PHI 630: MERLEAU-PONTY AND DERRIDA
HUGH J. SILVERMAN
SPRING 2004
MONDAYS 7:00-10:00
HARRIMAN 249
Office Hours (Harriman 203):
Wednesdays 3-5 and by appt.

Contemporary Continental Philosophy (esp. Phenomenology and Deconstruction) is marked by the philosophies of Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908-61) and Jacques Derrida (b. 1930). This seminar will focus of some key themes in their respective thought and philosophical practices: perception, embodiment, language, expression, writing, politics. In each of these instances the question of the subject returns in various forms: speaking subject, incarnate subject, speech and expression, writing and difference, friendship and address, hospitality and justice. Special attention will be given to the differences between phenomenological method and deconstructive strategy, between ambiguity and the places of indecidability, between visibility and textuality, between the experience of intersubjectivity and freedom and questions of law and justice.

Texts will be selected from:
I. Maurice Merleau-Ponty
PHENOMENOLOGY OF PERCEPTION (Routledge)
TEXTS AND DIALOGUES (Humanity Books)
CONSCIOUSNESS AND THE ACQUISITION OF LANGUAGE (Northwestern)
PROSE OF THE WORLD (Northwestern)
SIGNS (Northwestern)
THE VISIBLE AND THE INVISIBLE (Northwestern)

II. Jacques Derrida
SPEECH AND PHENOMENA (Northwestern University Press)
POLITICS OF FRIENDSHIP (Verso)
ACTS OF RELIGION (Routledge)

Recommended (for consultation):
III. Hugh J. Silverman
PHILOSOPHY AND NON-PHILOSOPHY SINCE MERLEAU-PONTY (Northwestern)
DERRIDA AND DECONSTRUCTION (Routledge)
INSCRIPTIONS (Northwestern)
TEXTUALITIES (Routledge)

Seminar papers: two papers (about 8-10 pages in length). The first paper should deal an aspect of Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy. The second should focus on Derrida, but can also include indications of how Derrida differs from Merleau-Ponty on a topic of the seminar participant’s choosing.

Protocols: each member of the seminar will prepare a protocol for two of the seminar sessions (depending on the number of seminar participants). The person responsible for a particular week will write up an account of what transpired in class the previous week and will make a copy available to each of the members of the seminar prior to the beginning of class. The protocol for a particular week will be discussed at the outset of the seminar. This will give everyone an opportunity to review what transpired in the previous session and to raise any lingering issues or topics that were not sufficiently treated when first presented.


Schedule

Feb. 2 - Introduction: Merleau-Ponty and the Question of Language: Overview

Phenomenology of Perception
“The Body as Speech and Expression”
Texts and Dialogues: Chapsal Interview & Two Proposals on Perception
Background reading in Textualities (Part I)

Feb. 9- Merleau-Ponty and the Question of Language (1947-51)

Phenomenology of Perception
“The Body as Speech and Expression”
Consciousness and the Acquisition of Language
Signs: “Phenomenology of Language”
“Indirect Language and the Voices of Silence”

Feb. 16 Merleau-Ponty and the Question of Language (1952)

Prose of the World
“The Specter of a Pure Language”
“Science and the Experience of Expression”
“The Indirect Language”

Feb 23 Merleau-Ponty and the Question of Language (1952)

Prose of the World
“The Algorithm and the Mystery of Language”
“Dialogue and the Perception of the Other”
“Expression and the Child’s Drawing”

Mar 1 Merleau-Ponty and Politics (1950s)

Readings from Signs
and from Texts and Dialogues
Background: Adventures of the Dialectic

Mar 8 Merleau-Ponty and the Language of Visibility

The Visible and the Invisible

Mar 15 Merleau-Ponty and the Language of Visibility

The Visible and the Invisible

Mar 22 Derrida and Husserl’s Theory of Signs

Speech and Phenomena (1967)
“Differance” and “Form and Meaning”
{first paper due}

Mar 29 Speech and Phenomena, (1967)

Intro & Chapters 1-3

Apr 12 Speech and Phenomena, (1967)

Intro & Chapters 4-7



Apr 19 Derrida and Translation / the Question of Justice

Des Tours de Babel (1980) [in Acts of Religion]
Force of Law (1990) [in Acts of Religion]
Politics of Friendship (1994)
Foreword & Chapter 1

Apr 26 Derrida and the Political

Politics of Friendship (1994)
Chapters 2-4
{second paper due}

May 3 Politics of Relationships

Politics of Friendship (1994)
Chapters 5-7


May 10 Politics of Relationships

Politics of Friendship (1994)
Chapters 8-10

Wrap-Up Session
(during final exam week)

 

Updated: 10-Feb-2004

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