Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology

Kirk M. Besmer

Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology reconstructs Merleau-Ponty's treatment of the problem of ideal objects. Besmer describes Merleau-Ponty's early attempt to found ideal objects on pre-linguistic, perceptual experience and shows that Merleau-Ponty ultimately came to see the shortcomings of this initial view. An examination of often ignored writings from the middle-period of Merleau-Ponty's career allows Besmer to piece together Merleau-Ponty's mature view of ideal objects, one that does not overlook the contributions of perception but emphasizes the historical and cultural nature of ideal objects and one's experience of them. Merleau-Ponty's final view of ideal objects takes ideal meanings in language as paradigmatic and understands ideal objects as embedded in cultural practices and institutions. Kirk Besmer's book is the first ever to be devoted to the problem of ideal objects in Merleau-Ponty's thought. Showing for the first time the crucial conceptual developments and revisions internal to Merleau-Ponty's thought, Besmer's book will change the way that Merleau-Ponty is read.

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