The Meontic and the Militant: On Merleau-Ponty’s Relation to Fink∗

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Bryan Smyth
University of Mississippi
Abstract
Abstract This paper clarifies the relationship between Merleau-Ponty?s Phenomenology of Perception and Fink?s Sixth Cartesian Meditation with regard to ?the idea of a transcendental theory of method?. Although Fink?s text played a singularly important role in the development of Merleau-Ponty?s postwar thought, contrary to recent claims made by Ronald Bruzina this influence was not positive. Reconstructing the basic methodological claims of each text, in particular with regard to the being of the phenomenologist, the nature of the productivity that makes phenomenology possible, and the problem of methodological self-reference, I show that Phenomenology of Perception is premised on a decisive rejection of the main theses affirmed in the Sixth Cartesian Meditation. In contrast to Fink?s speculative reinterpretation of phenomenology as an absolute science, Merleau-Ponty viewed it as participating in the historical realization of the world, and hence as ultimately based on a practical faith. Albeit with a Marxian inflection, Merleau-Ponty thus related phenomenology much more closely to Kant. This may not be a better philosophical position, but circa 1945 it was Merleau-Ponty?s, whose work must be approached accordingly
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DOI 10.1080/09672559.2011.600771
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The Primacy Question in Merleau-Ponty’s Existential Phenomenology.Bryan Smyth - 2017 - Continental Philosophy Review 50 (1):127-149.

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