Deleuze and Merleau-Ponty: Immanence, Univocity and Phenomenology

This paper will seek firstly to understand Deleuze’s main challenges to phenomenology, particularly as they are expressed in The Logic of Sense and What is Philosophy?, although reference will also be made to Pure Immanence and Difference and Repetition. We will then turn to a discussion of one of the few passages in which Deleuze directly engages with Merleau-Ponty, which occurs in the chapter on art in What is Philosophy? In this text, he and Guattari offer a critique of what they call the “final avatar” of phenomenology – that is, the “fleshism” that Merleau-Ponty proposes in his unfinished but justly famous work, The Visible and the Invisible. It will be argued that both Deleuze’s basic criticisms of phenomenology, as well as he and Guattari’s problems with the concept of the flesh, do not adequately come to grips with Merleau-Ponty’s later philosophy. Merleau-Ponty is not obviously partisan to what Deleuze finds problematic in this tradition, despite continuing to identify himself as a phenomenologist, and is working within a surprisingly similar framework in certain key respects. In fact, in the more positive part of this paper, we will compare Merleau-Ponty’s notion of flesh, and Deleuze’s equally infamous univocity of being, as a means to consider the broader question of the ways in which the two philosophers consider ontological thought, its meaning and its conditions. It is our belief that through properly understanding both positions, a rapprochement, or at least the foundation for one, can be established between these two important thinkers.
Keywords phenomenology  immanence  univocity  Merleau-Ponty  Deleuze  poststructuralism
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Wounds and Scars: Deleuze on the Time and Ethics of the Event.Jack Reynolds - 2007 - Deleuze and Guatarri Studies 1 (2):144-166.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Meontic and the Militant: On Merleau-Ponty’s Relation to Fink∗.Bryan Smyth - 2011 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 19 (5):669 - 699.
Merleau‐Ponty and the Phenomenological Reduction.Joel Smith - 2005 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 48 (6):553-571.
Body.David Morris - 2008 - In Rosalyn Diprose & Jack Reynolds (eds.), Merleau-ponty: Key Concepts. Acumen Publishing. pp. 111-120.


Added to PP index

Total views
644 ( #4,057 of 2,312,817 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
52 ( #8,035 of 2,312,817 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature