Unlike Sartre's theory of the body-for-itself in his L'Etre et le Néant, it is not possible to submit Merleau-Ponty's theory of the body-proper to a straightforward exposition and interpretation, following his major work1 step by step. Over and above the complexity of the theory itself, Merleau-Ponty's analysis proceeds on a varity of levels which are not clearly distinguished by him. Moreover, when Merleau-Ponty makes use of other doctrines (as, for instance, those of Gestalt psychology, or those of Husserl), he has invariably transformed their meaning and reinterpreted them in terms of his own fundamental theory, but without letting his readers know of this in advance. In this way, certain fundamental notions (such as "form," or "synthesis"), which have their own specific meanings in the contexts from which he takes them, are used in a quite different way by him, but with no indications that this transformation has occurred — and, indeed, within his own work itself, he does not always use the same term in the same way. The over-all result of this is an at times quite confusing amalgam of methods, analyses, and points of view.
Zaner, R. (1971). Introduction, in The problem of embodiment, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 129-148.
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