Raw Being and Violent Discourse: Foucault, Merleau-Ponty and the (Dis-)Order of Things

  • Rudi Visker
Part of the Phaenomenologica book series (PHAE, volume 129)


Phenomenology has been too pacifying, Deleuze tells us, and he suggests that we leave Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty for what they are and turn to Foucault in order to discover a more profound Heracliticism.1 Genealogy is too much a war-machine, others respond, and they recommend different remedies. There is nothing extraordinary about this situation. We are, in fact, all too familiar with it. We have come across it in different philosophical settings, with different parties engaging one another and with different choices to be made. We all know from our own experience — and lest we forget, there will always be a flourishing para-philosophical literature to remind us — that this “originating” miracle we know as the philosophical tradition has been “breaking up” (cf. VI, 124/VI, 165). And, now as always, the question is not whether we will be able to live with it, but how we will do so, how we will “accompany this break-up, (…) this differentiation” (ibid.). Hence, perhaps, my hesitation and the uneasiness which haunted me at the thought of having to enter in this arena crowded by all those choices that, like the war, “have taken place” (cf. SNS, ch. 10): for or against “the” subject, for or against universality, for or against the origin of truth. Either Foucault or Merleau-Ponty, either discourse or existence — no doubt such apparently clear-cut choices confront us with questions ranging far beyond method. For does not the standard academic response against the kind of pseudo-politicization of philosophy which I have been evoking, suffer from the ills it is supposed to cure? Is there really such a difference between those who bid us to take sides and “merge” with one of the “existing” positions (VI, 127/VI, 169) and those who, in refusing to do so, nestle themselves in the comfortable teichoscopic position from which they can observe the heroes at the foot of the wall (Iliad, 3, 121-244) and report in a completely detached manner on the choices that others found themselves making?


Originary Experience Philosophical Tradition Objective World Internal Realism John Wild 
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    Deleuze, G., Foucault, Paris, Minuit, 1986, p. 120 (“la phénoménologie est trop pacifiante, elle a béni trop de choses”) and passim. Google Scholar
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1993

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  • Rudi Visker

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