Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 65 (4):681 - 713 (2003)

The late Merleau-Ponty several times describes Being as "level" or "dimension". Merleau-Ponty elaborately analyses this notion in Phenomenology of Perception. Therefore one would expect commentators to fall back on Phenomenology of Perception in their effortto understand the Merleau-Pontyan Being. And yet they do not. They presuppose that the late Merleau-Ponty discredits his first texts because these texts are still to much stuck in the track of the philosophy of consciousness. More specifically, the late Merleau-Ponty is said to have distanced himself from the tacit cogito, and therefore the analyses linked up with that tacit cogito are said to decrease in value. It is shown in this article that Merleau-Ponty does not reject the tacit cogito, butthat time and again he broaches this theme in an evolution that is marked by continuityrather than discontinuity: the tacit cogito from Phenomenology of Perception (1) turns up again in The Visible and the Invisible in the shape of the "reversibility" (2), and in the Notes de cours 1959-1961 in the shape of "vertical cogito' (3). In order to givethe necessary relief to this evolution, the author here and there compares the tacit cogito to Sartre's triad: consciousness, transcendental ego and transcendent ego. Starting from the continuity in Merleau-Ponty's work, it is demonstrated in a last point (4) that the analysis of the "level" in Phenomenology of Perception, which is indeed connected to the tacit cogito, offers interesting perspectives to understand Merleau-Ponty's Being
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