When Did Merleau-Ponty Write Phenomenology of Perception?


Diego Sanchez

Maurice Merleau-Ponty was a French philosopher who made significant contributions to the field of phenomenology. One of his most famous works, ‘Phenomenology of Perception,’ is considered a seminal text in the study of perception and human experience. But when exactly did Merleau-Ponty write this groundbreaking book?

Merleau-Ponty began writing ‘Phenomenology of Perception’ in 1945, shortly after the end of World War II, and it was published in 1945. The book quickly gained recognition for its unique approach to philosophy, which emphasized the importance of embodied experience in understanding human perception.

In ‘Phenomenology of Perception,’ Merleau-Ponty argued that perception is not simply a matter of receiving sensory information and processing it in the brain. Rather, he claimed that our perceptions are shaped by our bodies, our surroundings, and our past experiences. He believed that perception is a holistic process that involves both the body and the mind.

To illustrate his point, Merleau-Ponty used examples such as optical illusions and ambiguous figures to demonstrate how perception can be influenced by context and prior knowledge. He also discussed topics such as language, culture, and art to explore how our perceptions are shaped by social factors.

Despite its groundbreaking ideas, ‘Phenomenology of Perception’ was initially met with mixed reviews from philosophers. Some criticized Merleau-Ponty’s emphasis on lived experience as being too subjective and difficult to quantify. Others praised his innovative approach to philosophy and recognized the book’s importance for future studies on perception.

Today, ‘Phenomenology of Perception’ is widely regarded as a classic work in phenomenology and has had a major influence on fields such as cognitive science, psychology, and neuroscience. Its ideas continue to inspire new research into the nature of human perception and cognition.

In conclusion, Maurice Merleau-Ponty wrote ‘Phenomenology of Perception’ in 1945, shortly after World War II. The book’s emphasis on embodied experience and holistic perception was initially met with mixed reviews but has since become a classic work in phenomenology. Its ideas continue to influence philosophy and other fields of study to this day.