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In his final and posthumously published work, The Visible and the Invisible, Maurice Merleau-Ponty employed the term "dehiscence" as a wonderful metaphor to describe our emergence within the world. This botanical term aptly calls to mind both the efflorescence of individuality within a shared context and the development of the practical implications of Merleau-Ponty's thought. The latter subject is the principal focus of the works collected in this book.
Part One, a translation of three recently discovered letters between Jean-Paul Sartre and Merleau-Ponty, provides a detailed record of the disagreement over political issues that ultimately drove the two philosophers apart. Part Two contains five essays devoted to the politcal implications of Merleau-Ponty's later thought; some scholars criticize the attempt to find practical political applications for this thought; others suggest how such a project might be accomplished. Part Three contains another five essays devoted to the ethical implications of these later texts. As in the previous section, some are critical assessments, others adumbrate the ways in which these insights might be successfully appropriated for such a praxis.
This superb anthology addresses the critical need for material directly addressing the politics and ethics implied by Merleau-Ponty's later works.
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Duane H. Davis (Asheville, NC), assistant professor of philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, has published numerous articles on Merleau-Ponty, hermeneutics, French existentialism, and phenomenology.
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