- Series: Routledge Classics
- Paperback: 576 pages
- Publisher: Routledge; 2 edition (May 5, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0415278414
- ISBN-13: 978-0415278416
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 48 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #739,723 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Phenomenology of Perception (Routledge Classics) (Volume 85) 2nd Edition
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'Merleau-Ponty was one of the most substantial French philosophers of the twentieth century.' - Times Literary Supplement
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I think Simon de Beauvoir's quote on the cover jacket (above) summarizes it all--"the human condition is at stake in this book."
For fun, here is my summary of the Introduction:
Phenomoneology is about describing, not explaining or analyzing, neither constructing nor constituting. I am not a man or a consciousness, but the absolute source. My existence moves out and sustains my physical and social surroundings. I am in and toward the world and it is in the world that I know myself. I know about dreams and reality because I have an experience of the difference, so my problem is to make explicit my primordial knowledge of the "real, " the perception of the world as our idea of the truth. The world is what we perceive.
Beauty: Kant demonstrated there is a unity of the imagination and the understanding, a unity of subjects prior to the object. As in beauty there is harmony between the sensible and the concept, between myself and another. The hidden art of the imagination gives rise to discovering of oneself and appreciating oneself, not just as the aesthetic which grounds the unity of consciousness, but also as knowledge.
With true/radical reflection: we step back from the world (not withdraw from it) in order to see transcendences, revealing the world's strangeness and paradoxes.
Intellectualism is unaware of the problem of others, the world ( they have no "thisness"). The old Cogito devalues the perception of others and of the world. Unless I find myself situated in the world, I can not find others (inter-subjectivity) or the world. Intellectualism breaks with the world by a constituting consciousness rather than by being grasped directly.
Empiricism presents the absolute belief in the world as the totality of spatio-temporal events, and treats consciousness as a region of that world. Intellectualism and empricism are "naturalistic" positions which hide true perception.
All signification of language is measured by the experience we have of ourselves and this consciousness that we are. Consciousness is the actual presence of myself to myself prior to words, concepts and thematizations. Operative intentionality (qua Husserl) establishes the natural and pre-predicative unity of the world and of our life as seen in our desires, evaluations and landscape. It is the text prior to precise language. Because we are in the world, we are condemned to sense, and to acquire a name in history.
The analytic/empirical is the figure upon which the background of the phenomenal lies. Figure and background are thus the structures of consciousness, irreducible to qualities of consciousness.
There is a misconception of judgment as perception when it loses its constituting function and becomes an explanatory principle, position taking, knowing for me across all moments. False judgment reduces sensing to appearance, denying evidence of phenomena everywhere. To perceive is not to judge but to grasp a sense immanent in the sensible. Judgment is only true if it follows spontaneous organization and the particular configuration of the phenomena.
"I am a consciousness, a singular being who resides nowhere and can make itself present everywhere through intention. Everything that exists, exists as either thing or as consciousness, and there is no in between. The thing is in a place, but perception is nowhere, for if it were situated it could not make other things exist for itself." (p. 39, 2012)
Merlue-Ponty's work here attempts to reshape the philosophical world. Starting from the subjective space, Merlue-Ponty attempts to reshape our understanding of human experience. MP argues that intellectualism (Kant) and empiricism cannot due justice to understanding our experience. Here then, Merlue-Ponty, working to move past Intellectualism and Empiricism the like, takes radical terms to rightly situate our understanding back within ourselves (and out of the objective space!).