The intent of the article is to define merleau-ponty's place in the phenomenological tradition and, at the same time, to defend his standpoint, especially on those issues where his thought represents a departure from the tradition. although merleau-ponty espouses a form of the husserlian doctrine of the intentionality of consciousness, his understanding of intentionality differs in several fundamental respects from husserl's. the article attempts to show specifically where merleau-ponty's gestalt- theoretical orientation leads him to modify such basic aspects of husserl's concept of intentionality as the noesis-noema distinction and the claim for atemporality of meaning. a critical comparison is drawn between merleau- ponty's concept of intentionality and that of aron gurwitsch. in a more positive vein, the article provides an extended exegesis of merleau-ponty's position on this central concept in phenomenology, and it also tries to relate the exposition of intentionality to merleau-ponty's thesis of the primacy of perception. finally, an attempt is made to reveal the ontological ramifications implicit in merleau-ponty's revisions to the doctrine of intentionality. (edited).