About this topic
Summary Merleau-Ponty (1908-1961) is best known for his contributions to phenomenology, in particular to phenomenological approaches to the body, perception, and consciousness in relation to nature. This also leads him to contributions in aesthetics, ontology, and the philosophy of nature, philosophy of science and philosophy of psychology. Through critical engagement with Marxism, in his philosophical and popular writings, he also contributes to social and political philosophy. A contemporary and colleague of figures such as Sartre, de Beauvoir, and Lacan, he was a public intellectual in France. He was Chair of Child Psychology and Pedagogy at the Sorbonne from 1949-52, and was appointed Chair of Philosophy at the Collége de France in 1952. He passed away suddenly at the age of 53, leaving behind a rich though incomplete project in phenomenological ontology and an array of unpublished notes and lectures.
Key works The monographs published by Merleau-Ponty in his lifetime (here listed for the English reader in translation, but with original publication dates) are Structure of Behaviour (1943), Phenomenology of Perception (1945), Humanism and Terror (1947), In Praise of Philosophy (1953), and Adventures of the Dialectic (1955). As well, he published collections of essays in Sense and Non-Sense (1948) and Signs (1960). At the time of this death Merleau-Ponty was working on a monograph, incomplete, which was titled The Visible and the Invisible (1961) by its editor, Claude Lefort.The Prose of the World is a project Merleau-Ponty abandoned circa 1952 that was published in 1968, after his death. As well, a number of his lectures courses have been published, drawing on notes from him and his students, on topics such as child psychology, nature, Husserl, institution and passivity, the world of expression and sense, the use of language in literature (see the list of works by Merleau-Ponty for further details).  For English readers, The Merleau-Ponty Reader, The Merleau-Ponty Aesthetics Reader, and The Primacy of Perception contain helpful collections of and selections from Merleau-Ponty’s published and unpublished texts. Also, The World of Perception, which is a transcription from a series of radio addresses given by Merleau-Ponty in 1948, offers a nice introduction to his early work.
Introductions For English readers, the following provide helpful resources and introductions for studying Merleau-Ponty and his texts: The Being of the Phenomenon (Barbaras), Merleau-Ponty (eds. Carman and Hansen), Merleau-Ponty’s Ontology (Dillon), Merleau-Ponty: Key Concepts (eds. Diprose and Reynolds), Merleau-Ponty’s Philosophy (Hass), The Merleau-Ponty Dictionary (Landes), The Phenomenology of Merleau-Ponty (Madison), Merleau-Ponty’s Philosophy (Mallin), Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Merleau-Ponty (Romdenh-Romluc).
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  1. Merleau-Ponty, Hermeneutics and Postmodernism.Shaun Gallagher & Thomas Busch (eds.) - 1992 - State University of New York Press.
    Opens up new dimensions in the philosophical thought of Merleau-Ponty and addresses contemporary issues concerning interpretation theory and postmodernity.
  2. The Early Relationship of Mother and Pre-Infant: Merleau-Ponty and Pregnancy.Francine Wynn - 2002 - Nursing Philosophy 3 (1):4–14.
    This paper critically evaluates current conceptions of pregnancy as a possession of either mother or infant. In opposition to the more common stance that marks birth as the beginning of intercorporeality and perception, pregnancy is instead phenomenologically delineated as a chiasmic relationship between mother and her pre‐infant from a Merleau‐Pontian perspective. This paper maintains that during pregnancy a mother‐to‐be and her pre‐infant are deepened and modified through their intertwining.
  3. Le Visible Et l'Invisible. [REVIEW]B. D. A. - 1964 - Review of Metaphysics 18 (1):180-180.
  4. The Philosophy of Merleau-Ponty. [REVIEW]M. A. - 1968 - Review of Metaphysics 21 (4):746-747.
  5. Merleau-Ponty's Critique of Reason. [REVIEW]P. A. - 1968 - Review of Metaphysics 21 (3):554-554.
  6. Merleau-Ponty: Space, Place, Architecture, Written by Patricia M. Locke & Rachel McCann.Christopher M. Aanstoos - 2017 - Journal of Phenomenological Psychology 48 (1):145-148.
  7. The Child as Natural Phenomenologist: Primal and Primary Experience in Merleau-Ponty’s Psychology, Written byTalia Welsh.Christopher M. Aanstoos - 2015 - Journal of Phenomenological Psychology 46 (1):123-127.
  8. A Critique of the Computational Model of Thought: The Contribution of Merleau-Ponty.Christopher M. Aanstoos - 1987 - Journal of Phenomenological Psychology 18 (1-2):187-200.
  9. Merleau-Ponty's Concept of Nature and the Ontology of Flesh.Ane Faugstad Aarø - 2010 - Biosemiotics 3 (3):331-345.
    The essay attempts to delineate how Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology of perception can be applied to theories of sign processes, and how it reworks the framework of the phenomenalist conception of communication. His later philosophy involved a reformulation of subjectivity and a resolution of the subject/object dualism. My claim is that this non-reductionist theory of perception reveals a different view of nature as we experience it in an expressive and meaningful interaction. The perspective that another living being has and communicates entails (...)
  10. El marxismo en M. Merleau-Ponty.José Antonio Merino Abad - 1981 - Filosofia Oggi 4 (1):58-81.
  11. Merleau-Ponty E o Fisicalismo.Andrã© Joffily Abath & Iraquitan de Oliveira Caminha - 2012 - Revista de Filosofia Aurora 24 (35):615.
  12. Mead and Merleau-Ponty. [REVIEW]Mitchell Aboulafia - 1992 - Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society.
  13. Merleau-Ponty and the Voice of the Earth.David Abram - 1988 - Environmental Ethics 10 (2):101-120.
    Ecologists and environmental theorists have paid little attention to our direct, sensory experience of the enveloping world. In this paper I discuss the importance of such experience for ecological philosophy. Merleau-Ponty’s careful phenomenology of perceptual experience shows perception to be an inherently creative, participatory activity-a sort of conversation, carried on underneath our spoken discourse, between the living body and its world. His later work discloses the character of language itself as a medium born of the body’s participation with a world (...)
  14. Merleau-Ponty and the Problems of Intersubjectivity: Encounters with Wittgenstein, Sellars, Mcdowell and Levinas on the Foundations, Nature and Modalities of Intersubjective Relations.Christopher Adamo - 2004 - Dissertation, New School University
    Contemporary philosophy is marked by two movements: recognizing the situatedness of subjectivity; overcoming the legacy of Cartesian dualism. These often converge: the sovereignty of Cartesian subjectivity is compromised precisely by that within which subjectivity is always already situated. ;While the 'problem of the perception of other minds', resting upon the Cartesian ontology, is 'overcome' once that ontology is abandoned, two new problems emerge. ;First, what does it mean to say that truth and objectivity are constituted intersubjectively? Some contemporary philosophers appeal (...)
  15. Merleau-Ponty's Reading of Husserl.Christopher Adamo - 2003 - Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 24 (1):243-246.
  16. Merleau-Ponty's Later Works and Their Practical Implications.Christopher Adamo - 2002 - Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 23 (2):238-242.
  17. Merleau-Ponty, Reversibility, Phenomenality, and Alterity.Christopher Adamo - 2002 - Philosophy Today 46 (9999):52-59.
  18. Merleau-Ponty.Christopher Adamo - 2002 - Philosophy Today 46 (5):52-59.
  19. Expression.Harry Adams - 2008 - In Rosalyn Diprose & Jack Reynolds (eds.), Merleau-Ponty: Key Concepts. Acumen Publishing. pp. 152-162.
  20. Merleau-Ponty: Key Concepts.Harry Adams - 2008 - In Rosalyn Diprose & Jack Reynolds (eds.). Acumen Publishing. pp. 152-162.
  21. Merleau-Ponty and the Advent of Meaning: From Consummate Reciprocity to Ambiguous Reversibility. [REVIEW]Harry Adams - 2001 - Continental Philosophy Review 34 (2):203-224.
    The three themes of perception, expression, and history proved to be significant and consistent concerns of Merleau-Ponty from his earliest to his latest writings. In turn, Merleau-Ponty was concerned to discover and show how meaning emerged within the context of each of these themes. My main goal in this essay will be to trace ways that Merleau-Ponty conceived of this emergence, and to how his conceptions underwent increasing sophistication from his earlier to later writings. In section I, I show how (...)
  22. The Child Anticipates: Review of Talia Welsh, The Child as Natural Phenomenologist: Primal and Primary Experience in Merleau-Ponty’s Psychology. [REVIEW]Sarah LaChance Adams - 2015 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 14 (4):1179-1183.
    A work that takes up development as its key theme must also inherently be a work about time. Typically, developmental psychology assumes an objective, linear progression of time that moves from the past and into the future in a rather orderly fashion. We move steadily along this line in a forward motion. However, as Talia Welsh demonstrates in The Child as Natural Phenomenologist, such an assumption will over-determine our understanding of childhood development. It too will be viewed as mostly linear (...)
  23. Dimensions of the World: Castoriadis’ Homage to Merleau-Ponty.Suzi Adams - 2009 - Chiasmi International 11:111-129.
  24. Review: Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Nature: Course Notes From the Collège de France. Compiled by Dominique Séglard. Translated by Robert Vallier (Northwestern University Press: Evanston, 2003). [REVIEW]Suzi Adams - 2007 - Thesis Eleven 90 (1):123-126.
  25. The Primacy of Interrelating: Practicing Ecological Psychology with Buber, Levinas, and Merleau-Ponty.Will Adams - 2007 - Journal of Phenomenological Psychology 38 (1):24-61.
    This study explores the primacy of interrelating and its ecopsychological significance. Grounded in evidence from everyday experience, and in dialogue with the phenomenology of Martin Buber, Emmanuel Levinas, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, we discover that humans are inherently relational beings, not separate egoic subjects. When experienced intimately , this realization may transform our interrelationship with the beings and presences in the community of nature. Specifically, interrelating is primary in three ways: 1) interrelating is always already here, transpiring from the beginning of (...)
  26. "Digging in the Same Place": An Essay in the Political and Social Philosophy of Maurice Merleau-Ponty.William Drea Adams - 1982 - Dissertation, University of California, Santa Cruz
    This dissertation is a critical study of Merleau-Ponty's understanding of the nature of social and political philosophy. Drawing on a wide range of Merleau-Ponty's published works, it attempts to define the limits and ends of philosophical reflection in the context of the social and political world. What are the fundamental and enduring interests of the philosopher in political and social life? What is the appropriate form of philosophical expression in the domain of collective existence? And what, finally, distinguishes philosophical expression (...)
  27. Measure for Measure:The Reliance of Human Knowledge on the Things of the World.Tim Adamson - 2005 - Ethics and the Environment 10 (2):175-194.
  28. Heidegger's Neglect of the Body.Kevin Aho - 2009 - State University of New York Press.
    _Challenges conventional understandings of Heidegger’s account of the body._.
  29. The Missing Dialogue Between Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty: On the Importance of the Zollikon Seminars.Kevin A. Aho - 2005 - Body and Society 11 (2):1-23.
  30. La corporalidad del yo y la interioridad del otrom en la Filosofía de Merleau-Ponty.Eleonora Ahrensburg - 2009 - Apuntes Filosóficos 18 (35):149-160.
    En este artículo buscamos indagar el sentido y alcance de unos términos que se entrelazan en las acciones y modos de relacionarnos en un medio, no sólo existencial, sino social. Centraremos el enfoque a partir de la lectura de algunos textos de Merleau-Ponty para presentar así su peculiar modo de abordar ciertos temas desde una perspectiva fenomenológica situada. Palabras clave: corporalidad; interioridad; exterioridad; conciencia; fenomenología. The Corporality of the Self and the Interiority of the Other, in Merlau-Ponty’s philosophyIn this paper (...)
  31. “The Invisible of the Flesh”: Merleau-Ponty and Irigaray.Alison Ainley - 1993 - Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 28 (1):20-29.
  32. The Paradox of Nature: Merleau-Ponty's Semi-Naturalistic Critique of Husserlian Phenomenology.Shazad Akhtar - unknown
    This dissertation deals with Merleau-Ponty's critical transformation of Husserl's phenomenology through a rethinking of the concept of "nature," which Husserl, Merleau-Ponty argues, fails to integrate or explain successfully in his philosophical system. The first chapter reconstructs Husserl's "transcendental-phenomenological" project in Ideas I, while the second widens the investigation to cover the ontologically-centered Ideas II and III. In my third chapter, I chart what I call Merleau-Ponty's "organic appropriation" of Husserl and the unique hermeneutical challenges it poses. Here the ambiguity of (...)
  33. Rosmini and Merleau-Ponty: Being, Perception and the World.Townsley Al - 1976 - Rivista di Filosofia Neo-Scolastica 68 (1):75-84.
  34. Merleau-Ponty and the Preconceptions of Objective Thinking.Hanan Al-Khalaf - unknown
    Maurice Merleau-Ponty thinks that many classical theories of perception, especially reductionism, are influenced by the objective and the scientific form of thinking. Such influence is expressed in two preconceptions. The first preconception is that perception is reduced to units such as “impressions”. The meaning of these units is considered to be a representation of the world. The second preconception is that such perceptual meaning is caused by the world and the living being is passive in its relation to such constitution (...)
  35. A Phenomenology of Hesitation: Interrupting Racializing Habits of Seeing.Alia Al-Saji - 2014 - In Emily Lee (ed.), Living Alterities: Phenomenology, Embodiment, and Race. State University of New York Press. pp. 133-172.
    This paper asks how perception becomes racializing and seeks the means for its critical interruption. My aim is not only to understand the recalcitrant and limitative temporal structure of racializing habits of seeing, but also to uncover the possibilities within perception for a critical awareness and destabilization of this structure. Reading Henri Bergson and Maurice Merleau-Ponty in dialogue with Frantz Fanon, Iris Marion Young and race-critical feminism, I locate in hesitation the phenomenological moment where habits of seeing can be internally (...)
  36. Bodies and Sensings: On the Uses of Husserlian Phenomenology for Feminist Theory.Alia Al-Saji - 2010 - Continental Philosophy Review 43 (1):13-37.
    What does Husserlian phenomenology have to offer feminist theory? More specifically, can we find resources within Husserl’s account of the living body ( Leib ) for the critical feminist project of rethinking embodiment beyond the dichotomies not only of mind/body but also of subject/object and activity/passivity? This essay begins by explicating the reasons for feminist hesitation with respect to Husserlian phenomenology. I then explore the resources that Husserl’s phenomenology of touch and his account of sensings hold for feminist theory. My (...)
  37. An Absence That Counts in the World: Merleau-Ponty’s Later Philosophy of Time in Light of Bernet’s 'Einleitung'.Alia Al-Saji - 2009 - Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 40 (2):207-227.
    This paper examines Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s later philosophy of time in light of his critique and reconceptualization of Edmund Husserl’s early time-analyses. Drawing on The Visible and the Invisible and lecture courses, I elaborate Merleau-Ponty’s re-reading of Husserl’s time-analyses through the lens of Rudolf Bernet’s “Einleitung” to this work. My question is twofold: what becomes of the central Husserlian concepts of present and retention in Merleau-Ponty’s later work, and how do Husserl’s elisions, especially of the problem of forgetting, become generative moments (...)
  38. A Phenomenology of Critical-Ethical Vision: Merleau-Ponty, Bergson, and the Question of Seeing Differently.Alia Al-Saji - 2009 - Chiasmi International 11:375-398.
    Drawing on Merleau-Ponty’s “Eye and Mind” and Bergson’s Matière et mémoire and “La perception du changement,” I ask what resources are available in vision for interrupting objectifying habits of seeing. While both Bergson and Merleau-Ponty locate the possibility of seeing differently in the figure of the painter, I develop by means of their texts, and in dialogue with Iris Marion Young’s work, a more general phenomenology of hesitation that grounds what I am calling “critical-ethical vision.” Hesitation, I argue, stems from (...)
  39. "A Past Which has Never Been Present": Bergsonian Dimensions in Merleau-Ponty's Theory of the Prepersonal.Alia Al-Saji - 2008 - Research in Phenomenology 38 (1):41-71.
    Merleau-Ponty's reference to "a past which has never been present" at the end of "Le sentir" challenges the typical framework of the Phenomenology of Perception, with its primacy of perception and bodily field of presence. In light of this "original past," I propose a re-reading of the prepersonal as ground of perception that precedes the dichotomies of subject-object and activity-passivity. Merleau-Ponty searches in the Phenomenology for language to describe this ground, borrowing from multiple registers (notably Bergson, but also Husserl). This (...)
  40. The Temporality of Life: Merleau-Ponty, Bergson, and the Immemorial Past.Alia Al-Saji - 2007 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 45 (2):177-206.
    Borrowing conceptual tools from Bergson, this essay asks after the shift in the temporality of life from Merleau-Ponty’s Phénoménologie de la perception to his later works. Although the Phénoménologie conceives life in terms of the field of presence of bodily action, later texts point to a life of invisible and immemorial dimensionality. By reconsidering Bergson, but also thereby revising his reading of Husserl, Merleau-Ponty develops a nonserial theory of time in the later works, one that acknowledges the verticality and irreducibility (...)
  41. Vision, Mirror and Expression: The Genesis of the Ethical Body in Merleau-Ponty’s Later Works.Alia Al-Saji - 2006 - In James Hatley, Janice McLane & Christian Diehm (eds.), Interrogating Ethics: Embodying the Good in Merleau-Ponty. Duquesne University Press.
  42. La Vision dans le Miroir: L’intercorporéité comme commencement d’une éthique dans L’œil et l’esprit.Alia Al-Saji - 2005 - Chiasmi International 6:253-271.
  43. Merleau-Ponty and Bergson: Bodies of Expression and Temporalities in the Flesh.Alia Al-Saji - 2001 - Philosophy Today 45 (5):110-123.
  44. Merleau-Ponty and Temporalities in the Flesh: Bodies of Expression and Temporalities in the Flesh.Alia Al-Saji - 2001 - Philosophy Today:110-123.
  45. The Physiognomy of the Mueller-Lyer Figure.Richard J. Alapack - 1971 - Journal of Phenomenological Psychology 2 (1):27-47.
    The thematic survey of traditional literature uncovered a pressing need to study the M-L figure as a phenomenon in its own right. A design was constructed intending to evoke the figure's full phenomenal appearance. Instead of framing a highly determinate structure wherein a specific question is posed, E presented the figure to naive Ss, simply asking them to describe it. The purpose was to ascertain what naive Ss would perceive if not encumbered by a prior set. In addition, five experiential (...)
  46. Knowledge as a 'Body Run': Learning of Writing as Embodied Experience in Accordance with Merleau-Ponty's Theory of the Lived Body.A. Alerby - 2009 - Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology 9 (1).
    What significance does the body have in the process of teaching and learning? In what way can the thoughts of a contemporary junior-level teacher in this regard be connected to the theory of the lived body formulated by the French phenomenologist philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908-1961), and vice versa? The aim of this paper is to illuminate, enable understanding and discuss the meaning of the body in the learning process, with specific focus on the learning of writing as embodied experience. In (...)
  47. Knowledge as a ‘Body Run’: Learning of Writing as Embodied Experience in Accordance with Merleau-Ponty’s Theory of the Lived Body.Eva Alerby - 2009 - Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology 9 (1):1-8.
  48. Brute Being and Hyletic Phenomenology: The Philosophical Legacy of Merleau-Ponty's the Visible and the Invisible.Angela Ales Bello - 2009 - Analecta Husserliana 104:55-76.
  49. Résumé: “Être brut” et hylétique phénoménologique.Angela Ales Bello - 2008 - Chiasmi International 10:161-161.
  50. Form, Flesh and Art's Historicity the Themes of Human Embodiment and Visual Art in the Work of Merleau-Ponty.Sandra Kaye Alexander - 2003
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