The chapter on time is one of the central investigations in Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception. Throughout preceding chapters of that work one meets the claim that theoretical difficulties raised by the type of description of the perceiving subject that Merleau-Ponty offers are to be resolved in the investigation of time. For example, in describing perception, it begins to seem that the perceiving subject is neither a pure for-itself, nor an in-itself, but rather belongs to some category intermediate between these two. How is such an ambiguity to be understood ? Merleau-Ponty tells us that:
On the level of being one will never understand that the subject must be at once naturans and naturatus, infinite and finite. But if we rediscover time beneath the subject, and if we relate to the paradox of time those of the body, the world, the thing and the other, we shall understand that there is nothing to understand beyond this.