"Speech is a way of tearing out a meaning from an undivided whole."
Thus does Maurice Merleau-Ponty describe speech in this collection of his important writings on the philosophy of expression, composed during the last decade of his life. For him, expression is a category of human behavior and existence much broader than language alone. He maintains that man is essentially expressive, even prior to speaking: in his silence, gestures, and lived behavior.
"The aim of Merleau-Ponty's philosophy is to take us behind fixed concepts into the living experience that gives rise to them. It is to escape the rationalism of Descartes by considering the world of science, with its formal, determined structures, not the 'true' and ultimate world, but as secondary and derived, as dependent upon the lived experience that precedes science and conceptualization." --New Scholasticism
"Merleau-Ponty is of interest not only to the philosopher or psychologist, he is of interest not only to the politician or the artist, his books are invaluable to anyone who wishes to gain a deep and perceptive understanding of the environment that surrounds us." --Village Voice