La parole oblique. Merleau-Ponty et les enjeux d'une éthique de l'indirect

  • Emmanuel Alloa Universität Basel


Philosophical speech is required to reach the core of the things themselves, often at the risk of subsuming the individual thing under the law of a general concept and ruining its singularity. ls another approach available to philosophy at all? The question of the violence of the discourse has been raised by many thinkers in the 20th century. Just as Wittgenstein, Husserl demanded for a replacement of deduction by description which would let the things appear in their own light. Merleau-Ponty has rephrased the task of a maieutic phenomenology in terms of "letting see through words" (faire voir par les mots), whereas the direct, exhaustive thematization is given up for an indirect speech, letting the world speak in its own "prose". While the "indirect ontology" in Merleau-Ponty's last works has received wide attention these last years, little case has been made of the linguistic implications of the figure of its philosophical operator, the "indirect speech". What is the status of the "logos" in Merleau-Ponty' s phenomeno-"logy"? By relating Merleau-Ponty' s reflections on the language of philosophy (rather than on philosophy of language) to the linguistic discussion on free indirect speech (Tobler, Kalepky, Bakhtin) as weil asto its use in literature, from Dostoyevsky to Claude Simon, a new perspective opens up of an "indirect ethics", which implies that whoever speaks in the name of the Other is already spoken by him or by her.

How to Cite
ALLOA, Emmanuel. La parole oblique. Merleau-Ponty et les enjeux d'une éthique de l'indirect. Phainomenon, [S.l.], n. 18-19, p. 157-174, oct. 2009. ISSN 2183-0142. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 22 june 2018.