Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology of perception



Publication Details

Gallagher, S. 2010, 'Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology of perception', Topoi: an International Review of Philosophy, vol. 29, no. 2, pp. 183-185.


In Merleau-Ponty’s ‘‘Preface’’ to his Phe´nome´nologie de la perception (1945), he asks ‘‘What is phenomenology?— and he suggests that it is still in a process of being defined. Not so untimely, this remains true today, and understandably so, since any philosophy which is still alive continually transforms itself. Yet Merleau-Ponty’s own response to the question remains true: that phenomenology is ‘‘a philosophy which places essences back into existence and does not think that human beings and the world are comprehensible except on the basis of their ‘facticity’’’ (i; vii1). In this work he is concerned with showing that an explication of the facticity of the body, the medium that we are, and that puts us in-the-world, is central for understanding human existence. Precisely in this way Merleau-Ponty’s text continues to be relevant for contemporary thought, not only in the area of the phenomenology and philosophy of mind, and philosophy of science, but also in regard to ethics in the most general sense

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