Continental Philosophy

Maurice Merleau–ponty

What are some facts about Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s life and career?

Merleau-Ponty’s father was killed in World War I. He completed his philosophical studies at the École Normale Superieure in 1930 and then taught in high schools throughout France. He wrote two dissertations for his doctorate and was given the chair of child psychology at the Sorbonne in 1949; next, he was made chair of philosophy at the College de France in 1952. With Jean-Paul Sartre (1905–1980) he founded the journal Les Temps Moderne. But he resigned from the publication as editor, partly in objection to Sartre’s subject-object dichotomy. Merleau-Ponty wrote about their dispute in Adventures of the Dialectic (1955). Overall, Merleau-Ponty opposed dualisms and he also criticized self-versus-world ideas. He thought that the self was as much a body as a mind and that our bodies are always in the world.


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