Article published in:Emotion in Language: Theory – research – application
Edited by Ulrike M. Lüdtke
[Consciousness & Emotion Book Series 10] 2015
► pp. 99–112
Language and emotion in Merleau-Ponty
This chapter explores the relationship between language and emotion in Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy. Three key aspects stand out. First, sexuality, broadly understood as affectivity and desire, motivates us to address other persons and transcend our situation. Language is rooted in embodiment and is intimately part of us. Second, gesture and expression show how meaning relies on the overall Gestalt of a language and its aesthetic dimensions. Meaning is first musical, and the seemingly transparent has first been expressed in a particular situation. Third, language in early childhood demonstrates how understanding presupposes a willingness to take risks and is an act of participation. For Merleau-Ponty, then, language is primarily speech, and the arts and childhood illuminate its emotional dimension.
Keywords: expression, gesture, language, Merleau-Ponty
Published online: 16 December 2015
Merleau-Ponty’s works are listed here in chronological order. Because much of his work has been posthumously published, this order does not correlate with the years of publication.
Malloch, Stephen and Trevarthen, Colwyn
Stern, Daniel N.