The Merleau-Ponty Dictionary (Continuum Philosophy Dictionaries)
Donald A. Landes
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Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908-1961) is one of the central figures of 20th-century Continental philosophy, and his work has been hugely influential in a wide range of fields. His writings engage in the study of perception, language, politics, aesthetics, history and ontology, and represent a rich and complex network of exciting ideas.
The Merleau-Ponty Dictionary provides the reader and student of Merleau-Ponty with all the tools necessary to engage with this key thinker: a comprehensive A to Z that provides summaries of all his major texts and articles, clear and straightforward explanations of his terminology and innovative concepts, and detailed discussions of the figures and philosophies that influenced his work. The book also includes a philosophical introduction, a chronology of Merleau-Ponty's life and works, and suggestions for further reading. This dictionary is the ideal reading and research companion for students at all levels.
the body that sees and is seen, touches and is touched. The final and tantalizing ontology presented by Merleau-Ponty is precisely a corporeal or bodily ontology. It is the attempt to express wild Being with the constant recognition of the inherent failure of this attempt. When one hand touches the other hand touching, and the touched hand then attempts to touch in return, this reversibility nevertheless eclipses at the threshold of coincidence. That is, there is always a gap [écart] that
such as Klee and Cézanne seem to fit the description of “modern” glorifications of subjectivity, since they are certainly not part of the “tribe of the ambitious and the drugged” (Malraux, cited by Merleau-Ponty, MPAR, 88). By contrast, Merleau-Ponty suggests that modern painting is marked by a rejection of the idea that a “complete” work is an objective representation convincing for the senses (88). For the modern painter, the work is complete when it communicates, when it “reaches its viewer
Darkness at Noon (1940). MerleauPonty’s nuanced response to this novel and the trials themselves is the subject of Humanism and Terror (1947), where he attempts to re-read the trials according to the paradoxical structures of political action and historical responsibility. Motivation Merleau-Ponty discusses the concept of motivation, developed from the insights of Gestalt psychology, as an alternative non-causal way of understanding relations in the phenomenal field and in our experience.
or substitutes words or parts of words (PhP, 201). Partes extra partes The Latin phrase partes extra partes means literally “parts outside of parts,” and is generally used by Merleau-Ponty to characterize a causal understanding of objects in the view explicitly adopted by empiricism, and implicitly remaining in intellectualism. The phrase is used by philosophers in the debate over the nature of extension or of an object and its relation to mind, including Descartes, Leibniz, and Locke, and to
where he exerted a significant influence on many young thinkers of Merleau-Ponty’s generation. Merleau-Ponty himself, who attended the neighboring Lycée Louis-le-Grand, is said to have clandestinely frequented Alain’s lectures. Alain is often associated with his teacher, Jules Lagneau, and a classical style of philosophical reflection known as reflective analysis. Alain’s two forms of political reflection, “reason” (intellectualist) vs. “understanding” (empiricist), shape the Preface of