The Phenomenology of Merleau-Ponty: A Search for the Limits of Consciousness

The Phenomenology of Merleau-Ponty: A Search for the Limits of Consciousness

The Phenomenology of Merleau-Ponty: A Search for the Limits of Consciousness

The Phenomenology of Merleau-Ponty: A Search for the Limits of Consciousness

Excerpt

Maurice Merleau-Ponty died on May 3, 1961, at the age of fifty-three at the moment when he had barely begun a new and important stage in the working out of his philosophy. Thus this thought which has been referred to as "arduous and disconcerting," which has been called a philosophy of ambiguity, terminates in incompletion and in ambiguity. Under the impact of feelings aroused by this unexpected and tragic death, Paul Ricoeur gave expression to a widespread feeling in saying that the incompletion of a philosophy of incompleteness is doubly disconcerting. And he went to the bottom of things when he remarked that what was tragic in this death, in this interruption of a thought, "is that the philosophical basis of the major book of 1945 -- the Phenomenology of Perception -- had for a long time been called into question." Indeed, the intention of the philosopher's last, unfinished manuscript, The Visible and the Invisible, was to take up, deepen, and correct his entire philosophy as he had previously formulated it.

This is to say that before his death Merleau-Ponty had become aware of the insufficiencies of the argument in the Phenomenology of Perception.

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