Merleau-Ponty and the phenomenological reduction

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It is commonly believed that Merleau-Ponty rejected Husserl's phenomenological reduction in favour of his existentialist account of être au monde. I show that whilst Merleau-Ponty rejected what he saw as the transcendental idealist context in which Husserl presents the reduction, he nevertheless accepts the heart of it, the epoché, as a methodological principle. Contrary to a number of Merleau-Ponty scholars, être au monde is perfectly compatible with the epoché, and Merleau-Ponty endorses both. I also argue that it is a mistake to think that Merleau-Ponty's liberal use of the results of empirical psychology signifies a rejection of the epoché. A proper understanding of his views on the relation between phenomenology and psychology is that, at least in Merleau-Ponty's eyes, the methods of phenomenology and the empirical sciences are largely similar. I conclude that we have every reason to think that Merleau-Ponty accepted Husserl's demand that the phenomenologist place the world in brackets. © 2005 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)553-571
Number of pages18
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2005


  • Merleau-Ponty
  • phenomenological reduction


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