning emerges’. Phenomenological rationality exists neither in an ideal world proper to absolute spirit nor in the real world of scientific investigation and knowledge. The phenomenological world is the sense or meaning (sens) revealed where the paths of the individual’s various experiences intersect; and also ‘where my own and other people’s intersect and engage each other like gears’. With this image of the meshing of gears (l’engrenage), Merleau-Ponty seeks to capture both subjectivity and intersubjectivity, ‘which find their unity when I either take up my past experiences in those of the present, or other people’s in my own’ ([4.18], xx). THE PHENOMENOLOGY OF SPEECH, LANGUAGE AND ART The Phenomenology of Perception largely consists of a series of studies on the role of the body and perception in various aspects of social and cultural experience: speech and language, expression, sexuality, art and literature, time, freedom and history. Space limitations preclude here more than a few cursory glances in this direction. When I perceive in my world cultural artefacts as varied as roads and churches, or implements such as a bell, a spoon or a pipe, ‘I feel the close presence of others beneath a veil of anonymity’. The challenge is: how can the word ‘I’ be put into the plural? When it comes to ‘other selves’, contact is established through my perception of other bodies. ‘It is precisely my body which perceives the body of another, and discovers in that other body a miraculous prolongation of my own intentions, a familiar way of dealing with the world. Henceforth, as the parts of my body together comprise a system, so my body and the other’s are one whole, two sides of one and the same phenomenon’ ([4.18], 354). But bodies only establish initial (mostly visual) contacts. The most important cultural phenomenon in the perception of other people as people (as distinct from simply living beings) is language (le langage). In the experience of dialogue, a common ground is constituted between the other person and myself. ‘My thought and the thought of the other are interwoven into a single fabric.’ Neither my interlocuter nor I invented the language that enables us to communicate: ‘our words are inserted into a shared operation of which neither of us is the creator…. Our perspectives merge into each other, and we coexist through a common world’ ([4.18], 354). Coexistence does not remove the fact of solitude, but solitude and communication are ‘two “moments” of one phenomenon, since in fact other people do exist for me’ ([4.18], 359). Indeed, I would not even be in a position to speak of solitude, much less declare others inaccessible to me, if I did not have the experience of other people. Language, then, is discovered by me in my phenomenal field and used by me for expression and communication with others in that shared antepredicative world. One of the uses to which language is put, of course, is literature; and literature, for Merleau- Ponty, is firmly embedded in the lived world of politics and economics. In a long note on the existential interpretation of historical materialism, tagged on to the end of the chapter of the Phenomenology of Perception devoted to ‘the body in its sexual being’ ([4.18], 171–3), Merleau-Ponty writes that ‘the existential conception of history’ rejects the idea that our actions are determined by socio-economic factors in our situation. It does not, however, deny that our actions are motivated by such factors. ‘If existence is the permanent act by which man takes up, for his own purposes, and makes his own a certain de facto situation, none of his thoughts will be able to be quite detached from the historical context in which he lives, and particularly from his economic situation.’ This applies to the philosopher, to the revolutionary and to the artist. It would be ridiculous, writes Merleau-Ponty, to see Paul Valéry’s poetry as simply the product of his economic circumstances. But it would not be absurd ‘to seek, in the social and economic drama, in the world of our Mitsein, the motive of this coming to awareness’. The act of the artist (or the philosopher) is a free act, but it is not motiveless. The freedom of the artist is not exercised in a vacuum, completely divorced from the world of shared experience; ‘it consists in appropriating a de facto situation by endowing it with a figurative meaning beyond its real one’. Every aspect of our life ‘breathes a sexual atmosphere’ (as Freud showed), without our ever being able to identify a single content of consciousness that is either ‘purely sexual’ or without any sexual content whatsoever. In the same way, all our lives are suffused with ‘the social and economic drama’ which provides each one of us (the artists as well as everyone else) with an inescapable element of the stuff of our existence, which we set about deciphering and reappropriating in our own distinctive way. Thus does Valéry transmute into pure poetry a disquiet and solitude of which others would have made nothing. Thought is the life of human relationships as it understands and interprets itself. In this voluntary act of carrying forward, this passing from objective to subjective, it is impossible to say just where historical forces end and ours begin, and strictly speaking the question is meaningless, since there is history only for a subject who lives through it, and there is a subject only in so far as he is historically situated. ([4.18], 172–3) We have barely touched on Merleau-Ponty’s impressive, but scattered, phenomenology of expression. Most of his more important studies on language, literature, culture and art—which he defined as ‘the progressive awareness of our multiple relations with other people and the world’ ([4.22], 152)—are gathered in the collections Sense and Non-Sense and (especially) Signs, which he prefaced with an Introduction (1960) that helps to situate these studies within his evolving philosophical project. Eye and Mind ([4.21], 159–90) is his important late essay on painting. The unfinished manuscript abandoned in 1952 and published posthumously as The Prose of the World was conceived, in inspiration at least, as a response to Sartre’s What is Literature? It could be said that the phenomenon of language became, in one way or another, the main focus for all of Merleau-Ponty’s subsequent work. In this respect, he is at one with the other great philosophers of the twentieth century, in both the continental and analytic traditions—one thinks of figures such as Heidegger and Wittgenstein, Gadamer, Ricoeur, Austin and Searle. In Merleau- Ponty’s case, language is the entry point for a more profound understanding of human interrelations—which, he writes in 1952, ‘will be the major topic of my later studies’ ([4.21], 9). The meaning of language consists in ‘the common intention’ of its constituent elements; ‘and the spoken phrase is understood only if the hearer, following the “verbal chain”, goes beyond each of its links in the direction that they all designate together’ ([4.21], 8). In that direction (as we shall see below) lies Being. (For an excellent summary of Merleau-Ponty’s views on these topics, see [4.74], 78–86. For a more extended discussion of his theory of existential expression and communication, see [4.82].) EXISTENTIAL FREEDOM, HISTORY AND POLITICS In the immediate aftermath of the Liberation, taking stock of what had been learned in the experience of the war and the occupation, Merleau-Ponty declared that in the course of the war ‘we have learned history, and we claim that it must not be forgotten’ ([4.22], 150). Not surprisingly, his conception of history, and the role of the individual in history, was forged in the crucible of his wartime experience. The final chapter of the Phenomenology of Perception (written at this time) is devoted to a dialectical encounter with Sartre’s notorious theory of ‘absolute freedom’ (with its obvious implications for our understanding of history and historical praxis), as presented to the world only a year or two earlier in Being and Nothingness. The first three pages of this final chapter outline, roughly, the Sartrean position. However, Merleau-Ponty points out that the problem with Sartre’s radical opposition between the determinism of the brute in-itself (‘scientism’s conception of causality’) and the absolute freedom of the conscious for-itself (‘divorced from the outside’) is that it would appear to rule out the possibility of freedom altogether. If it is true that our freedom is the same in everything we do, if the slave who continues to live in fear is as free as the one who breaks his or her chains (or anyone else, indeed), then there can be no free action, since freedom obviously, as in this example, has nothing to do with actions. Furthermore, ‘free action, in order to be discernible, has to stand out against a background of life from which it is entirely, or almost entirely, absent’ ([4.18], 437). If freedom is everywhere (since it is simply the mark of human being, or being for-itself), then, says Merleau-Ponty, it is nowhere. The very idea of action, the very idea of choice, disappears, ‘for to choose is to choose something in which freedom sees, at least for a moment, a symbol of itself. Freedom implies a struggle, freedom must be striven for; freedom must make a decision. If freedom is already achieved without free actions, as it would be in a Sartrean world, then free actions become redundant (ibid.). What is required instead is a theory of freedom that ‘allows it something without giving it everything’ ([4.22], 77). Merleau-Ponty works out what this ‘something’ is by resuming his analysis of Sinngebung: that is, interpretation, or, literally, the bestowal of significance on situations. If we accept that there is ‘no freedom without a field’, and if we reject as nonphenomenological the Kantian idea (which Sartre often seems to adopt) of a consciousness which ‘finds in things only what it has put into them’, then our understanding of Sinngebung must involve the intermeshing of both the conditions of possibility of perception (the body-subject) and the conditions of reality of perception (the world of situations in which I find myself). To say that a particular rock is unclimbable makes sense only if I entertain the project of climbing it; the attribute ‘unclimbable’ (like all attributes) can be conferred upon the rock only by ‘a human presence’. ‘It is therefore freedom which brings into being the obstacle to freedom, so that the latter can be set over against it as its bounds’ ([4.18], 439). But given that I have the project to get from A to B, not every rock will appear to me as unclimbable. My freedom does not contrive it that this way there is an obstacle to my progress and that way there is a way through, but it does arrange it for there to be obstacles and ways through in general. Without my ‘human presence’ there would be neither obstacles nor ways through. But it is crucially important to distinguish: my freedom ‘does not draw the particular outline of the world, but merely lays down its general structures’ (ibid.). The general structures of the world, which dictate that some mountains are climbable while others are not, are to be found not out there, in an in-itself, but within me. Irrespective of my ‘express intentions’ (for example, my plan to climb those mountains next week), my ‘general intentions’ evaluate the potentialities of my environment: for example, the fact that they exceed my body’s power to take them in its stride. This brings us back to Merleau-Ponty’s fundamental insight involving the body-subject’s ‘insertion in the world’: underlying myself as a thinking and deciding subject there is ‘as it were a natural self which does not budge from its terrestrial situation’ ([4.18], 440). All the ‘free’ choices in the world will not obviate this fundamental relationship: ‘in so far as I have hands, feet, a body, I sustain around me intentions which are not dependent upon my decisions and which affect my surroundings in a way which I do not choose’ (ibid.). To use Merleau-Ponty’s terminology (borrowed from the Gestalt psychologists), these ‘general intentions’ are the ever-present ‘ground’ against which my decisions are ‘figures’. This ground is ‘general’ in the sense that it constitutes a system in which all possible objects are simultaneously included; and also in the sense that it is not simply mine but something I share with ‘all psycho-physical subjects organized as I am’. For we are all indeed ‘intermingled with things’. While it is true that none of those things constitutes an obstacle unless we ordain it so, the self which qualifies them as such is not some acosmic subject…. There is an autochthonous significance of the world which is constituted in the dealings which our incarnate existence has with it, and which provides the ground of every deliberate Sinngebung. ([4.18], 441) In the same way as the mountain that constitutes an obstacle is ‘my obstacle’, the pain that makes me ‘say what I ought to have kept to myself is ‘my pain’, and the fatigue that makes me break my journey is ‘my fatigue’. According to Sartre, I am always free to transform my being in the world, including my chosen tolerance of pain or fatigue. But Merleau-Ponty draws attention to the fact that this transforming for-itself does not operate as if I had no yesterdays. Rejecting Sartre’s famous contention that ‘existence precedes essence’, he insists that a theory of freedom must recognize ‘a sort of sedimentation of our life: an attitude towards the world, when it has received frequent confirmation, acquires a favoured status for us’ (ibid.). While it’s all very well to claim that the self is always free to change the habits of a lifetime, Merleau-Ponty insists that ‘having built our life upon an inferiority complex which has been operative for twenty years, it is not probable that we shall change’ ([4.18], 442). To the objection of the rationalist (such as Sartre) that my freedom to change is either total or non-existent, that just as there are no degrees of possibility there are no degrees of freedom, Merleau-Ponty retorts that ‘generality and probability are not fictions, but phenomena; we must therefore find a phenomenological basis for statistical thought’ (ibid.). Statistical thought simply addresses the fact that I have a past which, ‘though not a fate’ (since my past does not totally determine my future), ‘has at least a specific weight and is not a set of events over there, at a distance from me, but the atmosphere of my present’. Drawing once again on the image of l’engrenage, Merleau- Ponty concludes that ‘our freedom does not destroy our situation, but gears itself to it’ (ibid.). (Cf. Merleau-Ponty’s application of the Freudian concepts of repression and fixation to ‘personal time’ and ‘the ambiguity of being in the world’, [4.18], 83–5. For a discussion, see [4.49].) The past, therefore, does not determine my future, but neither is my history irrelevant. History—my own personal history and the history of the wider community within which I live—provides the context within which I make my choices. And Merleau-Ponty illustrates this conception of conditioned freedom by reference to the question of the development of class consciousness and the decision to be a revolutionary. He again seeks to discover a third way between the two traditional abstractions. Objective (Marxist) thought derives class consciousness from the objective material conditions; and idealist reflection reduces the condition of being a proletarian to the individual’s awareness of it. But ‘in each case we are in the realm of abstraction, because we remain torn between the in itself and the for itself. What is necessary is a return to the phenomena, ‘to the things themselves’: instead of abstractions, we must apply ‘a genuinely existential method’. A person’s objective position in the production process will never in itself issue in class consciousness; rather, it is the decision of individuals to become revolutionaries that prompts them to see themselves as proletarians. ‘What makes me a proletarian is not the economic system or society considered as systems of impersonal forces, but these institutions as I carry them within me and experience them; nor is it an intellectual operation devoid of motive, but my way of being in the world within this institutional framework’ ([4.18], 443). The transition from individual self-description to class solidarity with others takes place through a growing awareness that ‘all share a common lot’ ([4.18], 444). ‘Social space begins to acquire a magnetic field, and a region of the exploited is seen to appear’ ([4.18], 445). Neither the status quo nor the free revolutionary action that might overturn it is an abstraction; ‘they are lived through in ambiguity’ (ibid.). To be a member of a social class is not only to be intellectually aware of the fact; it is to identify oneself with a group ‘through an implicit or existentialist project which merges into our way of patterning the world and coexisting with other people’ ([4.18], 447). This is not to say that one cannot at any moment amend one’s existential project. What one cannot do is pretend to be a nothingness (néant) and choose oneself out of nothing. ‘My actual freedom is not on the hither side of my being, but before me, in things.’ It is misleading to say (as Sartre does) that I continually choose myself; and that to choose not to choose is still to choose. ‘Not to refuse is not the same thing as to choose’ ([4.18], 452). In the lived world, there is never determinism and never absolute choice; I am never either a ‘being’ or a ‘nothingness’. We are involved in the world and with others ‘in an inextricable tangle’ ([4.18], 454). This significant life, this certain significance of nature and history that makes me what I am, far from cutting me off from the rest of the world, makes it possible for me to remain in communication with the rest of the world. Philosophy, which teaches us to see things in the world and in history in all their clarity and in all their ambiguity, best performs its role by ceasing to be (intellectualizing) philosophy. In the words of Saint-Exupéry with which Merleau-Ponty closes the Phenomenology of Perception: ‘Man is but a network of relationships, and these alone matter to him’ ([4.18], 456). (Merleau-Ponty published a wide range of articles on the role of the individual in history and politics, varieties of Marxism, the role of the Communist Party, and the Soviet Union. Most of these were collected in Sense and Non-Sense, Signs, Humanism and Terror (a polemical riposte to Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon), and Adventures of the Dialectic. For the best extended discussions of Merleau-Ponty’s philosophical politics, see 4.119 and 4.130.) THE HYPERDIALECTIC OF THE FLESH In the prospectus of his future work written in 1952, Merleau-Ponty writes: ‘my first two works sought to restore the world of perception.’ As we have seen, all aspects of our life are underpinned by antepredicative perception, the specifically human mode of inherence in the world in which we all live. Looking to the future, he goes on: ‘my works in preparation aim to show how communication with others, and thought, take up and go beyond the realm of perception which initiated us to the truth’ ([4.21], 3). He wishes to go beyond the ‘bad ambiguity’ of his works already published and articulate a ‘good ambiguity’, ‘a spontaneity which gathers together the plurality of monads, the past and the present, nature and culture into a single whole. To establish this wonder would be metaphysics itself ([4.21], 11). He himself saw the enormous philosophical achievement represented by the works we have been examining thus far in this chapter as furnishing only the groundwork for the ontology that was to be the work of his mature years. His elaboration of this ontology of ‘the flesh’ is contained in a number of works published posthumously, but especially in the incomplete manuscript entitled The Visible and the Invisible. It is impossible to exaggerate just how ambitious Merleau-Ponty’s mature project really is. He proposed to go beyond (or below, for he frequently returns to the metaphor of archaeology) the traditional philosophical categories of realism and idealism, subject and object, consciousness and world, in-itself and for-itself, being and nothingness, the knower and the known, and discover in that scarcely penetrable region what he called ‘the flesh of the world’, the primordial stuff in which we all inhere and which is the ultimate ground of all human experience. It is also impossible to give any more than a flavour of this dense and enigmatic text, available to us in the form of 160 pages of an apparently finished methodological introduction, followed by a remarkable chapter entitled ‘The intertwining—the chiasm’ (L’entrelacs—le chiasme) and about 110 pages of working notes. I shall do no more here than draw attention to a few key terms introduced by Merleau-Ponty in these pages: the notion of ‘hyperdialectic’, and the related concepts of ‘the flesh’ and ‘the chiasm’. When Merleau-Ponty addresses the theory of dialectic in The Visible and the Invisible, he has in his sights the dialectic of Sartre’s Being and Nothingness. Sartre’s dialectic is a ‘bad dialectic’. It is a fixed opposition, presented in terms of theses, where reflection imposes an external law and framework upon the content of experience. It is with this intuition of Being as absolute plenitude and absolute positivity, and with a view of nothingness purified of all the being we mix into it, that Sartre expects to account for our primordial access to the things…. From the moment that I conceive of myself as negativity and the world as positivity, there is no longer any interaction…. We are and remain strictly opposed. ([4.24], 52) The only ‘good dialectic’, on the other hand, is what he calls ‘the hyperdialectic’. A good dialectic is a ‘dialectic without synthesis’ which must be constantly aware that every thesis is but an idealization, an abstraction from the lived world of experience. ‘What we call hyperdialectic is a thought that…is capable of reaching truth because it envisages without restriction the plurality of the relationships and what has been called ambiguity’ ([4.24], 94). What Merleau-Ponty is working towards is ‘a dialectical definition of being that can be neither the being for itself nor the being in itself…that must rediscover the being that lies before the cleavage operated by reflection, about it, on its horizon, not outside of us and not in us, but there where the two movements cross, there where “there is” something’ ([4.24], 95). Where the two movements cross, of course, is the body. The body is simultaneously part of the world of things and the thing that sees and feels things. The body (which is itself visible) can see things not because they are objects of consciousness, at a distance from it, but precisely because those things are the environment in which the seeing body exists. These two aspects of the body (seen and seer, visible and invisible) are inseparably intertwined: ‘the experience of my body and the experience of the other are themselves the two sides of one same being’ ([4.24], 225). This intertwining at the most fundamental and primordial level, this anonymous generality of the visible and myself, is what Merleau-Ponty calls ‘the flesh’ (la chair). ‘There is no name in traditional philosophy to designate it’ ([4.24], 139). The flesh is not matter and it is not mind. It is not substance. In a manner that recalls Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty goes back to the pre-Socratic thinkers to try to express what he means: to designate it, we should need the old term ‘element’, in the sense it was used to speak of water, air, earth, and fire, that is, in the sense of a general thing, midway between the spatio-temporal individual and the idea, a sort of incarnate principle that brings a style of being wherever there is a fragment of being. The flesh is in this sense an ‘element’ of Being. (ibid.) To underline the oneness of this primordial element of Being, Merleau-Ponty names it the ‘flesh of the world’: ‘My body is made of the same flesh as the world,…this flesh of my body is shared by the world, the world reflects it, encroaches upon it and it encroaches upon the world,…they are in a relation of transgression or of overlapping’ ([4.24], 248). Merleau-Ponty’s overriding concern, as it has been throughout his philosophical career, is to offer a phenomenological description of reality that gets beneath the spurious distinction between extension and thought, between the visible and the invisible. He is not suggesting an identity of thought and extension; the key image is that ‘they are the obverse and the reverse of one another’ ([4.24], 152). But we are all part of the same ‘flesh of the world’. We situate ourselves in ourselves and in the things, in ourselves and in the other, ‘at the point where, by a sort of chiasm, we become the others and we become world’ ([4.24], 160). The word ‘chiasm’ (le chiasme) recalls the intersection of lines in the manner of the Greek letter chi (x), emphasizing the inextricable interlocking of the various aspects of Being, of the perceived and the perceiver, of the visible and the invisible. One final theme must be mentioned in this brief examination of The Visible and the Invisible and that is the important strategic role of language. ‘Language is a life, is our life and the life of the things’ ([4.24], 125). Parallel to the reverse/obverse relation of the visible and the invisible, language is always considered by Merleau-Ponty against the background of silence: ‘language lives only from silence; everything we cast to the others has germinated in this great mute land which we never leave’ ([4.24], 126). Because they have experienced within themselves ‘the birth of speech [la parole] as bubbling up at the bottom of [their] mute experience’, no one knows better than philosophers ‘that what is lived is lived-spoken (vécu-parlé)’. Language is ‘the most valuable witness to Being’ (ibid.). Furthermore, language is a witness to Being that does not disrupt the unity of Being, since ‘the vision itself, the thought itself, are, as has been said [by Lacan], “structured as a language”, are articulation before the letter, apparition of something where there was nothing or something else’ (ibid.). The speaking word (la parole parlante), which brings to the surface all the deep-rooted relations of the lived experience wherein it takes form, the language of life and of action, and also the language of literature and of poetry, is the very theme of philosophy. Of course, philosophy itself is ‘that language that can be known only from within, through its exercise, is open upon the things, called forth by the voices of silence, and continues an effort of articulation which is the Being of every being’ (ibid.). CONCLUDING REMARKS As we come to the close of this brief survey of Merleau-Ponty’s oeuvre, we must take stock. In my view, Merleau-Ponty is one of the great figures of twentieth-century philosophy, a pivotal figure in mid-century: drawing deeply on and creatively reappropriating earlier masters such as Saussure, Husserl and Heidegger, while his formidable presence is evident (albeit indirectly) in the structuralist, poststructuralist and deconstructionist thinkers in the generation that came immediately behind him. Merleau-Ponty himself always loudly proclaimed his allegiance to Husserl, especially the Husserl of the Crisis and the theme of the life-world. Now, Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology was undoubtedly originally inspired by Husserl. And Husserl (as uniquely and creatively interpreted by Merleau-Ponty) remained a living presence throughout his work. But it is arguable that there is more Heidegger than Husserl in Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy. First, there is the centrality of time: for Merleau-Ponty as for Heidegger, human existence is essentially temporal existence. Second, there is the privileging of language in both cases, as was illustrated in the last section. In the famous saying in The Letter on Humanism, Heidegger proclaims that ‘language is the house of Being’ (‘die Sprache ist das Haus des Seins’). In The Visible and the Invisible, Merleau- Ponty writes that language is ‘the most valuable witness to Being’ ([4.24], 126). Third, there is Merleau-Ponty’s intention—like Heidegger—to offer a comprehensive description of Being. It has to be said, however, that while Heidegger’s Being (Sein) is ontologically distinct from beings (Seiendes), Merleau-Ponty’s Being is inclusive of both Sein and Seiendes. Some of Merleau-Ponty’s recurring themes also prefigure subsequent dominant trends in continental philosophy. It is not incidental that his first book was entitled The Structure of Behavior. He carried out a detailed study of both the Gestalt psychologists and Saussure’s structural linguistics and lectured on Saussure in 1949. To the last book he published he gave the title Signs. Merleau-Ponty was clearly at the centre of the emerging philosophical schools known as structuralism and semiotics. His continual and deepening polemic against Sartre’s privileging of the choosing subject reflected the growing decentring of the subject in his own work, a theme which in turn becomes central to the later deconstructionist approach to philosophy. (For an interesting discussion of Merleau- Ponty’s move ‘from philosophy to non-philosophy’, see [4.103], 123–51). So what was Merleau-Ponty’s main contribution to the continental philosophy of this century? Perhaps more than any other philosopher, Merleau-Ponty was determined to overcome the dualism between mind and matter, between subject and object, which had dominated European philosophy since Descartes. The contemporary representative par excellence of the Cartesian tradition was, of course, Merleau-Ponty’s friend/ foe Sartre. We have seen above how Merleau-Ponty constantly pitched his own philosophical approach against Sartre’s radical dualism between the thinking and choosing for-itself and the in-itself that is the object of thought. Merleau-Ponty was always a phenomenologist. His fundamental philosophical impulse was always to describe ‘the things themselves’; and he opposed dualism simply because it did not offer an adequate description of the phenomena. It has been suggested that Merleau-Ponty’s late philosophy represents a radical break with his earlier phenomenology of perception. I do not agree with this view. Despite the new terminology he developed in the 1950s, his philosophical work is all of a piece; and his later search for a new fundamental ontology can be seen in germ (and sometimes in more than germ) in the Phenomenology of Perception, for example in the chapter on the cogito. While it is true that he was concerned in his final years that the basic terminology of the Phenomenology of Perception (perceiver and perceived) retained remnants of the old dualism, the fact that he was determined to go further and ground the phenomenology of perception in ‘the flesh of the world’ in no way implies a rejection of the basic thrust and the achievement (as far as it goes) of the earlier work. Rather, as he expressed it in a working note of January 1959, Merleau-Ponty’s concern was to ‘deepen’ his first two books within the perspective of an ontology which would finally dissolve the subject/ object polarity. This implies only that those first two books constitute the indispensable starting point of his philosophical project and not its terminus. His abiding concern was to provide a full description of the world. His new ontology would go beyond his earlier phenomenology and provide the radical new foundations for such a description. He makes it clear in The Visible and the Invisible that the basic philosophical stance is one of ‘interrogation’. Merleau-Ponty’s profound philosophical questions have not yet received an adequate answer. SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY Primary texts 4.1 La Structure du comportement, Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1942. 4.2 Phénoménologie de la perception, Paris: Gallimard, 1945. 4.3 Humanisme et terreur: Essai sur le problème communiste, Paris: Gallimard, 1947 4.4 ‘Le Primat de la perception et ses conséquences philosophiques’, Bulletin de la Société Française de Philosophie, 41 (1947):119–135 and discussion 135–53. 4.5 Sens et non-sens, Paris: Nagel, 1948. 4.6 Eloge de la philosophie, Paris: Gallimard, 1953. 4.7 Les Aventures de la dialectique, Paris: Gallimard, 1955. 4.8 Signes, Paris: Gallimard, 1960. 4.9 ‘Préface’ to A.Hesnard, L’OEuvre de Freud et son importance pour le monde moderne, Paris: Payot, 1960, 5–10. 4.10 ‘Un Inédit de Maurice Merleau-Ponty’ , Revue de métaphysique et de morale, 67 (1962):401–9. 4.11 Le Visible et l’Invisible, suivi de notes de travail [1959–61], ed. C.Lefort, Paris, Gallimard, 1964. 4.12 L’OEil et l’esprit , Paris, Gallimard, 1964. 4.13 ‘Pages d’ “Introduction à la prose du monde”’ [1950–1], ed. C.Lefort, Revue de métaphysique et de morale, 72 (1967):137–53. 4.14 Résumés de cours, Collège de France, 1952–1960, ed. C.Lefort, Paris: Gallimard, 1968. 4.15 L’Union de l’âme et du corps chez Malebranche, Biran et Bergson: prises au cours à l’Ecole Normale Supérieure (1947–48), ed. J.Deprun, Paris: Vrin, 1968. 4.16 La Prose du monde [1950–1], ed. C.Lefort, Paris: Gallimard, 1969. 4.17 ‘Philosophie et non-philosophie depuis Hegel’ [spring 1961], ed. C.Lefort, Textures, 8–9 (1974):83–129 and 10–11 (1975):145–73. Translations 4.18 Phenomenology of Perception, trans. C.Smith, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul and Atlantic Highlands: Humanities Press, 1962. 4.19 In Praise of Philosophy, trans. J.Wild and J.M.Edie, Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1963. 4.20 The Structure of Behavior, trans. A.L.Fisher, Boston: Beacon Press, 1963. 4.21 The Primacy of Perception and Other Essays on Phenomenological Psychology, the Philosophy of Art, History and Politics, ed. J.M.Edie, Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1964. Includes (pp. 3–11) ‘An Unpublished Text by Maurice Merleau-Ponty: A Prospectus of his Work’, trans. A.B.Dallery, a translation of [4.10] above; and (pp. 159–90) ‘Eye and Mind’, trans. C.Dallery, a translation of [4.12] above. 4.22 Sense and Non-Sense, trans. H.L.Dreyfus and P.Allen Dreyfus, Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1964. 4.23 Signs, trans. R.C.McCleary, Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1964. 4.24 The Visible and the Invisible, followed by Working Notes, ed. C.Lefort, trans. A.Lingis, Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1968. 4.25 ‘Phenomenology and Psychoanalysis: Preface to Hesnard’s L’OEuvre de Freud’, trans. A.L.Fisher, in A.L.Fisher (ed.), The Essential Writings of Merleau-Ponty, New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1969, pp. 81–7. 4.26 Humanism and Terror: An Essay on the Communist Problem, trans. with notes by J.O’Neill, Boston: Beacon Press, 1969. 4.27 Themes from the Lectures at the Collège de France 1952–1960, trans. J. O’Neill, Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1970. 4.28 The Prose of the World, trans. J.O’Neill, Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1973. 4.29 Adventures of the Dialectic, trans. J.Bien, Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1973. 4.30 Consciousness and the Acquisition of Language, trans. H.J.Silverman, Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1973. 4.31 Phenomenology, Language and Sociology: Selected essays of Maurice Merleau- Ponty, ed. J.O’Neill, London: Heinemann, 1974. (Contains articles already available elsewhere.) 4.32 ‘Philosophy and Non-Philosophy since Hegel’, trans. H.J.Silverman, Telos, 29 (1976):39–105; reprinted in H.J.Silverman (ed.), Philosophy and Non-Philosophy since Merleau-Ponty, New York and London: Routledge, 1988, pp. 9–83. Bibliographies 4.33 Lanigan, R.L. ‘Maurice Merleau-Ponty Bibliography’, Man and World, 3 (1970):289–319. 4.34 Métraux, A. ‘Bibliographie de Maurice Merleau-Ponty’, in X.Tilliette [4.109 below], 173–86. 4.35 Geraets, T.F. [4.60 below], 200–9. 4.36 Lanigan, R.L. ‘Bibliography’ [annotated], in [4.82 below], 210–43. 4.37 Lapointe, F.H. ‘The Phenomenological Psychology of Sartre and Merleau-Ponty: A Bibliographical Essay’, Dialogos, 8 (1972):161–82. 4.38 Lapointe, F. and Lapointe, C.C. Maurice Merleau-Ponty and his Critics: An International Bibliography (1942–1976), New York: Garland, 1976. 4.39 Whiteside, K. ‘The Merleau-Ponty Bibliography: Additions and Corrections’, Journal of the History of Philosophy, 21 (1983):195–201. Criticism: General studies 4.40 Alquié, F. ‘Une philosophie de l’ambiguïté: L’existentialisme de Maurice Merleau- Ponty’, Fontaine, 59 (1947):47–70. 4.41 Ballard, E.G. ‘The Philosophy of Merleau-Ponty’, Tulane Studies in Philosophy, 9 (1960):165–87. 4.42 Bannan, J.F. ‘The “Later” Thought of Merleau-Ponty’, Dialogue, 5 (1966): 383– 403. 4.43 Bannan, J.F. ‘Merleau-Ponty on God’, International Philosophical Quarterly, 6 (1966):341–65. 4.44 Bannan, J.F. The Philosophy of Merleau-Ponty, New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1967. 4.45 Barral, M.R. Merleau-Ponty: The Role of the Body-Subject in Interpersonal Relations, Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1965. 4.46 Bayer, R. Merleau-Ponty’s Existentialism, Buffalo: University of Buffalo Press, 1951. 4.47 Caillois, R. ‘De la perception à l’histoire: la philosophie de Maurice MerleauPonty’, Deucalion, 2 (1947):57–85. 4.48 Carr, D. ‘Maurice Merleau-Ponty: Incarnate Consciousness’, in G.A.Schrader, Jr (ed.) Existential Philosophers: Kierkegaard to Merleau-Ponty, New York: McGraw- Hill, 1967, pp. 369–429. 4.49 Cullen, B. ‘“Repression” and “Fixation” in Merleau-Ponty’s Account of Time’, Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, forthcoming. 4.50 Daly, J. ‘Merleau-Ponty’s Concept of Phenomenology’, Philosophical Studies (Ireland), 16 (1967):137–64. 4.51 Daly, J. ‘Merleau-Ponty: A Bridge between Phenomenology and Structuralism’, Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, 2 (1971):53–8. 4.52 de Waehlens, A. Une philosophie de l’ambiguïté: L’existentialisme de Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Louvain: Publications Universitaires de Louvain, 1951. 4.53 Dillon, M.C. Merleau-Ponty’s Ontology, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1988. 4.54 Dufrenne, M. ‘Maurice Merleau-Ponty’, Les études philosophiques, 36 (1962): 81– 92. 4.55 Edie, J.M. Merleau-Ponty’s Philosophy of Language: Structuralism and Dialectics, Lanham: University Press of America, 1987. 4.56 Fressin, A. La Perception chez Bergson et chez Merleau-Ponty, Paris: Société d’éditions d’enseignement supérieur, 1967. 4.57 Friedman, R.M. ‘The Formation of Merleau-Ponty’s Philosophy’, Philosophy Today, 17 (1973):272–8. 4.58 Friedman, R.M. ‘Merleau-Ponty’s Theory of Intersubjectivity’, Philosophy Today, 19 (1975):228–42. 4.59 Gans, S. ‘Schematism and Embodiment’, Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, 13 (1982):237–45. 4.60 Geraets, T.F. Vers une nouvelle philosophie transcendantale: La Genèse de la philosophie de Maurice Merleau-Ponty jusqu’à la Phénoménologie de la perception, The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1971. 4.61 Gerber, R.J. ‘Merleau-Ponty: The Dialectic of Consciousness and World’, Man and World, 2 (1969):83–107. 4.62 Gill, J.H. Merleau-Ponty and Metaphor, Atlantic Highlands: Humanities Press, 1991. 4.63 Gillan, G. (ed.) The Horizons of the Flesh: Critical Perspectives on the Thought of Merleau-Ponty, Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1973. 4.64 Grene, M. ‘Merleau-Ponty and the Renewal of Ontology’, Review of Metaphysics, 29 (1976):605–25. 4.65 Hadreas, P.J. In Place of the Flawed Diamond: An Investigation of MerleauPonty’s Philosophy, New York: Lang, 1986. 4.66 Halda, B. Merleau-Ponty ou la philosophie de l’ambiguïté, Paris: Les Lettres Modernes, 1966. 4.67 Hall, H. ‘The Continuity of Merleau-Ponty’s Philosophy of Perception’, Man and World, 10 (1977):435–47. 4.68 Heidsieck, F. L’Ontologie de Merleau-Ponty, Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1971. 4.69 Hyppolite, J. Sens et existence dans la philosophie de Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1963. 4.70 Johnson, G.A. (ed.) Ontology and Alterity in Merleau-Ponty, Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1991. 4.71 Jolivet, R. ‘The Problem of God in the Philosophy of Merleau-Ponty’, Philosophy Today, 7 (1963):150–64. 4.72 Kaelin, E.F. An Existential Aesthetic: The Theories of Sartre and MerleauPonty, Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1962. 4.73 Kaelin, E.F. ‘Merleau-Ponty, Fundamental Ontologist’, Man and World, 3 (1970):102–15. 4.74 Kearney, R. ‘Maurice Merleau-Ponty’, in Modern Movements in European Philosophy, Manchester and Dover, NH: Manchester University Press, 1986, pp. 73– 90. 4.75 Kockelmans, J.J. ‘Merleau-Ponty on Sexuality’, Journal of Existentialism, 6 (1965):9–30. 4.76 Krell, D.F. ‘Merleau-Ponty on “eros” and “logos”’, Man and World, 7 (1974):37– 51. 4.77 Kwant, R.C. The Phenomenological Philosophy of Merleau-Ponty, Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1963. 4.78 Kwant, R.C. From Phenomenology to Metaphysics: An Inquiry into the Last Period of Merleau-Ponty’s Philosophical Life, Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1966. 4.79 Lacan, J. ‘Maurice Merleau-Ponty’, Les Temps modernes, 184–85 (October 1961):245–54. 4.80 Langan, T. Merleau-Ponty’s Critique of Reason, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1966. 4.81 Langer, M.M. Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception: A Guide and Commentary, Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1989. 4.82 Lanigan, R.L. Speaking and Semiology: Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenological Theory of Existential Communication, The Hague and Paris: Mouton, 1972. 4.83 Lefort, C. ‘Maurice Merleau-Ponty’, in R.Klibansky (ed.), Contemporary Philosophy: A Survey, vol. 3, Metaphysics, Phenomenology, Language and Structure, Firenze: La Nuova Italia Editrice, 1969, pp. 206–14. 4.84 Levine, S.K. ‘Merleau-Ponty’s Philosophy of Art’, Man and World, 2 (1969): 438– 52. 4.85 Lévi-Strauss, C. ‘On Merleau-Ponty’, trans. C.Gross, Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal , 7 (1978):179–88. 4.86 Madison, G.B. The Phenomenology of Merleau-Ponty: A Search for the Limits of Consciousness, Athens: Ohio University Press, 1981. 4.87 Mallin, S.B. Merleau-Ponty’s Philosophy, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1979. 4.88 Natanson, M. ‘The Fabric of Expression’, Review of Metaphysics, 21 (1968): 491– 505. 4.89 O’Neill, J. The Communicative Body: Studies in Communicative Philosophy, Politics, and Sociology, Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1989. 4.90 Rabil, A. Merleau-Ponty: Existentialist of the Social World, New York: Columbia University Press, 1967. 4.91 Rauch, L. ‘Sartre, Merleau-Ponty and the Hole in Being’, Philosophical Studies (Ireland), 18 (1969):119–32. 4.92 Review of Existential Psychology and Psychiatry, 18 (1982–3), a special issue devoted to Merleau-Ponty, including translations of several short pieces by Merleau- Ponty on phenomenological psychology, sexuality and the relations between phenomenology and psychoanalysis . 4.93 Ricoeur, P. ‘Hommage à Merleau-Ponty’, Esprit, 29 (1961):1115–20. 4.94 Robinet, A. Merleau-Ponty, sa vie, son oeuvre, avec un exposé de sa philosophie, Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1963. 4.95 Roman, J. ‘Une amitié existentialiste: Sartre et Merleau-Ponty’, Revue internationale de philosophie, 39 (1985):30–55. 4.96 Sallis, J. ‘Time, Subjectivity, and The Phenomenology of Perception’, Modern Schoolman, 48 (1971):343–58. 4.97 Sallis, J. Phenomenology and the Return to Beginnings, Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1973. 4.98 Sallis, J. (ed.) Merleau-Ponty: Perception, Structure, Language, Atlantic Highlands: Humanities Press, 1981. 4.99 Sartre, J.-P. ‘Merleau-Ponty vivant’, Les Temps modernes, 184–5 (1961): 304–76; translated as ‘Merleau-Ponty’, in J.-P.Sartre, Situations, trans. B.Eisler, London: Hamish Hamilton, 1965, pp. 225–326. 4.100 Sartre, J.-P. ‘Merleau-Ponty ’, trans. W.Hamrick, Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, 15 (1984):128–54. [An earlier version of the previous entry.] 4.101 Schmidt, J. Maurice Merleau-Ponty: Between Phenomenology and Structuralism, New York: St Martin’s Press, 1985. 4.102 Silverman, H.J. ‘Re-reading Merleau-Ponty’, Telos, 29 (1976):106–29; reprinted, with several other chapters on the philosophy of Merleau-Ponty, in [4.103]. 4.103 Silverman, H.J. Inscriptions: Between Phenomenology and Structuralism, New York and London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1987. 4.104 Silverman, H.J. et al. (eds) The Horizons of Continental Philosophy: Essays on Husserl, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty, Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1988. 4.105 Smith, C. ‘Sartre and Merleau-Ponty: The Case for a Modified Essentialism’, Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, 1 (1970):73–9. 4.106 Smyth, D.P. ‘Merleau-Ponty’s Late Ontology: New Nature and the Hyperdialectic’, unpublished Ph.D. thesis, The Queen’s University of Belfast, 1988. 4.107 Taminiaux, J. ‘Merleau-Ponty: de la dialectique à l’hyperdialectique’, Tijdschrift voor Filosofie, 40 (1978):34–55. 4.108 Tilliette, X. Merleau-Ponty ou la mesure de l’homme, Paris: Seghers, 1970. 4.109 Thévenaz, P. De Husserl à Merleau-Ponty: Qu’est-ce que la phénoménologie, Neuchâtel: Editions de la Baconnière, 1966. 4.110 Van Breda, H.L. ‘Maurice Merleau-Ponty et les Archives-Husserl à Louvain’, Revue de métaphysique et de morale, 67 (1962):410–30. 4.111 Waldenfels, B. ‘Das Problem der Leiblichkeit bei Merleau-Ponty’, Philosophisches Jahrbuch, 75 (1967–8):345–65. Criticism: Freedom, history and politics 4.112 Archard, D. Marxism and Existentialism: The Political Philosophy of Sartre and Merleau-Ponty, Belfast: Blackstaff Press, 1980. 4.113 Aron, R. Marxism and the Existentialists, New York: Harper & Row, 1969. 4.114 Bien, J. ‘Man and the Economic: Merleau-Ponty’s Interpretation of Historical Materialism’, Southwestern Journal of Philosophy, 3 (1972):121–7. 4.115 Borg, J.L. ‘Le Marxisme dans la philosophie socio-politique de Merleau-Ponty’, Revue philosophique de Louvain, 73 (1975):481–510. 4.116 Capalbo, C. ‘L’historicité chez Merleau-Ponty’, Revue philosophique de Louvain, 73 (1975):511–35. 4.117 Compton, J. ‘Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, and Human Freedom’, Journal of Philosophy, 79 (1982):577–88. 4.118 Coole, D. ‘Phenomenology and Ideology in the Work of Merleau-Ponty’, in N.O’Sullivan (ed.), The Structure of Modern Ideology, Cheltenham: Elgar, 1989, 122– 50. 4.119 Cooper, B. Merleau-Ponty and Marxism: From Terror to Reform, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1979. 4.120 Dauenhauer, B.P. The Politics of Hope, London: Routledge, 1986. 4.121 de Beauvoir, S. ‘Merleau-Ponty et le pseudo-Sartrisme’, Les Temps modernes, 10 (1955):2072–122. 4.122 de Beauvoir, S.J.-P. Sartre versus Merleau-Ponty (Merleau-Ponty ou l’antisartrisme), trans. A.Leal, Buenos Aires: Siglo Veints, 1963. 4.123 Kruks, S. The Political Philosophy of Merleau-Ponty, Brighton: Harvester and Atlantic Highlands: Humanities Press, 1981. 4.124 Miller, J. ‘Merleau-Ponty’s Marxism: Between Phenomenology and the Hegelian Absolute’, History and Theory, 15 (1976):109–32. 4.125 O’Neill, J. Perception, Expression, and History: The Social Phenomenology of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1970. 4.126 Pax, C. ‘Merleau-Ponty and the Truth of History’, Man and World, 6 (1973): 270– 9. 4.127 Ricoeur, P. ‘La Pensée engagée: Merleau-Ponty’, Esprit, 16 (1948):911–16. 4.128 Schmidt, J. ‘Maurice Merleau-Ponty: Politics, Phenomenology, and Ontology’, Human Studies, 6 (1983):295–308. 4.129 Spurling, L. Phenomenology and the Social World: The Philosophy of Merleau- Ponty and its Relation to the Social Sciences, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1972. 4.130 Whiteside, K.H. Merleau-Ponty and the Foundation of an Existential Politics, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988. 4.131 Whiteside, K.H. ‘Universality and Violence: Merleau-Ponty, Malraux, and the Moral Logic of Liberalism’, Philosophy Today, 35 (1991):372–389. 4.132 Wiggins, O.P. ‘Political Responsibility in Merleau-Ponty’s Humanism and Terror’, Man and World, 19 (1986):275–91. 4.133 Wolin, R. ‘Merleau-Ponty and the Birth of Weberian Marxism’, Praxis International, 5 (1985):115–30.
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