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Bringing to light the essential philosophical role of Marxism within Merleau Ponty’s reinterpretation of transcendental phenomenology this book shows that the realization of this project hinges methodologically upon a renewed conception of the proletariat ua universal class—specifically that it rests upon a humanist myth of incarnation which substantiated by Merleau Ponty’s notion of ‘heroism’ locates an objective historical purposiveness in the habituated organism of the modern subjectForegrounding the phenomenological priority of history over corporeality in this way Smyth's analysis recovers the ‘militant’ character of Merleau Ponty’s existential phenomenology It thus sheds critical new light on his early thought and challenges some of the main parameters of existing scholarship by disclosing the intrinsic normativity of his basic methodological commitments


10 thoughts on “Merleau-Pontys Existential Phenomenology and the Realization of Philosophy

  1. says:

    160714 an interesting take on merleau ponty what some might dismiss as irrelevant or simply rhetorically pleasing smyth focusses on two significant uotes in 'phenomenology of perception' one at the very beginning one at the very end to start with m p offers his contention that the most revelatory fact of the phenomenological reduction is that there can be no final reduction to end with m p takes a uote of saint exupery which seems to proclaim transcendence through final discarding of corporeal beingboth of these uotes are problematic and according to smyth broadly ignored by current literature on m p and ph p this is an error in thought if phenomenology is indeed without final foundation if the reduction is finally incomplete what is guarantor of any insight any descriptive validity and is it not a mistake to proclaim inherent limits to a style of thought before the act itself? this is merely the setup smyth uses in fear of vicious regress in what he calls 'flight from phenomenology' which seems to encapsulate antoine de saint exupery's concept of values such as liberty euality fraternity these ideals of the french republic are now swamped by modern civilization have reduced all men to the least and how marxism is not the answer for it sees men as producers and consumers rather than the noble 'Man' who is expressed as ultimate freedom but against this smyth insists the answer the core the foundation is marx as method and not dogma as interpreted by lukacs as not that of institutionalized marxism of lenin etcah well i knew i had not read enough marx now i have not read enough saint exupery but while i could follow the argument that phenomenology of m p did not necessarily precede his grappling with marx it takes a while to see st ex with his particular conception of heroism his disdain for the masses the numbers 'men' rather than 'Man' as anything than ranting of an elitist conservative not that he was taken seriously as a philosopher but people did think of him as a hero and m p does uote him even though i would think they were not amenable thinkers but then the major stylistic sense they share seems christian heroic than marxian this is embodiment and incarnation this is totality and embodiment well this is starting from a christian metaphysical point i do not follow itelements of incarnational marxism? can the lower case 'men' achieve heroism as did the upper case 'Man'? yes apparently if we allow the concept of heroism to evolve from violent dominance violent force in history through the cultural 'heroes' who are ignorant of the role set for them in a hegelian history for there are three states of heroism 1 religious eg saints who incarnate ideals 2 world historical figures eg napoleon and now 3 men who are aware of their role as proletarian vanguard who deliberately act to realize marxian transformationsand this is when the uote m p ends with is particularly hard to reconcile with m p's entire existential phenomenology how can his uote that seems to celebrate to heroically ualify the soul of st ex beyond the bounds of being human being real being incarnate as an embodied consciousness? is not the whole point of m p to be just that embodied? the idea seems to be that this heroism is rather against the heideggerean idea of dasein's impossible possibility of death instead it is how one is alive alive even now especially when you are risking death perhaps even so when your act is a gesture of heroism nothing so mundane as actually usefulso i have to read some saint exupery read some marx these are my heroic goals? or something like thatanother read because of this review