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)
Gilbert Ryle and Maurice Merleau-Ponty each attempted to articulate a non-mechanistic concept of the body by stressing the importance of skill: skillful behavior constituting cognition in Ryle’s work, and the skill body constituting perception in Merleau-Ponty’s work. In this chapter, I turn to their cautions and insights. By drawing out the relation between these two seemingly unrelated theorists, I hope to show that together Ryle and Merleau-Ponty have much to offer philosophy today.
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)
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)
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.
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)
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)
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)
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)
This article argues that Maurice Blanchot is a significant presence in Bernard Stiegler's Technics and Time series. The article first sets out Stiegler's invocation of the Blanchotian ‘change of epoch’ in the first volume, which attempts to situate Blanchot within the horizon of technics. I argue Blanchot's disaster is a hidden element in Stiegler's play on the motifs of the star and catastrophe. The article then traces how these motifs emerge in the second and third volumes, in which the (...) technical forms of photography and cinema become more important and where the motifs are woven together through reference to works by Roland Barthes, D. W. Winnicott and Federico Fellini. Stiegler filters these references to apparently disparate figures through Blanchot's analyses of writing and temporality. Tracing both overt and unacknowledged references to Blanchot in Stiegler's text, I conclude that Stiegler's use of Blanchot destabilizes his conceptions of time and epochality. (shrink)
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)
En la reflexión filosófica contemporánea, la relación se ha convertido en una categoría interpretativa de la realidad humana y de sus articulaciones. Entre los filósofos que han estado interesados a la persona y sus relaciones intersubjetivas un lugar particular merece Maurice Nédoncelle, original personalista francés de ‘900, que ha reflexionado sobre la reciprocidad de las conciencias con el fin de captar la estructura relacional y intersubjetiva de lo humano. El presente estudio explica las coordenadas fundamentales del pensamiento de Nédoncelle, (...) con el fin de configurar una perspectiva ética que también es relacional. Palavras clave: Persona. Relación. Reciprocidad. Amor. Ética. Nédoncelle. (shrink)
Este trabajo propone una lectura de la filosofía de la comunidad de Maurice Blanchot a partir de sus Escritos políticos. La tensión entre los documentos vivos (octavillas, cartas, proyectos) redactados por Blanchot sobre todo en los “mayos” del 58 y del 68 y la elaboración filosófica de la noción de comunidad ya en el 83, arrojan nueva luz sobre la necesidad y los términos de una actualización de la exigencia comunista. La hipótesis de este trabajo es que el concepto (...) de comunidad cancela la posibilidad de ruptura revolucionaria de la que partió el pensamiento de Blanchot y la reconduce a un comunismo de pensamiento de raíz ético-literaria. Finalmente, se esbozan las claves para ir más allá, hacia una política del mundo común. (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)
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)
S'étonnant qu'un simple physicien sache traiter des rapports de la physique et de la métaphysique, Edmond Domet de Vorges s'était demandé si Pierre Duhem n'avait pas bénéficié de l'aide de quelque théologien dans l'élaboration de son articulation de ces deux disciplines. Faisant suite à cette question très pertinente, cet article liste d'abord les intellectuels catholiques qui étaient en relation avec Duhem avant la publication, en 1893, de son article Physique et métaphysique et qui auraient effectivement pu l'aider à concevoir une (...) telle articulation. Se consacrant ensuite spécifiquement à l'un d'entre eux, à savoir Maurice Blondel, il étudie les similitudes et divergences existant entre les pensées du physicien bordelais et du philosophe d'Aix pour conclure que Blondel ne peut pas être celui qui aurait inspiré Duhem. À l'appui de cette conclusion, il fait notamment état d'une lettre inédite adressée par Duhem à Ambroise Gardeil et dans laquelle celui-ci porte un jugement sévère à l'endroit de son «pauvre ami» Blondel. ––– One might be surprised to find that a simple physician could be able explain with clarity the subtle relationship between physics and metaphysics. It is with this question in mind that Edmond Domet de Vorges asked himself if it might not have been with the aid of theologians that Pierre Duhem was able to find and express his subtle articulation between the two disciplines. Following in the footsteps of this pertinent question, this article begins by listing the catholic intellectuals who were acquaintances of Pierre Duhem before the publication in 1893 of “Physique et métaphysique”, who may have been able to help him arrive at the relationship between the two sciences expressed in his publication. This line of questioning is followed by a specific study of one of these men, namely Maurice Blondel. The similarities and differences in the opinions of the physician from Bordeaux and the philosopher from Aix are explored with the resulting conclusion that Blondel could not have been he who inspired Duhem. This conclusion can be confirmed by a previously unpublished letter from Duhem to Ambroise Gardeil which contains a very severe judgement with regards to his “poor friend” Blondel. (shrink)
With their texts The Inoperative Community and The Unavowable Community, JeanLuc Nancy and Maurice Blanchot started in the 80s a dialogue whose central object was the theme of the community. In this dialogue, however, not only Nancy and Blanchot were involved: both of them recognized themselves as heirs of a reflection that had begun, with different nuances and at different times, Nietzsche and Bataille. Several decades later, in La communauté désavouée, Nancy returns to the debate that had him as (...) a protagonist in the eighties: how far did Blanchot pretend to go with the arguments that he opposed against Nancy’s own text? Based on this question, which begins one of the sections of Nancy’s last essay, the work intends to resume this debate in order to rethink the link between writing and community. (shrink)
Resumen: El presente artículo dialoga con los principales postulados fenomenológicos del filósofo Maurice Merleau-Ponty, referidos a la noción de cuerpo desde una perspectiva contemporánea. Tal mirada simboliza una nueva comprensión del sujeto como sí mismo y como una verdadera multidimensionalidad abierta hacia los otros. En el trayecto del relato, se propone una representación de lo corpóreo que permita distanciarse de las clásicas concepciones que instalan al cuerpo como una estructura técnica y como una producción necesaria para la circulación de (...) imágenes cotidianas. ¿Qué es ser cuerpo? pregunta y argumento de Merleau-Ponty pensado a partir de la relación substancial entre el hombre, la cotidianidad y la experiencia de ser-en-el-mundo.: This article dialogues with the main phenomenological postulates of the philosopher Maurice Merleau- Ponty, referring to the notion of body from a contemporary perspective. Such a look symbolizes a new understanding of the subject as himself and as a true multi-dimensionality open to others. On the journey of the story, it proposes a representation of the corporeal that allows to distance itself from the classical conceptions that install the body as a technical structure and as a necessary production for the circulation of everyday images. What is being a body? Question and argument of Merleau-Ponty conceived from the substantial relationship between man, daily life and the experience of being-in-the-world. (shrink)
The comparison I make in this essay between the aesthetics of Susanne Langer and Maurice Merleau-Ponty is inspired by questions asked repeatedly by students in my aesthetics course: Why do we read philosophers of art? What do we expect to gain from reading philosophy of art? What do its authors hope to accomplish? It is always important for an instructor to provide a road map for course content, and even more so when the course is part of a liberal (...) education curriculum. Since students enrolled in the course come from a variety of majors, it is helpful for them to see the relevance of the course subject matter and their chosen field of study, placing the latter in the context of the larger web of cultural activity.... (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)
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)
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)