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New Release: Merleau-Ponty’s polemic with Husserl and Heidegger

New work by Mohammed Ben Sibaa’s pursues a definition of contemporary phenomenology through a reading of the foundational work of French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty

Ahram Online , Thursday 28 May 2015

The Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS) in Doha has released a new book entitled Contemporary Phenomenology Transformations: Merleau-Ponty’s Polemic with Husserl and Heidegger, by Mohammed Ben Sibaa’s.

The book seeks to define contemporary phenomenology and elucidate its transformations through the work of French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty. Offering a critique of traditional principles of phenomenology, and redefining them in an interpretive manner, the author explores topics such as existence, consciousness, perception, freedom, the body, art, language, speech in relation to thought and more, thereby establishing a new basis in this field.

The first chapter, on “Transformations in Contemporary Phenomenology from the Priority of Consciousness to Interrogation of Being,” is devoted to the evolution of the concept of phenomenology through to its emergence as an independent doctrine with Husserl, and its transformation, with Heidegger, to the study of existence.

The second chapter, “Consciousness Incarnate: From the Knowing Self to the Knowing Body,” clarifies the new conceptualisation given by Merleau-Ponty to phenomenology and its new function, as seen in the main categories upon which it was established, namely “sensory perception” and “the idea of the body”. The third chapter, “Being-in-the World: From the Meaning of Existence to the Existence of Meaning,” is given to the study of the new task set for phenomenology by Merleau-Ponty: to disclose and return to the real world, with a focus on the most important dimensions of existence: incarnate existence, existence for others and existence with things, without neglecting the matter of language, of great importance to Merleau-Ponty in his late philosophy.

The fourth chapter, "Prospects for the New Phenomenology: From Reform of Phenomenology to Reform of Western Rationality," examines the scope of phenomenology, in Merleau-Ponty’s hands, for broad interpretation and deconstruction, through a return to selected categories of modernity and transcending some categories of contemporary phenomenology, so as to engage in a dialogue with the human sciences.

The book’s concluding section summarises the study’s findings and suggests lines for further research.

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