Monday, May 22, 2006

Merleau-Ponty Resources

Given my interests in psychology, philosophy of mind, and embodiment, I have found Merleau-Ponty's thought to be incredibly thought provoking and useful. However, it can sometimes be hard to find good Merleau-Ponty sources. I attribute this to at least two reasons, the second stemming from the first: people tend to 1) emphasize his Husserlian roots and 2) forget his Heideggerian roots. I will admit that my own acceptance of these reasons stem from a claim given by one of my old professors, Mark Wrathall, who's class introduced me to Merleau-Ponty. Wrathall thinks that Merleau-Ponty's attribution of primacy to Husserl in his Introduction to Phenomenology of Perception is more of a political move than not, showing his distaste for Heidegger's Soviet Socialist affiliations. My own reading (siding with Mark Wrathall, Hubert Dreyfus, Sean Kelly, etc.) seems to validate this belief: Merleau-Ponty is thoroughly Heideggerian, and secondarily Husserlian. This is a point of contention in some circles of Merleau-Pontian scholarship, so I will leave it at this and let the reader decide for herself/himself.

Here are a number of links and online papers that I've personally found useful in understanding and applying Merleau-Ponty's thought in my own studies:

In addition to the above, I believe that Alva Noë's work on embodied cognition is quite close to what Merleau-Ponty is trying to say. I would also suggest Samuel Todes' Body and World as a good advancement on certain aspects of Merleau-Ponty's thought.


  1. Flynn appears to accept Merleau-Ponty's acceptance of Husserl over Heidegger. This is a particularly telling statement that simultaneously diminishes Heidegger's influence and misunderstands Heidegger's claim: "Unlike Heidegger, he does not have a dismissive attitude towards science, namely, that it 'does not think' or that it is merely calculation." Practically every mention of Heidegger is made to differentiate his thought from Merleau-Ponty's. Again, there is disagreement on this matter.

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Anonymous The Long Fall of Prose said...

Good day.

I was impressed at how extensive this post is. I'm wondering if there's any resource on Merleau-Ponty's work; that is, an online text of his Phenomenology of Perception. I am currently studying his line of thought and I would highly appreciate it if you would be able to give me a link or something. ^_^

E-mail if you can:


10:05 AM  

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