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Phenomenology or Deconstruction?The Question of Ontology in Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Paul Ricoeur and Jean-Luc Nancy$
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Christopher Watkin

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780748637591

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748637591.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 24 September 2021

Maurice Merleau-Ponty: Language

Maurice Merleau-Ponty: Language

(p.45) 2. Maurice Merleau-Ponty: Language
Phenomenology or Deconstruction?

Christopher Watkin

Edinburgh University Press

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

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