Merleau-Ponty’s status as a philosopher of perception is well-established, but his distinctive contributions to the philosophy and phenomenology of language have yet to be fully appreciated. Through detailed, clear, and accessible analyses of Merleau-Ponty’s views of linguistic meaning, expression, and understanding, and by tracing the evolution and development of these views throughout the course of his philosophical career, Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Language offers a global and comprehensive picture of his engagement with the philosophy of language. This book demonstrates that the phenomenology of language is essential for grasping the meaning and motivations behind some of Merleau-Ponty’s most celebrated philosophical contributions. It argues that his philosophy of language should take on a central role in our appraisal of the development and basic goals of his thought. And it suggests that the success of phenomenology’s return to the ‘things themselves’ must be judged not only by the evidence of intuition, but also by the labour of expression.
Introduction / Part I / 1. Structure and Language / 2. Empirical Expression / 3. Transcendental Expression / Part II / 4. Scientific and Literary Expression / 5. The Linguistic Foundations of Ontology / Part III / Chapter 6. Language and World / 7. Ontology and Language / Conclusion / Bibliography / Index
Dimitris Apostolopoulos is currently Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Nanyang Technological University. His research focuses on European philosophy, especially phenomenology, and has appeared in venues like the European Journal of Philosophy, British Journal for the History of Philosophy, Research in Phenomenology, and the Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology.
Dimitris Apostolopoulos’s impressive book traces the significance of language and expression to all of Merleau-Ponty’s oeuvre, both early and late. Somewhat counter-intuitively, he convincingly shows that philosophy of language is “first philosophy” for Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology. This rethinking of the work of Merleau-Ponty is a must read for all those philosophers interested in phenomenological reflection and writings.