Institution and Passivity is based on course notes for classes taught at the Bibliotheque Nationale de Paris. Philosophically, this collection connects the issue of passive constitution of meaning with the dimension of history, furthering discussions and completing arguments started in The Visible and the Invisible and Signs (both published by Northwestern). Leonard Lawlor and Heath Massey's translation makes available to an English-speaking readership a critical transitional text in the history of phenomenology.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908-1961), along with Sartre, introduced phenomenology to France. nHe held the chair of Child Psychology and Pedagogy at the University of the Sorbonne, which was later held by Jean Piaget. He then became professor of philosophy at the College de France.Leonard Lawlor is the Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Philosophy at Pennsylvania State University. He previously translated Merleau-Ponty's Husserl at the Limits of Phenomenology for Northwestern University Press.Heath Massey is an assistant professor of philosophy at Beloit College.