Signs (Maurice Merleau-Ponty) pdf, epub, doc

Most M-P scholars divide his work into 3 periods: early M-P is concerned with phenomenological critiques of positivism, middle M-P is interested in integrating phenomenology with structuralism, and later M-P attempts to overcome phenomenology from within. Signs is a good example of middle M-P. Really beautiful writing, too.

Book's got two parts. The first one's way better. The second part is a collection of topical essays on 1950s international politics that are very specific to their time. M-P's political writing is surprisingly sarcastic and caustic when compared to his other work, and it shows here.

The introduction has two parts: commentary on post-Marxist politics, and M-P's memory of the relationship between Sartre and Nizan.

The first collection of essays, especially the shorter ones, are a lot of fun to read. M-P does some monographs: on Montaigne, Machiavelli, Bergson, Einstein, and Claudel. He does some overviews of theoretical turns in different fields and includes the intro to an anthology on the history of philosophy he edited.

Of course the topic matter is secondary to the themes they open onto: intercorporeality, history, truth, expression, and agency.


"Indirect Language" begins by considering Saussurean linguistics, detours into a criticism of Malraux's writings on painting, and ends by comparing painting and language as variants of a creative expressivity inherent to the world. The logics of expression become one of the most important ideas in his later ontology, and they're pretty wacky, so pay careful attention to the dynamics of time and agency here. One of his most famous essays.

"On the Phenomenology of Language" introduces M-P's critiques of positivist linguistics and attempts to construct a universal grammar—later followed up on in the later Lectures from the College du France and the unfinished Prose of the World .

Besides "Indirect Language," the other really exceptional essay is "The Philosopher and His Shadow," which engages in a reading of Husserl with/against Husserl and brings out some of the contradictions of phenomenology.

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Book info

  • Author:
  • Publisher:Northwestern University Press
  • File: 6.7 Mb
  • Ganre: Philosophy
  • Release: 02.01.1964
  • ISBN: 9780810101685
  • Pages 355
  • Rating: 4.26 (50 votes)

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