Chapter

Maurice Merleau-Ponty: Language

Christopher Watkin

in Phenomenology or Deconstruction?

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780748637591
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671847 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748637591.003.0003
Maurice Merleau-Ponty: Language

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This chapter builds on the account in chapter 1 of the difference between perception and expression to show how, contrary to Derrida's assumption, Merleau-Ponty's account of the relationship of language and the ontological, drawing as it does on the structure of figure and ground that we encountered in relation to perception, need not be reductively violent. The argument moves through two main moments: Merleau-Ponty's reference to being ‘in the interrogative mode’ and his characterisation of the relationship of world and language in terms of call and response. The chapter ends by offering Merleau-Ponty's ‘work of expression’ as an alternative to the deconstructive abyss between subject and world, and by interrogating deconstructive questioning itself from a Merleau-Pontean standpoint.

Keywords: Language; Expression; Violence; Logos; Contact

Chapter.  14198 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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