March 13, 2006

Back from traveling

I’ve been traveling for a couple of weeks and so haven’t been able to attend to the blog as carefully as I’d like. But I’m back now and am gratified to see the level of activity in the comments. From a quick perusal I can see that not everyone is so sympathetic to my views. That’s fine - indeed it’s the people who disagree with me that I’ll likely have the most to learn from! I look forward to going through the comments carefully, and will try to write some responses over the next few days. I may not get to respond to everything, but I’ll try. In the meantime, I’ll also try to put up some new substantive posts, and will look forward to further comments.

February 21, 2006

Augustine and phenomenology

Ok, ok. I’m sure the suspense is killing you. I promised in my last post that I would reveal a surprising and amazing fact about the relation between Merleau-Ponty and Husserl, as MP understood it. And I’ve left the issue hanging for almost a week now. So here it is…

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February 15, 2006

Essence and Existence

Two weeks ago I posted about MP’s view of the relationship between Husserl and Heidegger. (See post here.) The issue there was in what context to read MP’s claim that “all of Sein und Zeit springs from an indication in Husserl.” I claimed that what he really meant was that Heidegger’s methodology, though not necessarily his philosophical views, spring from Husserl. And I also claimed that “spring from” (est sorti de) really means “develops out of.” At least that’s what I intended to be saying there. The idea was that MP is not claiming, as some people propose, that Husserl already thought of everything Heidegger said. He’s claiming, instead, that if you give a “strong” reading of Husserl, then you can see that his late works ought to push him in the direction of the hermeneutic methodology that Heidegger employs in Being and Time; and they ought to do this whether Husserl understood it or not. This way of understanding MP’s view of the relation between Husserl and Heidegger sits well, I believe, with the interpretive principles he lays down in his essay on Husserl, “The Philosopher and his Shadow” (published in Signs.) In this post and the next I would like to discuss two more reasons for thinking this is the right way to understand what MP is up to in the Preface.

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February 12, 2006


Well, here’s a very preliminary draft of a translation of the Preface. The footnotes are all translations of MP’s footnotes, but the endnotes and the comments are all translators notes, including a number of substantive notes that discuss issues concerning translational, interpretational, and philosophical issues. Comments welcome…

Je sens du...

I have now finished a very rough draft of the Preface, which I’ll put up for comment later today. But before I do that I’d like to mention a tricky problem in the very first sentence of the introduction. I’m sure that Smith has done something wrong, but I can’t quite figure out the nuance of the French…

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February 10, 2006

MP Reading Group Organizational Meeting

For those of you in the Princeton area, the first, organizational meeting for the Merleau-Ponty reading group will take place today (Friday 2/10) from 2-3 in room 121 1879 Hall. Hope to see you there!

February 8, 2006

Par example: word order again

Here’s an example in which the issue of word order (previously discussed here) seems to arise pretty starkly. On p. vii of the Preface MP writes, “je peux bien distinguer de moi le monde et les choses, puisque assurément je n’existe pas à la manière des choses.” Literally this reads, “I can easily distinguish from myself the world and things, since surely I do not exist in the manner of things.” This sounds a bit awkward in English. But is there really any way to render it less awkwardly without changing the sense of the of the sentence? I think maybe not…

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