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date: 18 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In contrast to the common interpretation of Merleau-Ponty’s work as divided into two or three distinct phases, this chapter illustrates a remarkably coherent trajectory of his philosophical style. Although the primary object of study of this chapter is Merleau-Ponty’s “middle” period (1945–52), it argues that this period is emblematic of his deepening understanding of the transcendental force of phenomenological description and of the ontological weight of perception. After establishing a “double origin” of Phenomenology of Perception, the chapter suggests the need to emphasize the methodology and not the content of this book. This allows for a shift from the celebrated analyses of embodiment toward two underappreciated conceptual structures that are named “perception as communication” and “consciousness as trajectory.” The final section explores how Merleau-Ponty’s methodology thus shapes his works that immediately follow Phenomenology of Perception, particularly in terms of political theory, aesthetics, and structuralism.

Keywords: Merleau-Ponty, phenomenological description, phenomenological ontology, embodiment, perception, consciousness, trajectory

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