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Tracing Expression in Merleau-Ponty
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The French philosopher Renaud Barbaras remarked that late in Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s career, “The phenomenology of perception fulfills itself as a philosophy of expression.” In Tracing Expression in Merleau-Ponty: Aesthetics, Philosophy of Biology, and Ontology, Véronique M. Fóti addresses the guiding yet neglected theme of expression in Merleau-Ponty’s thought. She traces Merleau-Ponty’s ideas about how individuals express creative or artistic impulses through his three essays on aesthetics, his engagement with animality and the “new biology” in the second of his lecture courses on nature of 1957–58, and in his late ontology, articulated in 1964 in the fragmentary text of Le visible et l’invisible (The Visible and the Invisible). With the exception of a discussion of Merleau-Ponty’s 1945 essay “Cezanne’s Doubt,” Fóti engages with Merleau-Ponty’s late and final thought, with close attention to both his scientific and philosophical interlocutors, especially the continental rationalists. Expression shows itself, in Merleau-Ponty’s thought, to be primordial, and this innate and fundamental nature of expression has implications for his understanding of artistic creation, science, and philosophy.

Table of Contents

  1. Contents
  2. pp. 10-11
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xi-15
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 3-11
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  1. Part 1 - Expression in Merleau-Ponty’s Aesthetics
  2. pp. 26-27
  1. Chapter 1 - Primordial Perception and Artistic Expression: Merleau- Ponty and Cézanne
  2. pp. 15-26
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  1. Chapter 2 - Expression, Institution, and the Field: A Searching Itinerary
  2. pp. 27-39
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  1. Chapter 3 - Painterly and Phenomenological Interrogation in “Eye and Mind”
  2. pp. 40-56
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  1. Part 2 - Expression in Animal Life
  2. pp. 70-71
  1. Chapter 4 - The Expressivity of Animal Behavior: Embryogenesis and Environing Worlds
  2. pp. 59-79
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  1. Chapter 5 - The Expressivity of Animal Appearance and of Directive and Instinctual Activities
  2. pp. 80-93
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  1. Part 3 - Expression in Merleau-Ponty’s Ontology
  2. pp. 108-109
  1. Chapter 6 - The Role of Expression in Merleau-Ponty’s Dialogue with the Rationalists
  2. pp. 97-110
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  1. Chapter 7 - The Irreducibility of Expression: Merleau-Ponty’s Ontology and Its Wider Implications
  2. pp. 111-124
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  1. Concluding Thoughts
  2. pp. 125-128
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  1. Abbreviations
  2. pp. 129-143
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 131-157
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  1. Selected Bibliography
  2. pp. 159-165
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  1. Index of Persons
  2. pp. 167-168
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  1. Index of Topics
  2. pp. 169-170
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