Merleau-Ponty and Modern Politics After Anti-Humanism

By (author) Diana Coole

Publication date:

27 August 2007

Length of book:

296 pages


Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

ISBN-13: 9780742533370

In this important new book, Diana Coole shows how existential phenomenology illuminates and enlivens our understanding of politics. Merleau-PontyOs focus on embodied experience allows us to approach political life in a manner that is both critical and engaged. With breadth of vision and penetrating insight, Coole demonstrates that political questions were always central to Merleau-PontyOs philosophical project. Her examination of his complete body of work presents us with a rigorous philosophy that maintains our capacities for agency despite moving beyond a philosophy of the subject. Merleau-Ponty and Modern Politics after Anti-humanism is the first major work on Merleau-PontyOs political philosophy in over two decades. Coole presents his later philosophy of flesh as the outline for a new understanding of the political, which forms the basis for reconsidering humanism after, but also through, anti-humanism. She also shows how Merleau-PontyOs concern with contingency anticipated arguments by thinkers such as Derrida, Foucault and Deleuze, while sustaining a robust sense of politics as the domain of collective life. The result is a philosophical analysis that speaks to our contemporary concerns in which we seek a coherent account of our actions, our environment and ourselves, such that we might become exemplary political actors within a complex and uncertain world.
This book constitutes a timely and highly original intervention in contemporary political theory. In the first full-length study of Merleau-Ponty's political thought to be published since the rise of poststructuralist theory, Diana Coole brilliantly demonstrates Merleau-Ponty's continuing significance as a resource for political theory today. Merleau-Ponty and Modern Politics After Anti-Humanism fruitfully moves us beyond the now-stale debates about humanism and anti-humanism, modernity and postmodernity.