Merleau-Ponty and agency

Authored by: Thomas Baldwin

The Routledge Handbook of Phenomenology of Agency

Print publication date:  October  2020
Online publication date:  October  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138098978
eBook ISBN: 9781315104249
Adobe ISBN:


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“You are your act” – Merleau-Ponty quotes from Saint-Exupéry at the very end of Phenomenology of Perception (Merleau-Ponty 2012: 483 1 ), where the passage occurs as if it is the conclusion of the book. Saint-Exupéry is describing a situation in which there is great danger, and in other references to it, Merleau-Ponty writes that “It can even happen that when I am in danger, . . . my body completely merges with action” (Merleau-Ponty 2012: 86), and that in these extreme situations one becomes aware of “the presence of self to self” (Merleau-Ponty 2012: 426). So they reveal something important: “You are your act”.

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