Judith Butler is Maxine Elliot Professor in the Departments of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature and the Co-director of the Program of Critical Theory at the University of California, Berkeley. She is presently the recipient of the Andrew Mellon Award for Distinguished Academic Achievement in the Humanities.
Arguing that traditional feminism is wrong to look to a natural, 'essential' notion of the female, or indeed of sex or gender, Butler starts by questioning the category 'woman' and continues in this vein with examinations of 'the masculine' and 'the feminine'. Best known however, but also most often misinterpreted, is Butler's concept of gender as a reiterated social performance rather than the expression of a prior reality.
Thrilling and provocative, few other academic works have roused passions to the same extent.
Phenomenology of Perception stands in the great phenomenological tradition of Husserl, Heidegger, and Sartre. Yet Merleau-Ponty’s contribution is decisive, as he brings this tradition and other philosophical predecessors, particularly Descartes and Kant, to confront a neglected dimension of our experience: the lived body and the phenomenal world. Charting a bold course between the reductionism of science on the one hand and "intellectualism" on the other, Merleau-Ponty argues that we should regard the body not as a mere biological or physical unit, but as the body which structures one’s situation and experience within the world.
Merleau-Ponty enriches his classic work with engaging studies of famous cases in the history of psychology and neurology as well as phenomena that continue to draw our attention, such as phantom limb syndrome, synaesthesia, and hallucination. This new translation includes many helpful features such as the reintroduction of Merleau-Ponty’s discursive Table of Contents as subtitles into the body of the text, a comprehensive Translator’s Introduction to its main themes, essential notes explaining key terms of translation, an extensive Index, and an important updating of Merleau-Ponty’s references to now available English translations.
Also included is a new foreword by Taylor Carman and an introduction to Merleau-Ponty by Claude Lefort.
Translated by Donald A. Landes.