Maurice Merleau-Ponty

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Merleau-Ponty, Maurice


Born Mar. 14, 1908, in Rochefort-sur-Mer; died May 4, 1961, in Paris. French idealist philosopher of the phenomenological school; some of MerleauPonty’s views had much in common with existentialism.

Merleau-Ponty studied philosophy at the Ecole Normale Superieure, where he worked closely with J.-P. Sartre (breaking with him in 1953) and with J. Hippolyte. He was also influenced by Gestalt psychology. In 1945, Merleau-Ponty became a professor at the University of Lyon and later at the Sorbonne (1949) and at the College de France (1952).

While working on the unpublished writings of E. Husserl, the founder of phenomenology, Merleau-Ponty arrived at a broader interpretation of intentionality as a characteristic not only of consciousness but of man’s whole relation to the world. Accordingly, he introduced the concept of preconscious (bodily) existence, which is sentient, because it is open to the world and not shut up in itself as a thing is. All of man’s being is the realization and revelation of his existence, which is accomplished by the infinite dialogue of the subject with the world. The subject and the world are the two poles of a single phenomenal field, in which the subject is always situationally bound and therefore can never be completely revealed and known.

In some of his works, Merleau-Ponty was critical of communism and attacked dialectical materialism.


Phénoménologie de la perception. Paris, 1945.
Humanisme et terreur: Essai sur le problème communiste. Paris, 1947.
Sens et nonsens. Paris, 1948.
Les Aventures de la dialectique, 16th ed. Paris, 1955.
Signes. Paris, 1960.
Eloge de la philosophic et autres essais. Paris, 1965.
La Structure du comportement, 6th ed. Paris, 1967.
La Prose du monde. Paris, 1969.
Le Visible et /’invisible. Paris, 1971.


Korolev, E. E. “Zlokliucheniia antimarksizma.” Voprosy filosofii, no. 4, 1956.
Kuznetsov, V. N. Frantsuzskaia burzhuaznaia filosofiia 20 v. Moscow, 1970. Pages 285–94.
De Waelhens, P. A. Une Philosophic de rambigui’te, 3rd ed. Paris, 1968.
Les Temps modernes, 1961, vol. 17, nos. 184–85.
Kwant, R. C. The Phenomenological Philosophy of Merleau-Ponty. Pittsburgh, 1963.
Kwant, R. C. From Phenomenology to Metaphysics. Pittsburgh, 1966.
Langan, T. Merleau-Ponty !$• Critique of Reason. New Haven-London, 1966.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
In place of this, an ontological account of understanding is required, and such an account can be found in the philosophies of Alfred North Whitehead and Maurice Merleau-Ponty.
Citing Pyrrhonian skepticism, Macke references the term ataraxia, meaning nothing is good or bad, and uses it throughout the chapter as he discusses Gregory Bateson and Jurgen Ruesch's (1951) four levels of communicative experience, Martin Heidegger's (1954/1968) concept of thinking, Maurice Merleau-Ponty's (1968) concept of flesh, Michel Foucault's (2005) concept of "self-care," and the influence of our families of origin in terms of our intimacy with others and psychological boundaries.
At the Existentialist Cafe: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails with Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Others
Dr Smith will talk about key thinkers whose work has run parallel to this artistic enquiry such as Maurice Merleau-Ponty. Tonight 6-7pm, Bluecoat, School Lane
Keeping guiding threads in view, Bannon proposes to construct a phenomenological conception of nature drawing from Latour, Martin Heidegger and Maurice Merleau-Ponty.
Pompidou Centre curator Christine Macel enters the path cleared by Perez-Oramas and intersects it with the psychoanalytical in her essay, "Lygia Clark: At the Border of Art." Brazilian culture and its obsession with the body peaked in the 1950s, when radical art critic Mario Pedrosa, a founder of the Workers Party which rules Brazil today, introduced Maurice Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology as well as Carl Jung's theories of the archetypes of the collective unconscious to Clark and her compatriots in the Neo-Concretist group, including Helio Oiticica, her sometime collaborator.
Fanon's deployment of the notion of the body schema follows thinkers such as Maurice Merleau-Ponty (2012) and Paul Schilder (1950) in theorizing perception as a process of mutual envelopment of inner and outer space, whereby sensations and movements reciprocally express each other, producing a felt sense of inner (bodily) space as a relation to particular situations.
Through the theories of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Gilles Deleuze, Vaughan compares the films of Jean-Luc Godard, which assess the audio visual illusion of empirical observation or objectivity, with the films of Alain Resnais, in which the sound-image creates inventive depictions of individual experience or subjectivity.
Es autor de la obra Maurice Merleau-Ponty. Filosofia, corporalidad y percepcion (Buenos Aires, Rhesis, 2012) y de numerosos trabajos academicos acerca de fenomenologia y corporalidad publicados en revistas como Chiasmi International, Dianoia, Arete, Agora, Contrastes, Cadernos Espinosanos, Devenires, etc.
Por otra parte, desde el Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Cientificas y Tecnicas, de Buenos Aires, Argentina, la colaboracion de Carlos Daniel Velvedere quiere dar cuenta del "diferendo" entre Michel Henry y Maurice Merleau-Ponty, con respecto a la constitucion del cuerpo propio y a la descripcion de la carne.