Working within the tradition of continental philosophy, this article argues in favour of a phenomenological understanding of language as a crucial component of bioethical inquiry. The authors challenge the ‘commonsense’ view of language, in which thinking appears as prior to speaking, and speech the straightforward vehicle of pre-existing thoughts. Drawing on Maurice Merleau-Ponty's (1908–1961) phenomenology of language, the authors claim that thinking takes place in and through the spoken word, in and through embodied language. This view resituates bioethics as (...) a matter of bodies that speak. It also refigures the meaning of ethical self-reflexion, and in so doing offers an alternative view on reflexivity and critique. Referring to the Kantian critical tradition and its reception by Hannah Arendt and Michel Foucault, we advance a position we call ‘critical ethical reflexivity’. We contend that Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology of language offers valuable insight into ethical reflexivity and subject formation. Moreover, his understanding of language may foster new qualitative empirical research in bioethics, lead to more nuanced methods for interpreting personal narratives, and promote critical self-reflexion as necessary for bioethical inquiry. (shrink)
Journalist, literary critic, novelist and essayist, Maurice Blanchot has always questioned the uncertain limit between philosophical and fictional languages. The purpose of this article is to underline his constant inquiry of the connection between his own writing activity and political participation, through which he managed to describe, theorize and realize a true dissolution of subject.
Le missionnaire et ethnologue Maurice Leenhardt affirme que le sujet n’existe pas dans la culture kanak précoloniale de Nouvelle Calédonie, et que seule la conversion au christianisme en assure l’émergence. La faille méthodologique de cet auteur consiste à induire des carences cognitives à partir de faits linguistiques. En réalité, le statut de sujet n’est pas absent de l’univers kanak, mais ce sont ses modalités d’expression et d’assomption qui sont inédites pour un regard occidental.
Maurice Blondel devised a logic of the moral life on the grounds that action itself respects its own law of contradiction. Thwarted by compulsions and often by habits, the actions we choose often do not reflect the principles we endorse and so we sometimes find our actions operating against what we actually want to achieve. To describe this possible imbalance Blondel outlines five rules which describe the vulnerability of human action until the individual actor must finally confront her own (...) destiny. (shrink)
This timely collection of essays is the first to be written on the work of Maurice Blanchot in English. One of the finest writers of our time, Blanchot is a contemporary of Bataille and Levinas; his writing has influenced the likes of Derrida and Foucault. Eminent commentators featured here include: Simon Critchley, Paul Davies, Cristopher Fynsk, Rodolphe Gasche, Leslie Hill, Michael Holland, Jeffery Mehlman, Roger Laporte, Ian Maclachlan, Marie-Claire Ropars-Wuilleumier, Gillian Rose and Ann Smock. The essays consider the political (...) implications of Blanchot's questioning the relationship between philosophy and literature. In addition, the provocative issue of Blanchot's politics during the 1930s is clarified by a letter from Blanchot to one of the contributors, published here for the first time. Maurice Blanchot: The Demand of Writing is a crucial selection for all students of philosophy, literature or French studies. (shrink)
CETTE THESE SE VEUT UNE CONTRIBUTION A LA COMPREHENSION DE LA DERNIERE PHILOSOPHIE DE MERLEAU-PONTY, EN PRENANT COMME FIL CONDUCTEUR LA NOTION D'INSTITUTION. NOUS ESSAYONS D'ABORD DE DELIMITER LE CHAMP D'INTERROGATION DE LA NOTION D'INSTITUTION, TELLE QU'ELLE EST PRESENTEE DANS SES DEUX PREMIERS OUVRAGES. DEUXIEMEMENT, LA DESCRIPTION DE QUATRE ORDRES DE L'INSTITUTION SYMBOLIQUE (ANIMALITE ET VIE; STYLE ARTISTIQUE; LANGUE ET IDEALITE; SYSTEME SOCIAL) QUE NOUS NOUS EFFORCONS DE RECONSTITUER A L'AIDE DES MANUSCRITS INEDITS CONDUIT A DEVOILER LES MOTIVATIONS DE LA (...) RADICALISATION DE LA QUESTION PHENOMENOLOGIQUE. ENFIN, NOTRE PROBLEMATIQUE SE PRESENTE DANS LE DERNIER OUVRAGE COMME UN PROJET DE L'INSTITUTION DE LA PHILOSOPHIE ELLE-MEME. CE PROJET A SA PORTEE HISTORIQUE, SE PROPOSANT DE METTRE EN EVIDENCE LES MOMENTS FECONDS DANS L'HISTOIRE DE LA PHILOSOPHIE, DE MANIERE A LEVER LES DIFFICULTES DE L'ONTOLOGIE ACTUELLE. (shrink)
I prefer to put this in a letter to you instead of writing an article that would lead one to believe that I have any authority to speak on the subject of what has, in a roundabout way, become the H. and H. affair . In other words, a cause of extreme seriousness, already discussed many times although certainly endless in nature, has been taken up by a storm of media attention, which has brought us to the lowest of passions, (...) intense emotions, and even violence. I understand why people are talking about Victor Farias, who has contributed some unpublished information—with a polemical intent, it is true, that does not help one to appreciate its true value. But how has it happened that Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe’s book, published in 1987, was greeted by a silence that I am perhaps the first to break?1 It is because he avoids anecdotal accounts, all the while citing and situating most of the facts mentioned by Farias. He is severe and rigorous. He lays essential questions before us. 1. Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, La Fiction du politique: Heidegger, l’art et la politique . I also cite Lacoue-Labarthe’s book, La Poésie comme experience , devoted to Paul Celan. Maurice Blanchot, one of France’s preeminent writers, has written, among many other books, The Last Man, Death Sentence, The Madness of the Day, and The Gaze of Orpheus and Other Literary Essays. Paula Wissing, a free-lance translator and editor, has recently translated Paul Veyne’s Did the Greeks Believe in Their Myths? (shrink)
Blanchot discusses two versions of imagination. The first version, as the copy of an object, is premeditated or provoked by the conscious process of the mind, whereas in the second version, of the image, a thing becomes a complete empty space outside human consciousness and finds the opportunity to shine itself in itself and for itself. The object never resembles anything but itself, the image of itself. This paper argues that with Blanchot, the human in confrontation with the thing in (...) itself in a passive and neutral relation becomes the image of itself. Keeping a distance from each other not for the sake of knowing and comprehension, both the object and the human are at perpetual distance . While thinking of Blanchot's relationship and distance , it is argued that Ibn 'Arabi's idea of barzakh is the space of imagination, an intermediate reality works through distancing and setting relationship . In this sense, Ibn 'Arabi goes outside ontological horizons believing in essence or existence. (shrink)
In the 1958-1959 Collège de France course, Merleau-Ponty expounds a detailed commentary on the last paragraphs of the Einleitung from Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit. We examine in what sense this course has developed the notions that he was in the process of defining, notions such as “chiasm,” “reversibility,” “depth,” and “flesh.” What seems crucial in this course is to clearly define good ambiguity as opposed to bad ambiguity, that is, to the simple mixture of finitude and universality, of interiority and (...) exteriority. It is a question then of revealing, even within Hegelian thought, the operation, although unstable, of good ambiguity and of instituting it beyond the distinction between anthropology and logic without a return to naturalism. It should first be noted that consciousness is for Hegel violence against itself, it gives itself its measure, such that the distinction between measuring and measured is internal to it. By insisting on this “reversibility” of the measuring and the measured, Merleau-Ponty comes to emphasize that the self-relation of consciousness is simultaneously its opening onto a transcendent – an opening whereby it learns something. This leads him to define “the new ontological milieu” which is the depth of the life of consciousness. It is within this depth that the interrogative experience winds on itself. Secondly, if there truly must be a moment where the Hegelian Zweideutigkeit becomes good ambiguity, it will not suffice to explore preobjective depth; it would still be necessary to discern “the hinge” which is “solid, unwavering” and which “remains irremediably hidden.” It is this unwavering hinge that supports phenomena and that, in simultaneously decentering and recentering the fields of appearances, opens a place where one can follow the genesis of sense. Finally, we note that this discovery of the new ontological milieu can be considered as the recovery of the notion of institution that Merleau-Ponty had proposed in 1954-1955: on the one hand, the notion of chiasm invites us to reveal the hinge which at once decenters and recenters the fields of appearances. This hinge is free from the alternative of nature and culture, of subjective and objective spirit; it is the rootedness of our interrogative experience in brute being, which is not object but starts an indefinite search of self. But, on the other hand, the notion of institution, which is essentially descriptive and factual, makes us better feel the weight of the instituted that is also irremediably hidden. It makes us feel the inertia of the instituting event, as well as its fecundity and its cumulativity. (shrink)
Maurice Dobb was the foremost Marxian economist of his generation in Britain. He was noted for his contributions to value theory, the theory of economic planning and the analysis of Soviet economic development. This set will re-issue 7 of his most important works.
Abstract The aim of this paper is to attain a philosophical evaluation of the ideas of the French author Maurice Bucaille. Bucaille formulated an influential discourse regarding the divinity of the Qur’an, which he tried to demonstrate through a comparison of some of its verses with what he defined as scientific data. With his works, which encompass a criticism of the Bible and a defense of creationism, Bucaille furthered the idea that Islam is in harmony with natural sciences, and (...) ensured himself long-lasting fame in the Muslim world. Such ideas have found numerous followers and the description of the “scientific miracles” of the Qur’an has turned into a popular genre. Several attempts have been made to criticize Bucaille about specific positions he holds. The thesis I develop here is that, even if Bucaille's work cannot be easily dismissed, a severe methodological shortcoming emerges through the analysis of the logic behind his claims regarding miraculous and supernatural events. Current attempts at defending the harmony between Islam and science should therefore credit Bucaille, but at the same time, be aware of the risk of inheriting his methodological flaws. In the first section, I briefly recall the works of Bucaille and his contribution to the debate on the harmony between Islam and science. In the second section, I reconstruct Bucaille's view of science and his analysis of the sacred scriptures. In the third section, I investigate how Bucaille characterizes the concept of supernatural. In the fourth section, I put forth a general evaluation of his reasoning. (shrink)
Reviews : Maurice Agulhon, Marianne into Battle. Republican Imagery and Symbolism in France, 1789-1880 , and The Republic in the Village, The People of the Var from the French Revolution to the Second Republic . Both published jointly with the Maison des Sciences de l'Homme, Paris.
In this article I examine the relation between the philosophies of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Gilles Deleuze by looking at the way in which they refer to Henri Bergson’s time theory. Although Merleau-Ponty develops some fundamental Bergsonian insights on the nature of time, he presents himself as a critical reader of the latter. I will show that although Merleau-Ponty’s interpretation of Bergson differs fundamentally from Deleuze’s interpretation, Merleau-Ponty’s “corrections” of Bergson’s theory fit Deleuze’s reading of Bergson very well. This indicates (...) a similarity with respect to what is at stake in the philosophies of Merleau-Ponty and Deleuze. Hence the critical reference that Deleuze makes to Merleau-Ponty’s conception of cinema and thus of movement is not justified, but is the result of a selective and prototypical reading of the early Merleau-Ponty. (shrink)
Merleau-Ponty was a pivotal figure in twentieth century French philosophy. He was responsible for bringing the phenomenological methods of the German philosophers, Husserl and Heidegger, to France and instigated a new wave of interest in this approach. His influence extended well beyond the boundaries of philosophy and can be seen in theories of politics, art and language. This is the first volume to bring together a comprehensive selection of Merleau-Ponty's writing and presents a cross-section of his work which shows the (...) historical progression of his ideas and influence. (shrink)
The cover art for Maurice Weyembergh's monograph shows an aerial photograph of a man trapped in a giant maze. He tries to see beyond the entrapping walls, but they are too high, and the farther he looks, the darker it gets. Is there a way out? And should one even bother to search for it? This photo by Stewart Sutton perfectly illustrates the issues debated by Weyembergh in his wide-ranging study. The maze represents the path that will lead humans (...) into the future and bears the burden or "the absolutism of reality," as the title states. By evoking the terminology of the German philosopher Hans Blumenberg, Weyembergh analyzes the constraints of reality and humans' efforts to improve their life span and, possibly... (shrink)
There is a long-standing view that Malebranche and his fellow occasionalists accepted occasionalism to solve the problem of interaction between immaterial souls and extended bodies. Recently, however, scholars have shown this story to be a myth. Malebranche, Geulincx, La Forge, and Cordemoy adopted occasionalism for a variety of reasons, but none did so because of a need to provide a solution to a perceived mind-body problem. Yet there is one Cartesian for whom the “traditional” reading is largely on the mark. (...) François Lamy argues in the second volume of his De la Connoissance de Soi-Meme much as the standard story has it. In this article I discuss and analyze Lamy’s argument, showing how he deals with some of the many concerns that made occasionalism attractive, and how he brings out some of the thorny questions that an occasionalist must face. (shrink)
El trabajo analiza la estructura de L'Action (1893) del filósofo francés Maurice Blondel en tres niveles diferentes según el modelo de la configuración triádica de la temporalidad. El primer nivel está implícito en la analítica de la acción llevada a cabo en la Introduction a la obra; el segundo nivel se identifica con el análisis de la pasividad del primer momento de la cuarta parte; el tercer nivel abarca la obra considerada en su globalidad, extendiéndose a la problemática del (...) fenómeno de la acción, de la demostración del único ser necesario y de la alternativa de la acción. El análisis pretende demostrar que las dimensiones antecedente, presente y adveniente de la temporalidad están a la base de la comprensión de esta obra blondeliana. (shrink)
In Bernard Stiegler’s Automatic Society Volume 1: The Future of Work, ‘the impossible’ and ‘the improbable’ appear as explicit parts of his political project. In his philosophy of technology, the impossible highlights the structural incompleteness that technics imparts to human existence. This article will trace how Stiegler draws on the work of Maurice Blanchot to produce this conjunction between technics and indetermination, and explore its political ramifications. This will show that rather than being a recent aspect of Stiegler’s work, (...) the political use of the impossible brings Blanchot’s subterranean influence to the fore. After briefly reconstructing Blanchot’s understanding of language, impersonality, and writing, it will be shown that Stiegler shifts Blanchot’s emphasis from the impossible to technical practices of the improbable. Stiegler follows an anthropological line where the experience of the impossible becomes a more general understanding of the experience of improbability through technical structures. Stiegler’s reading of Blanchot is central in his break with the place of the impossible in the politics of resistance advocated by post-structuralism, allowing him to support a politics of invention which makes space for the improbable within a large-scale politics of technicity, rather than privileging indeterminacy itself. (shrink)
I develop an interpretation of Maurice Merleau-Ponty's concept of motor intentionality, one that emerges out of a reading of his presentation of a now classic case study in neuropathology—patient Johann Schneider—in Phenomenology of Perception. I begin with Merleau-Ponty's prescriptions for how we should use the pathological as a guide to the normal, a method I call triangulation. I then turn to his presentation of Schneider's unusual case. I argue that we should treat all of Schneider's behaviors as pathological, not (...) only his abstract movements, as is commonly acknowledged in the secondary literature, but also crucially his concrete movements. Using these facts of Schneider's illness, I reconstruct a ‘fundamental function’ of consciousness, as Merleau-Ponty called it, in which there are two kinds of bodily agency: the power of the body to be solicited by a situation and the power of the body to project a situation. I propose that these powers became dissociated in Schneider's case, as evidenced by his abstract and concrete movements, while in the normal case, these powers comprise a dynamic unity, enacted as motor intentionality. I also discuss how my interpretation complements Merleau-Ponty's assertion that motor intentions exist between mind and matter. (shrink)
This paper critically discusses Charles Taylor’s ethical views in his little known paper “Ethics and Ontology” : 305–320, 2003) by confronting it with the moral phenomenology of Maurice Mandelbaum, as laid out in his The Phenomenology of Moral Experience. The aim of the paper is to explore the significance of Taylor’s views for the dispute between naturalists, non-naturalists, and quietists in contemporary metaethics. It is divided in six sections. In the first section, I examine Taylor’s critique of naturalism. I (...) continue to discuss his moral phenomenology in more detail in the second and third sections, arguing that Taylor’s move from phenomenology to ontology is problematic. In the fourth section, I evaluate Taylor’s strategy by comparing it with Mandelbaum’s understanding of moral phenomenology, while also extending this comparison to the issue of how to locate the source of moral experience in the fifth section. Based on these discussions, I finally conclude in the sixth section that Taylor’s hermeneutical position, although ontologically incomplete and underdemonstrated, draws attention to a question to which current moral theory does not adequately respond. (shrink)
The late Maurice Mandelbaum was one of the most consistent and determined defenders of philosophical and social realism and of what he called "methodological institutionalism." This can be seen as containing a theory of human agency and a theory of how the social world comes to be institutionally structured, or what can be called a "structurist" theory. Mandelbaurn has argued for the irreducibility of social concepts and the necessity of scientific social laws for social and historical explanation. Purpose and (...) Necessity in Social Theory and the totality of Mandelbaum's work support the contention that in the task of developing substantive social explanations three basic issues are equally important: the problem of social reality and truth, the problem of social causation, and the problem of social change. Mandelbaum's concepts of behavior and institutions - their relative autonomy, symbiosis, and historicity -together provide the basis for a sociological structurism. Moreover, he provides powerful philosophical support from within the analytical tradition for a social theory that rejects atomism and empiricism and embraces the historical nature of society as both a real structure and an ongoing structuring process. (shrink)
Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s work is commonly associated with the philosophical movement called existentialism and its intention to begin with an analysis of the concrete experiences, perceptions, and difficulties, of human existence. However, he never propounded quite the same extreme accounts of radical freedom, being-towards-death, anguished responsibility, and conflicting relations with others, for which existentialism became both famous and notorious in the 1940s and 1950s. Perhaps because of this, he did not initially receive the same amount of attention as his French (...) contemporaries and friends, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. These days though, his phenomenological analyses are arguably being given more attention than either, in both France and in the Anglo-American context, because they retain an ongoing relevance in fields as diverse as cognitive science, medical ethics, ecology, sociology and psychology. Although it is difficult to summarize Merleau-Ponty’s work into neat propositions, we can say that he sought to develop a radical re-description of embodied experience (with a primacy given to studies of perception), and argued that these phenomena could not be suitably understood b y the philosophical tradition because of its tendency to drift between two flawed and equally unsatisfactory alternatives: empiricism and, what he called, intellectualism. This article will seek to explain his understanding of perception, bodily movement, habit, ambiguity, and relations with others, as they were expressed in his key early work, Phenomenology of Perception, before exploring the enigmatic ontology of the chiasm and the flesh that is so evocatively described in his unfinished book, The Visible and the Invisible. (shrink)
In this paper, we propose an examination of the shared connections between the French philosopher, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and the Austro-Hungarian movement theorist, Rudolf Laban.In many ways Merleau-Ponty''s philosophy demonstrates a synthesis of the best in existen-tialism and phenomenology. In like manner, Rudolf Laban was a synthesizer of experiences and theories of movement.
It is sometimes instructive to reflect on a problem as it appeared before our current philosophical presumptions became ingrained. In this context, Maurice Mandelbaum’s “Determinism and Moral Responsibility” is of particular interest. Published in 1960, it appeared only a few years before the wave of work that gave us much of our contemporary understanding of moral responsibility, free will, and determinism. Mandelbaum’s account repays reconsideration. Mandelbaum argues that (1) there is an underappreciated threat to “determinist” or compatibilist accounts of (...) responsibility, and (2) this threat can be met with a suitable compatibilist account of the etiology of action. (shrink)
Maurice Blanchot Though Maurice Blanchot’s status as a major figure in 20th century French thought is indisputable, it is debatable how best to classify his thought and writings. To trace the itinerary of Blanchot’s development as a thinker and writer is to traverse the span of 20th century French intellectual history, as Blanchot lived … Continue reading Blanchot, Maurice →.
Después de la publicación de su tesis doctoral titulada La acción (1893), el filósofo francés Maurice Blondel escribió algunas obras en las que trató asuntos de enorme importancia, tanto en el campo filosófico como teológico, que desarrollaron las temáticas centrales de La acción, obra que a finales del siglo XIX generó tanto revuelo en el ambiente filosófico francés. Con la conciencia de su actualidad y su inmenso valor para una perspectiva novedosa de la metafísica y el diálogo fe-razón, se (...) pretende aquí una aproximación a cuatro obras que los estudiosos del pensamiento blondeliano han llamado “menores”. El presente artículo desarrolla los principales aportes de dichas obras a la reflexión filosófica contemporánea, indagando al mismo tiempo por la filosofía de la acción en cada una de ellas. Después de una corta biografía del pensador en cuestión, se abordará el significado de la filosofía de la acción con vistas a su elucidación para el lector. Posteriormente se presentará el contexto histórico de cada obra y se mostrarán sus vínculos con La acción, para terminar con algunas reflexiones que su lectura suscita en nuestro tiempo, cuyos desafíos son similares a los que Blondel tuvo que enfrentar en su momento. (shrink)
Professor Maurice Cranston, who died suddenly on 5 November 1993, was a man of many talents. Pre-eminent as a biographer of Locke and Rousseau, he was also distinguished for his own contribution to political philosophy and for his capacity to expound the political thought of others in clear, simple language. He did this with great success not only in the lecture room but also in numerous broadcast talks and discussions, notably on the Third Programme of the BBC. In his (...) academic work he was particularly well informed on French political thought, contemporary as much as classical, and he wrote extensively on Sartre and more briefly on Camus and Foucault. He was himself fluent in the French language and he translated Rousseau's Social Contract and Discourse on Inequality for the Penguin Classics series. He was proficient in German and Italian too, and he knew enough Danish to translate a book on Wittgenstein written in that language. His love of literature often led him to illustrate philosophical points with apt examples from classical novels. He even wrote a couple of novels himself in his youth. It will be plain from this brief catalogue that he was an eminently civilized person. He was, in addition, an exceptionally friendly man and engagingly modest about his own abilities. (shrink)
great figure of the French sociology of the first half in the 20th century, Maurice Halbwachs has realized a work of a great richness, which goes from the study of the social morphology to that of the collective psychology and which analyse matters such as consumption, social classes, memory of the social groups, suicide, urban life, religion or demography. It consists also in numerous methodological writings dedicated to the quantification in social sciences and reveals to the French public a (...) few foreign essential authors, like Werner Sombart, thorstein Veblen, Max Weber, robert Park, Ernest Burgess or John M. Keynes. this article presents several fundamental concepts of Maurice Halbwachs’s work between which appear those of social morphology, social class and class conscience. (shrink)
O artículo constitui uma tentativa de reconstrução da noção de comunidade a partir da literatura na obra de Maurice Blanchot.A comunidade apresenta-se como uma forma original e inovadora de relação social.