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Phenomenology of Perception

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  4,540 Ratings  ·  74 Reviews
First published in 1945, Maurice Merleau-Ponty's monumental Phenomenologie de la perception signalled the arrival of a major new philosophical and intellectual voice in post-war Europe. Breaking with the prevailing picture of existentialism and phenomenology at the time, it has become one of the landmark works of twentieth-century thought. This new translation, the first f ...more
Hardcover, 606 pages
Published November 28th 2011 by Routledge (first published 1945)
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David M
May 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
All hitherto existing models of perception are false. From the outset empiricism would do violence by mis-describing its most basic datum, the act of perceiving. Idealism would come about to try and correct the absurdities that arise when empiricism is taken as doctrine. However, by failing to provide an alternate account of perception, idealism left the crucial point unchallenged.

There are no atoms of perception. Perception is already a whole. That, I think, is the crucial point, and from ther
Dec 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In some ways this may be the most phenomenal philosophy book that I have ever read. In it, Merleau-Ponty attempts to present a description of how human beings perceive the world in which they live. He is often surprisingly successful. The evidence for me came in a startling manner. While reading the section about perceiving the body, I had an experience for which I have no words, but that perhaps comes closest to what certain mystics would call enlightenment. But it was a completely bodily enlig ...more
I have to suspect that this is probably the most thrilling and exciting book I have ever read, in any genre, in any format, on any subject matter. Just an astounding book. Electrifying. On fire.

Makes you want to race around the room and scramble up the walls like a lab mouse on stimulants. You suddenly realize that so much of the topics we typically preoccupy ourselves with are hardly even apprehended correctly by our own senses. It is not just that we 'glance' at things, 'half-hear' what is sp
Ronald Morton
When we want to analyze perception, we transport these objects into consciousness. We commit what psychologists call “the experience error,” that is, we immediately assume that what we know to exist among things is also in our consciousness of them. We build perception out of the perceived. And since the perceived is obviously only accessible through perception, in the end we understand neither.
What begins as an exploration of perception - one which interjects the body between consciousness and
Joshua Stein
Merleau-Ponty is, for me, the best writer in phenomenology since Husserl, who created the damned thing. While Phenomenology of Perception is clearly a product of its time, and the available psychology, the amount of interesting work that Merleau-Ponty is able to do in what is essentially proto-cognitive science is very impressive. His work is carried forward in the writing of Alva Noë and others, and I do think that the ways that Merleau-Ponty gets updated and the ways that he more-or-less stays ...more
From what I comprehended of the Phenomenology of Perception, it is a stunning, absolutely stunning work of philosophy-- rigorous and scientific while at the same time very aware of the limits of human knowledge, radical without devolving into cant, deeply humanistic, and, unsurprisingly, exceptionally perceptive.

For Merleau-Ponty novices: our minds are nested within our bodies which are nested within the world, and any attempts to reduce the world to an "idealist" or "materialist" conception rel
Dec 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy

First, I must admit it took me many months to read this book. Frankly, I can only handle one chapter at time. But like many such books, the work pays off as one slowly reflects on the slow, detailed exposition of a philosophy. In some ways, I see this book as a sequel to Schopenhauer's World of Will and Representation (a book that takes even longer to read). Merleau-Ponty takes the world of representation -- or perception -- and deeply explores how consciousness arises, not as a thing itself, b
Ann Michael
Apr 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not an easy read, but a thought-provoking book. Merleau-Ponty essentially sets forth reasons to rethink philosophy's approaches in an age of science and psychology; not a call to end philosophy or render it irrelevant, though. He suggests that philosophy as a discipline can become MORE relevant if philosophers admit of phenomena and look to the ontology of being as an aspect of phenomena. He's not a reductionist; though he is often classed with the existentialists, he's not that, either. Nor wou ...more
Linus Ragnhage
Jan 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This work is - together with Nietzsche's "Beyond Good and Evil" and Heidegger's "Being and Time" - a perfect cure for anyone who has overdosed on abstract thinking. Its message has yet to be heard by a wider audience and is bound to gain new appreciation as the currently dominant mode of thinking begins to falter. A thorough background in philosophy might be required to understand much of what Merleau-Ponty writes, but, then again, if you have not already spent a substantial amount of time in th ...more
Gizem Kendik
ve yani abi size bikaç sene verdim belki bizi şu bedene bağlı sınırlamalardan kurtarırsınız diye. hollywood bilkmkurgularından öteye taşıyamadınız. hala bedenime ve yeteneklerime bağlıyım, seçtirtmediniz ki raftan beğendiğimi alayım. ayrıca kan, kemik, damar falan seviyorum. alakasız. Atın artık goodreadsten beni atın. selamlar merleau ponty.
May 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Πέρα από προσωπικές κρίσεις (…), η Φαινομενολογία της αντίληψης είναι ίσως η πιο σημαντική και φιλόδοξη φιλοσοφική απόπειρα στη Γαλλία, μετά τον Bergson. Πιο στιβαρή από το Είναι και μηδέν του Sartre και πιο σοβαρή από τις μεταμοντέρνες πενιές. Τώρα, ότι ποτέ δεν ήταν της μόδας, κι αυτή και ο συγγραφέας της, παρά τις τόσες εναλλασσόμενες παριζιάνικες μόδες, έχει ενδιαφέρον. Πάντως, εάν θέλει κάποιος να μάθει σύγχρονη γαλλική φιλοσοφία, δεν μπορεί να προσπεράσει αυτό το μείζον κείμενο. Βέβαια, δ ...more
Otto Lehto
Sep 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
[N.B. This review is based on only reading about 1/2 of the book. This could, and undoubtedly necessary will, cloud my judgment. So take my conclusions with a grain of salt. But, in fact, I believe this is the sort of book where you DO NOT have to read every sentence and chapter.]

Merleau-Ponty's classic text is a mixture of old and new.

It carries heavy traces of Husserl and Heidegger in it. And of course Sartre.

Historically, it follows in the footsteps of Descartes, Kant, Berkeley, Spinoza, Ber
Andrew Northrop
Aug 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Merleau-Ponty's approach is flawless, as he uses case studies perfectly; demonstrating how those deprived of senses can help us understand our own perceptions of the world for example. This approach makes a book that appears daunting in size and scope extremely engaging. The best intro to phenomenology out there, as it's always conscious of other theoretical frameworks in a way that doesn't make it hard to understand, but encourages further reading should you feel inclined.
Aug 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This should required reading for humans. and robots.
Ayça Baran
"Dünya düşündüğüm şey değil, yaşadığım şeydir."
Aug 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Capolavoro della Fenomenologia e, in particolar modo, uno dei testi più importanti del Novecento filosofico, la Fenomenologia della Percezione di Maurice Merleau-Ponty è senz'ombra di dubbio una delle eredità più significative del secolo scorso, sia per i termini in cui viene condotta un'analisi così impegnativa, sia per i risultati a cui essa riesce a pervenire, importantissimi per lo sviluppo delle scienze cognitive e, per quanto concerne certi aspetti, per la nostra esperienza di vita.

Coming to Merleau-Ponty through Heidegger was a kind if shock to my system. I was not prepared for the deeply rational language of MP's study. Still, he brought to Heidegger's inherence, or being-in-the-world a very full-"embodied" discussion of our indissoluble link to that world via our own bodies. In most respects, MP's conception of being-in-the-world follows Heidegger's original, yet there are three starkly divergent thoughts I can identify from a first read:
1. Merleau-Ponty wanted phenomen
Sep 08, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in deep, intricate philosophy, phenomenology and psychology
This book may not interest the casual reader and involves wading through (and re-reading) dense and nuanced arguments, but for those who are curious about phenomenology or alternative approaches to psychology from the "black box" input-output processing model typified by behaviorism, this is a book well worth spending some time with. Merleau-Ponty challenges the bifurcation of immanence and transcendence the emerged out of the Cartesian-Newtonian paradigm, such as the subject-object or mind-body ...more
Oct 07, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"What is phenomenology? It may seem strange that this question has still to be asked half a century after the first works of Husserl" So says Merleau-Ponty in the opening pages of `Phenomenology of Perception,' perhaps the major work of phenomenology after `Being and Time.' Merleau-Ponty sought, rather brilliantly, to redirect attention to the human body as the locus of our being-in-the-world for phenomenological inquiry. Unfortunately, I am convinced that Merleau-Ponty's efforts to turn the res ...more
Feb 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Along with Heidegger, Sartre, Beauvoir, and Levinas, Merleau-Ponty is an "existential phenomenologist": a philosopher concerned with the experiences that constitute human existence. He's often overlooked in favor of Heidegger or Sartre, but this is unfair; his analysis of human embodiment not only build on theirs, but go much, much further.

Phenomenology of Perception is concerned with the first-person experience of being embodied, or of having a body. Merleau-Ponty shows how basic features of hu
Sep 15, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I haven't time to find the exact quote but somewhere in this book Merleau-Ponty - or 'Merleau-Ponty-Ponty' as I have affectionately come to think of him - states that all the best writers never read what they have written, he then goes on to do his very best at disproving this theory. But to be fair there is some really great stuff in this book: once you get past the first couple of hundred pages and get to the chapters on space and temporality this book works as a thoroughly absorbing meditatio
Nov 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finally finished this thing! No insightful comments at this time, but this two-month reading experience was a good one. Reading phenomenology is especially good in a variety of settings, mindsets, fevers, loud rooms...

Anyone who's having trouble don't put it down. It's not really that hard to read, it just might take a while. Philosophy is metabolized slowly. (And poo poo to the reviewer who said she "read it in a few hours." A novel can be read and enjoyed in a matter of hours, but not this.)
Jessica Zu
Oct 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: translation, phil493
MP is such a wonderful read. I strongly recommend this to all those who feel sth missing in Science and God.
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every time through this book reveals a whole load of new insights and perspectives by which to examine the intricacies, seeming paradoxes, and beauty of the embodied experience of perception and what that means for all aspects of life. This book will connect you to your body and your general experience of life and living through that body in ways that you could never have imagined, to the definite benefit of your quality of life and the quality of thoughts you have about your life.

The book is un
Nin Harris
Jan 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a remarkably profound book. It manages to both elevate and ground the field of phenomenology. Never has the ready-to-hand been made clearer for me. I will likely reread it many times again, because rarely does a book of philosophy speak so directly not just to mind and consciousness, but to that ineffable thing we humans call a heart.
Dr. A
Dec 03, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this and reviews of other classics in Western Philosophy on the History page of (a thinkPhilosophy Production).

Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception represents a new direction in the movement of transcendental phenomenology inaugurated by Edmund Husserl’s Cartesian Meditiations and Martin Heidegger’s existential phenomenology in Being and Time.

The motto of phenomenology is “to the things themselves,” a call for a return to (human) experience
Ralowe Ampu
Jun 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
the ends is the means, "your abode is your act itself. your act is you," on the last page in an excerpt from the wwii memoir of antoine de saint-exupery. i mean i guess i feel better with that notion. kinda. wahhh. so doing is one with undoing: how can such a coexistent notion resist complacency? not trying to hate on hippies. especially after here having them afford me such fertile ground for tranquility. such blissful writing here. up the hippie talk, definitely, even with the potentially psyc ...more
Aug 05, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: français
Quand je lis, j'ai l'habitude d'indiquer les passages qui me frappent avec un morceau de papier (jamais je n'écorne les pages !). Dans un bon roman, je veux retrouver les extraits les plus éloquents, les plus émouvants. Pour un oeuvre d'histoire ou de philosophie, je marque tous ce qui mérite l'étude plus approfondie. Lorsque j'ai achevé la lecture d'un(e) philosophe, une véritable forêt pousse dans les pages.

J'en ai lu 200 pages ; je n'ai marqué qu'une seule page -- et ça pour une note de bas d
Sep 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Here, friends, have a little philosophy from my list of favorites... This book is both profound and extremely accessible / readable / not 'full-of-itself' (like guattari). Read it in a span of a few hours, add a bit of Plato's "Theaetetus" for good measure. If you're architecturally minded, also add Steven Holl's "Phenomenology of Perception" to the mix. If this isn't good chemistry, I don't know what chemistry is.
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Maurice Merleau-Ponty (pronounced [mɔʁis mɛʁlopɔti] 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 un ...more
More about Maurice Merleau-Ponty...
“The body is our general medium for having a world.” 80 likes
“The perception of other people and the intersubjective world is problematic only for adults. The child lives in a world which he unhesitatingly believes accessible to all around him. He has no awares of himself or of others as private subjectives, nor does he suspect that all of us, himself included, are limited to one certain point of view of the world. That is why he subjects neither his thoughts, in which he believes as they present themselves, to any sort of criticism. He has no knowledge of points of view. For him men are empty heads turned towards one single, self-evident world where everything takes place, even dreams, which are, he thinks, in his room, and even thinking, since it is not distinct from words.” 33 likes
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