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Phenomenology of Perception (Routledge Classics) Paperback – May 5, 2002

17 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0415278416 ISBN-10: 0415278414 Edition: 2nd

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Editorial Reviews


'Merleau-Ponty was one of the most substantial French philosophers of the twentieth century.' - Times Literary Supplement

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Product Details

  • Series: Routledge Classics
  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 2 edition (May 5, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415278414
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415278416
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 5.1 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #251,373 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

203 of 204 people found the following review helpful By The Merleau-Pontificator on March 4, 2007
Merleau-Ponty's work is nothing less than a classic, one of the great works of philosophy in the 20th century. It should go without saying, then, that this work should be made available in an up-to-date and scholarly translation.

Unfortunately, this is what Routledge has refused to do. Not only does this "new" edition maintain all of the known mistakes and inconsistencies of the original translation (most of which were not corrected when the translation was revised twenty years ago), but it also introduces literally dozens of type-setting errors. In addition to all of the obvious mistakes in punctuation and spelling (e.g., "intelfection" on p. xx; "in a world" instead of "in a word" on p. 129; "deralizes" for "derealizes" on p. 140; "writes" for "writers," p. 163; "Rinswanger" for "Binswanger," note 6, p. 185, and the list goes on and on), you will also encounter such lovely gems as "Bergson's inferiority" (instead of "interiority", p. 67) and "adduction" transformed into "abduction" -- when distinguishing between the two is precisely the point of Merleau-Ponty's discussion (p. 243). In short, an already flawed translation has now been bungled into a bloody mess. If you are reading this book for the first time, you would be well-advised to check the used bookstores for a copy of the earlier edition. If you are trying to use this text with students, lots of luck to you!

It is also worth mentioning that Routledge has again failed to include a translation of Merleau-Ponty's original table of contents in this edition, so that many English readers are still unaware that he provided a detailed outline of the entire text to guide the reader. A translation by Daniel Guerriere is available in the Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 10, no. 1 (1979) - although, of course, the page numbers no longer correspond to this "new" edition.
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68 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Idiosyncrat on July 9, 2003
Well, not narrowly on the philosophy of mind; that'd be an analytic-biased description (and one that leaves out all the things such people may extraneous and annoying in this book).
The field of philosophy of mind in Anglophone philosophy has all but ignored Merleau-Ponty's work, much to its disadvantage. Connectionism and dynamic systems theory as applied to the mental are seen as a "new" development, but the Gestalt psychologists and Merleau-Ponty had very much the same ideas long before. And a bunch of other ones, which to Anglophone ears may sound like they're from that other planet which lies across the Channel, but which deserve to be taken seriously.
Warning: this book is HARD to read, all the more so because of cultural differences between analytic and continental philosophers. The translation is also not very good; if you can read French, go for the original. It helps to read other work ABOUT Merleau-Ponty; M.C. Dillon's "Merleau-Ponty's Ontology" is the best book I've found in this regard.
Also, I think it's better to first read the following two things before tackling the book: (a) M-P's "The Primacy of Perception" (the lecture, collected in the book of the same name) for a shorter summary of his goals with the book; (b) the first chapter (and maybe the second, too) of his first book The Structure of Behavior, which discusses in great detail Merleau-Ponty's understanding of Gestalt Psychology (M-P actually refers the reader to this material repeatedly in the first few chapters of the Phenomenology of Perception).
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By P. Costello VINE VOICE on February 16, 2006
This book can be part of an excellent upper-division course for undergraduates on the method of philosophical description called phenomenology. Particularly in Merleau-Ponty's description of the lived body and of our intersubjective relations there lies such inspiring attention to our own experience that both myself and my students are often left breathless. This book is both philosophy and poetry, and both aspects of this book are clear and well-researched.

Contrary to the unfounded views of one reviewer, I would argue WITH Merleau-Ponty (who says as much in several key places, including his essay "The Philosopher and His Shadow") that Merleau-Ponty's work here is simply an extension of Edmund Husserl's work. Thus, the book fits in nicely after a discussion of some of Husserl's _Cartesian Meditations_ (found in Donn Welton's _Essential Husserl_). Students have also found Merleau-Ponty to be compatible with de Beauvoir and Sartre (both of whom he knew and wrote for and to), Heidegger, and Derrida.

In my most recent course, I have used John Russon's compelling book _Human Experience_ first as a way to show some of the phenomenological themes in Merleau-Ponty's book before getting the students to hunker down and try to pull apart Husserl (who is quite difficult) and then Merleau-Ponty (who is a kind of reward for doing the rigorous discipline of reading Husserl). All in all, this is a book that will surely motivate some students towards graduate school work in Continental philosophy.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Alex Johnston on October 14, 2006
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While reading this book you get a sense of a man truly on the verge of profound truth. It's a difficult read (the section on time alone will make you wonder if the book is written in English) yet it's importance is still being discovered. More grounded in science than Sartre or Heidegger, MP's work is that of a supremely disciplined thinker, one who builds a case and sees it through a series of arguments supported by actual evidence. (although the evidence is from studies done 50 years ago, it's impressive how much his work still holds up in the face of current cognitive science research)

I have two complaints with the book. One is the translation. While I'm sure MP is a difficult read in any language, the sentence structure is nearly incomprehensible at times. It's hard for me to believe that the best, most accurate translation would leave it so awkward. My second problem is the index. If you ever want to find anything in the book after you read it I suggest you dogear it because the index is a cruel joke.
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