"A matrix of intellectual and historical experiences"

the Marxist core in Merleau-Ponty's post-war thinking

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This article seeks to re-evaluate the importance of the political in the thinking of Maurice Merleau-Ponty. The article first shows that Sartre's description of Merleau-Ponty's intellectual trajectory as one of increasing political apathy from the 1950s onwards is inaccurate. The article then demonstrates that throughout the post-war period, including in his project for a new ontology, Merleau-Ponty believed that a revised version of Marxism would provide the methodological framework within which philosophical work could address the political challenges of the present. This revised Marxism was to be a direct alternative to the reifying uses of Marx's thinking. It would rely upon the latter's self-reflexive historicism, which meant its very failures showed how philosophy might transform itself in connection with its own time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Merleau-Ponty, Maurice, 1908-1961. Phénoménologie de la perception
  • Marx, Karl

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