chapter  3
13 Pages

Phenomenology and “hyper-reflection”

ByTed Toadvine

Like many of the thinkers who inspired him, such as Henri Bergson and Max Scheler, Merleau-Ponty drew liberally on a range of disciplines and intellectual traditions in crafting his own unique philosophical style, including psychology, psychoanalysis, linguistics, anthropology, literature, biology and others. Even so, it was the phenomenological tradition of philosophy that most consistently inspired and guided his thinking, and it is with this tradition that he is most often associated today. Although Merleau-Ponty had little exposure to phenomenology as part of his formal studies, at a time when the neo-Kantianism of Léon Brunschvicg and the legacy of Bergsonism dominated the philosophical scene in France, phenomenology began to play a decisive role at the very beginning of his career and continued to occupy his attention throughout the twenty years in which he completed his major works.