The Visible and the Invisible
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The Visible and the Invisible

4.29 of 5 stars 4.29  ·  rating details  ·  227 ratings  ·  7 reviews
The Visible and the Invisible contains the unfinished manuscript and working notes of the book Merleau-Ponty was writing when he died. The text is devoted to a critical examination of Kantian, Husserlian, Bergsonian, and Sartrean method, followed by the extraordinary "The Intertwining--The Chiasm," that reveals the central pattern of Merleau-Ponty's own thought. The workin...more
Paperback, 338 pages
Published January 1st 1969 by Northwestern University Press (first published 1964)
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This is... not an easy book to read. I probably only got about 35-40% of it, to be perfectly honest. Having a grounding in the work of the philosophers to whom Merleau-Ponty is largely responding would have helped immensely; as it was, I have only a moderate familiarity with Descartes and a surface understanding of Kant. I had had no experience with Husserl. If you're interested in reading this book, I strongly recommend shoring up your background in these other thinkers first.

That said, the mom...more
What could have been is probably better than what is or was. M-P, who often wrote that uncompleted works were sometimes more complete than finished ones, died before finishing this book. What we have is a section that is a negative critique of philosophies of reflection, intuition, and dialectic, 5 or 6 finished pages that begin a positive ontology, and a bunch of "working notes" which are notoriously impenetrable. Yikes.

What the working notes reveal is that The Visible and the Invisible was go...more
Ben Kearvell
Just as dense as Phenomenology of Perception (the 'working notes' will set your eyeballs on fire), Merleau-Ponty posits Being in the world, and the world in Being. Experience--consciousness--cannot be extricated from extension; that is to say the world as we have it (extension) constitutes consciousness. One's interiority depends on the world and vice versa.
Dec 04, 2012 Eugen added it
His unfinished masterpiece. The chapter on "The Intertwining" might just be an analysis at the farthest limit phenomenology permits. Beyond lies the Scylla and Charybdis of metaphysical speculation and the vortex of limitless deconstruction.
Daniel Douglas
Another great unfinished work in Phenomenology. Merleau-Ponty is a powerhouse and it was sad that he was taken too soon.
Kelly Hicks
We'll see how helpful this is for the diss. A good intro to phenomenology.
Nothingness *is* sexy.
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  • On the Way to Language
  • The Logic of Sense
  • Totality and Infinity:  An Essay on Exteriority
  • Cartesian Meditations: An Introduction to Phenomenology
  • Being and Event
  • Philosophical Hermeneutics
  • The Animal That Therefore I Am
  • Negative Dialectics
  • Matter and Memory
  • Process and Reality
  • The Life of the Mind
  • The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity: Twelve Lectures
  • The Writing of the Disaster
  • Oneself as Another
Maurice Merleau-Ponty (pronounced [mɔʁis mɛʁlopɔ̃ti] in French; March 14, 1908 – May 3, 1961) was a French phenomenological philosopher, strongly influenced by Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger in addition to being closely associated with Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. At the core of Merleau-Ponty's philosophy is a sustained argument for the foundational role that perception plays in u...more
More about Maurice Merleau-Ponty...
Phenomenology of Perception The Primacy of Perception: And Other Essays on Phenomenological Psychology, the Philosophy of Art, History and Politics The World of Perception Sense and Non-Sense L'oeil et l'esprit

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“...the real is coherent and probable because it is real, not real because it is coherent...” 0 likes
“The color is yet another variant in another dimension of variation, that of its relations with the surroundings: this red is what it is only by connecting up from its place with other reds about it, with which it forms a constellation, or with other colors it dominates or that dominate it, that it attracts or that attracts it, that it repels or that repel it. In short, it is a certain node in the woof of the simultaneous and the successive. It is a concretion of visibility, it is not an atom. The red dress a fortiori holds with all its fibers onto the fabric of
the visible, and thereby onto a fabric of invisible being. A punctuation in the field of red things, which includes the tiles of roof tops, the flags of gatekeepers and of the Revolution, certain terrains near Aix or in Madagascar, it is also a punctuation in the field of red garments, which includes, along with the dresses of women, robes of professors, bishops, and advocate generals, and also in the field of adornments and that of uniforms. And its red literally is not the same as it appears in one constellation or in the other, as the pure essence of the Revolution of 1917 precipitates in it, or that of the eternal feminine, or that of the public prosecutor, or that of the gypsies dressed like hussars who reigned twenty-five years ago over an inn on the Champs-Elysées. A certain red is also a fossil drawn up from the depths of imaginary worlds. If we took all these participations into account, we would recognize that a naked color, and in general a visible, is not a chunk of absolutely hard, indivisible being, offered all naked to a vision which could be only total or null, but is rather a sort of straits between exterior horizons and interior horizons ever gaping open, something that comes to touch lightly and makes diverse regions of the colored or visible world resound at the distances, a certain differentiation, an ephemeral modulation of this world—less a color or a thing, therefore, than a difference between things and colors, a momentary crystallization of colored being or of
visibility. Between the alleged colors and visibles, we would find anew the tissue that lines them, sustains them, nourishes them, and which for its part is not a thing, but a possibility, a latency, and a flesh of things.”
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