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Maurice Merleau-Ponty (14 March 1908 – 3 May 1961) was a French phenomenological philosopher, following Rene Descartes, Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger, and influencing the field of Cognitive Science. “There is no inner man, man is in the world, and only in the world does he know himself.”

Maurice Merleau-Ponty

Maurice Merleau-Ponty was a French phenomenological philosopher


Quotations of Merleau-Ponty are from sources: EGS, WikiQuote, GoodReads, QuotesTree, BrainyQuote, – Phenomenology of Perception. 1945,  YouTube


 

To ask for an explanation is to explain the obscure by the more obscure.

It is because we are through and through compounded of relationships with the world that for us the only way to become aware of the fact is to suspend the resultant activity, to refuse it our complicity…or yet again, to put it ‘out of play’.

We must not, therefore, wonder whether we really perceive a world, we must instead say: the world is what we perceive.

The essential point is clearly to grasp the project towards the world that we are.

….we are nothing but a view of the world….

Inside and outside are inseparable.

We know not through our intellect but through our Experience

The flesh is at the heart of the world.

The world and I are within one another.

Because we are in the world, we are condemned to meaning, and we cannot do or say anything without its acquiring a name in history.

Where are we to put the limit between the body and the world, since the world is flesh?

There is never determinism and never absolute choice, I am never a thing and never bare consciousness.

I wanted to render precisely the perceptual experience, I ought to say that one perceives in me, and not that I perceive.

We know not through our intellect but through our Experience

The body is our general medium for having a world.

All consciousness is perceptual…The perceived world is the always presupposed foundation of all rationality, all value and all existence.

Language transcends us and yet, we speak.

In perception we do not think the object and we do not think ourselves thinking it, we are given over to the object and we merge into this body which is better informed than we are about its world.

We must rediscover, after the natural world, the social world, not as an object or sum of objects, but as a permanent field or dimension of existence.

Being a human means being a human within the mankind.

Humanity is not an aggregate of individuals, a community of thinkers, each of whom is guaranteed from the outset to be able to reach agreement with the others because all participate in the same thinking essence. Nor, of course, is it a single Being in which the multiplicity of individuals are dissolved and into which these individuals are destined to be reabsorbed. As a matter of principle, humanity is precarious: each person can only believe what he recognizes to be true internally and, at the same time, nobody thinks or makes up his mind without already being caught up in certain relationships with others, which leads him to opt for a particular set of opinions. Everyone is alone and yet nobody can do without other people, not just because they are useful (which is not in dispute here) but also when it comes to happiness.

The world is… the natural setting of, and field for, all my thoughts and all my explicit perceptions. Truth does not inhabit only the inner man, or more accurately, there is no inner man, man is in the world, and only in the world does he know himself.

Nothing determines me from outside, not because nothing acts upon me, but, on the contrary, because I am from the start outside myself and open to the world.

For the child men are empty heads turned towards one single, self-evident world where everything takes place

It is the mission of the twentieth century to elucidate the irrational.

If we are to rediscover a system of morals, we must find it through contact with the conflicts revealed by immoralism.

Are moral principles merely a way to reassure rather than to save ourselves, a way to wave questions aside instead of answering them.

The function of the novelist is not to state these ideas thematically but to make them exist for us in the way that things exist.

One cannot imagine what a thing would be like if it were not to be seen by “me”.

A feeling is the name conventionally given to a series of instants, but life, when considered lucidly, is reduced to this swarming of instants to which chance alone gives a common meaning.

I am sure that there is being — on the condition that I do not seek another sort of being than being­ for-me.

Every philosopher, every artist believes that his masterpieces require completion.


COMMENTS

Science is a map of the world, but in Merleau-Ponty’s view he is a perceptual experience living interactively within his world. He is not a reasoning machine computing a local environment, he is an interactive verbally conscious animal. The perceived world is the always-presupposed foundation of all rationality, all value, and all existence. He moves on to explain, I am sure that there is being-on the condition that I do not seek another sort of being than being­ for-me. At another time he says, One cannot imagine what a thing would be like if it were not to be seen by “me”. He simultaneously blends himself into the world and separates himself from it, he proclaims himself to be rational while making his ideal an identification with an emotional blending of his inside with the outside, but then proclaims, The inside and outside are inseparable. I become annoyed with the Continental philosophers’ insistence on contradicting themselves. It seems to be a self-protection strategy for not being contradicted by their fellow philosophers.

There is no inner man, man is in the world, and only in the world does he know himself.

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