Routledge – 2007 – 276 pages
Series: The Routledge Philosophers
Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908-1961) is one of the most important philosophers of the Twentieth century. His theories of perception and the role of the body have had an enormous impact on the humanities and social sciences, yet the full scope of his contribution not only to phenomenology but philosophy generally is only now becoming clear. In this lucid and comprehensive introduction, Taylor Carman explains and assesses the full range of Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy.
Beginning with an overview of Merleau-Ponty’s life and work, subsequent chapters cover fundamental aspects of Merleau-Ponty’s thought, including his philosophy of perception and intentionality; the role of the body in relation to perception; philosophy of history and culture; and his writings on art and aesthetics, particularly the work of Cezanne. A final chapter considers Merleau-Ponty’s importance today, examining his philosophy in light of recent developments in philosophy of mind and cognitive science.
Merleau-Ponty is essential reading for students of phenomenology, existentialism and Twentieth century philosophy. It is also ideal for anyone in the humanities and social sciences seeking an introduction to his work.
‘Carman gives a fresh, clear, and convincing account of Merleau-Ponty's thought. His book is the best available thus far and should be required reading for those interested in Merleau-Ponty's original and important ideas and how they relate both to our pervasive perceptual experience and to current philosophical debate.’ – Hubert Dreyfus, University of California, Berkeley, USA
'This is the best introduction to Merleau-Ponty's work available. It provides a clear and lucid overview of the whole of Merleau-Ponty’s thought, presenting the central ideas and themes of his writings in an accessible yet rigorous way. As such, it will be of interest to beginners and advanced scholars alike.' – Mark Wrathall, University of California, Riverside, USA
'…a wonderful exposition of Merleau-Ponty's philosophy as a whole. It offers clear explanations of Merleau-Ponty's ideas and some of the most significant theories and movements that influenced him, and shows how his thinking developed across the course of his life. In addition, Carman has written with great panache.' – Komarine Romdenh-Romluc, University of Nottingham, UK
'Carman's accounting is nuanced, closely argued, and exceptionally clear. His introduction covers the whole of Merleau-Ponty's considerable corpus, tracing its development and exhibiting its continued relevance for contemporary debates in phenomenology and psychology, philosophy of mind, and metaphysics. It will be enormously useful to teachers and students seeking an accessible introduction to Merleau-Ponty's writings.' – Wayne Martin, University of Essex, UK
'This book is extremely well written – very clear and engaging – and, with regard to its representation of Merleau-Ponty's philosophy, the account is comprehensive and insightful. I would recommend this book as the first and main commentary for students to consult.' – Sebastian Gardner, University College London, UK
Chronology. Introduction. 1. Life and Works 2. Intentionality and Perception 3. Body and World 4. Self and Others 5. History and Politics 6. Vision and Style 7. Legacy and Relevance. Glossary. Notes. Bibliography. Index