By Marilena Chauí (auth.)
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Additional info for Between Conformity and Resistance: Essays on Politics, Culture, and the State
I am a psychological and historical structure ( . . ). All my actions and my thoughts stand in a relationship with this structure, and even a philosopher’s thought is merely a way of making explicit his hold on the world, and what he is. The fact remains that I am free, not in spite of, or on the hither side of these motivations, but by means of them. 5 What are the political consequences of these two different conceptions of philosophy? For Sartre, because consciousness is light and insubstantial, the philosopher can accept the call from all facts and all events, without being impregnated by them, therefore, conserving his sovereignty.
The decline of the engaged intellectual, or the silence of the intellectual, is, therefore, a symptom of something that is more profound: the absence of a way of thinking that is capable of exposing and interpreting contemporary contradictions. What we are dealing with is not a refusal of public discourse but the impossibility of formulating it. The second cause is the decline of public space and the growth of private space, impelled by the imperatives of a new form of capital accumulation, known as neoliberalism.
Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy, on the contrary, accentuates the prereflexive world in which we live and from which we emerge as intercorporeal and intersubjective, as tied to the fabric of the world and of the others, without the power to constitute them. Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy defines itself against intellectualism, that is, the supposition of the sovereignty of the consciousness as the creator of meaning and of the foundation of the world as meaning. Against this intellectualist tradition, Merleau-Ponty emphasizes consciousness as embodied in a cognizant and ref lexive body endowed with feeling and interiority, relating to other things as bodies that are also endowed with interiority and feeling, and with others, that are not things or parts of the landscape, but our own likeness.
Between Conformity and Resistance: Essays on Politics, Culture, and the State by Marilena Chauí (auth.)