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Merleau-Ponty's Philosophy (Studies in Continental Thought) Paperback – May 7, 2008
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"Hass has a profound understanding of Merleau-Ponty's thought." ―Leonard Lawlor, University of Memphis
"[T]his is one of the few [Merleau-Ponty books] that is genuinely important." ―Symposium
"[T]his ambitious text is well worth reading... Toadvine offers a bold, yet carefully constructed reading of the early ontology oriented by Merleau-Ponty’s later self-evaluations of it." ―Environmental Ethics
"... a valuable contribution to scholarship bridging analytic and Continental concerns.... clear and largely jargon-free.... Recommended." ―Choice, January 2009
"This book will quickly become the staple Merleau-Ponty reference for both graduate and undergraduate students." ―Dorothea Olkowski, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
One would think that scholarship on Merleau-Ponty nearly a half-century after his death would consist largely of mopping up disputed details. But longtime Merleau-Ponty scholar Hass (Muhlenberg College) contends that central points of Merleau-Ponty's philosophy, particularly his understanding of cognition, remain largely misunderstood. Hass's aim is twofold: (1) to interpret and defend major strands in Merleau-Ponty's overall thought, including his phenomenological method, work on perception, embodiment, intersubjectivity, and ontology in a way accessible to relative beginners; and (2) to excavate his theory of expression. For Merleau-Ponty, conceptualization and language are not representational products of the mind's access to an ideal or transcendental realm, but rather evidences of the multifaceted expressive possibilities of bodily life. After extensive stage-setting, Hass delves into philosophy of mathematics to make t! he case that Merleau-Ponty's model of cognition is a compelling alternative to current theories. Along the way, he considers many of Merleau-Ponty's most influential critics, including Foucault and Derrida, to arrive at a nuanced assessment of Merleau-Ponty's weaknesses as well as his strengths. The result is a valuable contribution to scholarship bridging analytic and Continental concerns. While clear and largely jargon-free, it remains bracing going. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers. --Choice A. B. Curry, St. Joseph College, January 2009
From the Publisher
"This book will quickly become the staple Merleau-Ponty reference for both graduate and undergraduate students." --Dorothea Olkowski, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
Top Customer Reviews
Merleau-Ponty was a phenomenologist in the tradition of Husserl and Heidegger. Phenomenology has drawn a great deal of criticism particularly from philosophers in the analytic traditions of philosophy. Phenomenology is accused of being irrational, subjectivistic, and immune to criticism. Hass attempts, in his introduction to this book, to defend phenomenology from these criticisms and he does an excellent job.Read more ›
Hass is not afraid to point out some potential problems in Merleau-Ponty's work, and this unbiased attitude of inquiry brings to the book a balanced outlook and some useful connections to the theories of other continental philosophers, especially Derrida and Levinas. Hass also describes with some clarity the key differences between Husserl and Merleau-Ponty, and this clears up (for the relatively uninitiated, in whose ranks I place myself) some of the difficulties in the beginning of "Phenomenology of Perception," not always the most approachable of texts. Excellent, and well worth the effort to get to grips with the work of a major continental philosopher.
A small caveat: for some reason, the hyper-linked end notes on the Kindle for iPhone edition I purchased don't work at all, which makes for time-consuming reading. Hopefully the publishers will sort this problem out in due course.