Phenomenological Methods of Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty

Maurice Merleau Ponty was a French phenomenological philosopher who was greatly influenced by great philosophers such as Karl Marx, Husserl and Heidegger. Throughout his philosophy Ponty strongly argued that perception plays a foundational role in understanding the world and how man engages himself with that world. Like other phenomenologists, Ponty used writings on art, literature, linguistics and politics to express his political insights. However, he was the only major phenomenologist of the early 20th century who engaged extensively with science and descriptive psychology. Merleau is believed to make great contributions in phenomenology and he has become popular in the recent project of naturalizing phenomenology especially his phenomenological results of psychology and cognitive (Merleau-Ponty 22).

According to Merleau Ponty, phenomenology is the study of essences such as that of perception and consciousness. He also added that phenomenology is a technique of unfolding the personality of our sensual contact with the world and providing an unswerving depiction of human experience. To him perception is the background of experience that guides and controls every conscious action. He argued that the world is a meadow for acuity and human beings have the responsibility of using their consciousness to assign meaning to it. He disapproved both traditional empiricism and rationalism effectiveness in describing the phenomenology of perception. According to Merleau, long-established Empiricism does not elucidate how the nature of awareness determines our perceptions and on the other hand, Rationalism does not clarify how the nature of our perceptions determines awareness (Merleau-Ponty 112).

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