Merleau-Ponty and expressive life: A hermeneutical study

In Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka (ed.), LXXXIII. Springer. pp. 565-582 (2004)
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This paper is concerned with Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s contribution to the hermeneutical theory of expressive meaning that has been developed on the basis of an ongoing dialogue with traditional phenomenology. The early portion of the paper examines the unstable boundaries between expression and indication as a key to a new approach to expressive meaning. The paper then takes up Merleau-Ponty’s understanding of expressive life as it emerges in ‘Phenomenology of Perception,’ his first attempt to discuss perception, aesthetics, and temporality in comprehensive terms. The third part of the paper examines Merleau-Ponty’s return to the paintings of Paul Cezanne, which not only clarifies his earlier position but also deepens the philosophical meaning of his reflections on language. My final comments are concerned with how phenomenology can be broadened in a way that can become responsive to the hermeneutical theory of expressive meaning.



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William Melaney
American University in Cairo

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