Rosario Trimarchi

This article endeavours to analyse a contentious issue within Merleau-Ponty’s theory of expression. At its core lies the dichotomy between the cultural and the savage. Merleau-Ponty’s critique of idealism and algorithm leads his thought towards an aesthetic reform of phenomenology centred around the notion of style. In fact, language, as Merleau-Ponty has shown, witnesses to the fundamental passivity of humankind, and in literature this assumes a paradigmatic outward, allowing to reject the conventional metaphysical interpretation of the philosophical subject. The incomplete nature of Merleau-Ponty’s later works has been, in certain respects, a source for post-structuralist interpretations. Merleau-Ponty shares with poststructuralism the thesis of the obliqueness of meaning, however not the death of man, nor the end of history. It is argued here that any relativistic approach is incongruous with Merleau-Ponty’s ontology of the flesh. To mean is to institute a common atmosphere for a potentially universal comprehension, the occasion of a new idea of rationality and truth. The text should then be regarded as a testament to the «flesh», metaphorically bridging things together according to the husserlian concept of Ineinander: the distancing function of literature reveals our carnal intercorporeity and terrestrial belonging. An embodied literature constitutes the true threshold of reversibility between “oneself” and the “other”, inaugurating an effective reality wherein an Aesthetic Logos, rather than a categorical attitude, spontaneously remodulates inter-specific communication. In this sense, an aesthetic reflexion is intertwined with ethical considerations, giving rise to a new vision of the philosophical subject, praxis, and technique.

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