For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

Phenomenology of Perception

by Merleau-Ponty, Maurice (2012)


Published fifty years after the original translation by Colin Smith, Donald A. Landes' rendering of Merleau-Ponty's magnum opus is a welcome arrival for both the student and the scholar. Phenomenology of Perception (French: Phénoménologie de la perception) is a 1945 book about perception by the French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty, in which the author expounds his thesis of "the primacy of perception". The work established Merleau-Ponty as the pre-eminent philosopher of the body, and is considered a major statement of French existentialism.

Key Passage

[As a worker,] I have a certain style of life: I am at the mercy of unemployment and prosperity; I cannot do with my life whatever I please; I am paid on a weekly basis; I control neither the conditions, nor the products of my labor. And as a result, I feel like a foreigner in my factory, my nation, and my life. I am accustomed to dealing with a fatum [destiny] that I do not respect, but that must be humored. (p.469)


Merleau-Ponty, Perception, Phenomenology, French, French Existentialism, Existentialism


Merleau-Ponty Citations

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