The Politics That No One Practices

Radical Philosophy Review 4 (1-2):135-172 (2001)
Abstract
After identifying a crisis in our contemporary understanding of the relationship between philosophy and politics, the author carries out a clarification of three modalities of political expression: the slogan, commentary, and criticism, differentiating them all from the phenomenological expression through which they are disclosed. The essay argues that only through a principled stance against a relativism that would subordinate philosophical consciousness to political context does it become possible to explicate political meaning and enhance our understanding of political practice. The author uses these reflections as an occasion to revisit the political thought of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Jean-Paul Sartre, consulting the former on the question of political language and the latter on the essential meaning-structures of praxis. The essay concludes with a reevaluation of Sartre’s Critique of Dialectical Reason outside the rubric of critical theory
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