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Ideas of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, by Text

[French, 1908 - 1961, Born at Rochefort. Taught at the Collège de France, Paris. Died in Paris.]

1945 Phenomenology of Perception
p.159 p.67 Consciousness is based on 'I can', not on 'I think'
     Full Idea: Consciousness is in the first place not a matter of 'I think' but of 'I can'.
     From: Maurice Merleau-Ponty (Phenomenology of Perception [1945], p.159), quoted by Beth Lord - Spinoza's Ethics 2 'Sensation'
     A reaction: The point here (quoted during a discussion of Spinoza) is that you can't leave out the role of the body, which seems correct.
p.329-30 p.41 The mind does not unite perceptions, because they flow into one another
     Full Idea: I do not have one perception, then another, and between them a link brought about by the mind. Rather, each perspective merges into the other [against a unified background].
     From: Maurice Merleau-Ponty (Phenomenology of Perception [1945], p.329-30), quoted by Kevin Aho - Existentialism: an introduction 3 'Perceptual'
     A reaction: I take this to be another piece of evidence pointing to realism as the best explanation of experience. A problem for Descartes is what unites the sequence of thoughts.
1953 In Praise of Philosophy
p.4 p.241 Philosophers are marked by a joint love of evidence and ambiguity
     Full Idea: The philosopher is marked by the distinguishing trait that he possesses inseparably the taste for evidence and the feeling for ambiguity.
     From: Maurice Merleau-Ponty (In Praise of Philosophy [1953], p.4), quoted by Sarah Bakewell - At the Existentialist Café 11
     A reaction: I strongly approve of the idea that philosophers are primarily interested in evidence (rather than reason or logic), and I also like the idea that the ambiguous evidence is the most interesting. The mind looks physical and non-physical.