Merleau-Ponty Between Sartre and Postmodernism

Abstract
Jean-Paul Sartre develops perhaps the most radical view of individual freedom in the entire history of Western philosophy. The subject is free to create all meaning and to interpret the world, society, and self in anyway he or she wishes. The structuralist and postmodernist philosophies that succeeded Sartre’s philosophy in France and elsewhere rejected this view and put in its place linguistic and social structures that frame all human meaning, including the meaning that the subject experiences with respect to him or herself. It is the characteristically balanced thought of Merleau-Ponty that comes between these extremes and in fact integrates them, that integrates self and society, perception and language, and even human consciousness, the body, and the world—as this essay will attempt to show
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