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Book Title: The World of Perception|
The author of the book: Maurice Merleau-Ponty
Date of issue: July 9th 2004
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 659 KB
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ISBN 13: 9780415312714
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Reader ratings: 7.9
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'Painting does not imitate the world, but is a world of its own.'
In 1948, Maurice Merleau-Ponty wrote and delivered on French radio a series of seven lectures on the theme of perception. Translated here into English for the first time, they offer a lucid and concise insight into one of the great philosophical minds of the twentieth-century.
These lectures explore themes central not only to Merleau-Ponty's philosophy but phenomenology as a whole. He begins by rejecting the idea - inherited from Descartes and influential within science - that perception is unreliable and prone to distort the world around us. Merleau-Ponty instead argues that perception is inseparable from our senses and it is how we make sense of the world.
Merleau-Ponty explores this guiding theme through a brilliant series of reflections on science, space, our relationships with others, animal life and art. Throughout, he argues that perception is never something learned and then applied to the world. As creatures with embodied minds, he reminds us that we are born perceiving and share with other animals and infants a state of constant, raw, unpredictable contact with the world. He provides vivid examples with the help of Kafka, animal behaviour and above all modern art, particularly the work of Cezanne.
A thought-provoking and crystalline exploration of consciousness and the senses, The World of Perception is essential reading for anyone interested in the work of Merleau-Ponty, twentieth-century philosophy and art.
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Read information about the authorMaurice 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 understanding the world as well as engaging with the world. Like the other major phenomenologists Merleau-Ponty expressed his philosophical insights in writings on art, literature, and politics; however Merleau-Ponty was the only major phenomenologist of the first half of the Twentieth Century to engage extensively with the sciences, and especially with descriptive psychology. Because of this engagement, his writings have become influential with the recent project of naturalizing phenomenology in which phenomenologists utilize the results of psychology and cognitive science.
Merleau-Ponty was born in Rochefort-sur-Mer, Charente-Maritime. His father was killed in World War 1 when Merleau-Ponty was 3. After secondary schooling at the lycée Louis-le-Grand in Paris, Maurice Merleau-Ponty became a student at the École Normale Supérieure, where he studied alongside Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Simone Weil. He passed the agrégation in philosophy in 1930.
Merleau-Ponty first taught at Chartres, then became a tutor at the École Normale Supérieure, where he was awarded his doctorate on the basis of two important books: La structure du comportement (1942) and Phénoménologie de la Perception (1945).
After teaching at the University of Lyon from 1945 to 1948, Merleau-Ponty lectured on child psychology and education at the Sorbonne from 1949 to 1952. He was awarded the Chair of Philosophy at the Collège de France from 1952 until his death in 1961, making him the youngest person to have been elected to a Chair.
Besides his teaching, Merleau-Ponty was also political editor for Les Temps Modernes from the founding of the journal in October 1945 until December 1952. Aged 53, he died suddenly of a stroke in 1961, apparently while preparing for a class on Descartes. He was buried in Le Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.
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