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Ambiguity and the Absolute

Nietzsche and Merleau-Ponty on the Question of Truth

Frank Chouraqui is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Koc University, Istanbul. He is the author of several articles and chapters on Nietzsche and on phenomenological ontology. He is the translator and editor of Louis-Auguste Blanqui’s Eternity Through

Publication Year: 2013

Friedrich Nietzsche and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Chouraqui argues, are linked by how they conceive the question of truth. Although both thinkers criticize the traditional concept of truth as objectivity, they both find that rejecting it does not solve the problem. What is it in our natural existence that gave rise to the notion of truth? The answer to that question is threefold. First, Nietzsche and Merleau-Ponty both propose a genealogy of “truth” in which to exist means to make implicit truth claims. Second, both seek to recover the preobjective ground from which truth as an erroneous concept arose. Finally, this attempt at recovery leads both thinkers to ontological considerations, regarding how we must conceive of a being whose structure allows for the existence of the belief in truth. In conclusion, Chouraqui suggests that both thinkers’ investigations of the question of truth lead them to conceive of being as the process of self-falsification by which indeterminate being presents itself as determinate. The answer to that question is threefold. First, Nietzsche and Merleau-Ponty both propose a genealogy of "truth" in which to exist means to make implicit truth claims. Second, both seek to recover the preobjective ground from which truth as an erroneous concept arose. Finally, this attempt at recovery leads both thinkers to ontological considerations, regarding how we must conceive of a being whose structure allows for the existence of the belief in truth. In conclusion, Chouraqui suggests that both thinkers' investigations of the question of truth lead them to conceive of being as the process of self-falsification by which indeterminate being presents itself as determinate.

Published by: Fordham University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 1-8

Contents

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pp. ix-x

Abbreviations

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pp. xi-xiv

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Preface

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pp. xv-xviii

In 1636, as he was still reeling from the death of his first child, an infant boy named Rumbartus, a young Rembrandt composed one of his most direct and explicit works, the remarkable etching Abraham Caressing Isaac. This was not his first attempt at unraveling the mysteries attached to the most famous infanticide in Western culture. ...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-20

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) and Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908-1961) could hardly be more different men or, indeed, different thinkers. Initially, it seems only contrasts can be drawn between them. Jean-François Lyotard calls Merleau-Ponty “one of the least arrogant of all philosophers,” a description hardly anyone would apply to Nietzsche (Lyotard 1989, 189). ...

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1. Nietzche on Self-Differentiation and Genealogy

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pp. 21-64

In this chapter, I examine the role of predicative truth in Nietzsche’s genealogical accounts of 1887. My general claim is that Nietzsche identifies the origin of the vicissitudes of mankind as an essential property of both the self and reality (that is to say, in phenomenological terms, the world) that I call self-differentiation. ...

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2. The Incorporation of Truth and the Symbiosis of Truth and Life

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pp. 65-97

I have shown in Chapter 1 that the asymptotical structure is an essential feature of the will to power. I have also argued that determinacy, in the form of sublimation, was an essential feature of truth. This presents us with a paradox: the very nature of conceptual knowledge is in contradiction with the nature of reality. ...

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3. The Self-Becoming of the World and the Incompleteness of Being

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pp. 98-114

The relationship between the value of self-becoming and Being has just been clarified in modal terms. It is now apparent that Being is in the full sense only when the potential and the actual are connected. We now need to ask what consequences can be expected from achieving our individual task of self-becoming, ...

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Transition: Vicious Circles, Virtuous Circles, and Meeting Merleau-Ponty in the Middle

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pp. 115-125

Nietzsche’s efforts are all directed toward health and against sickness. In this sense, the concept of self-becoming represents the crux of Nietzschean ethics. However, Nietzsche’s fundamental monism envisages both the individual’s self and the very structure of reality as “fate” and it does not allow for any event in the individual to be considered separately ...

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4. The Origin of Truth

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pp. 126-149

Merleau-Ponty’s masterwork The Visible and the Invisible was originally to be entitled The Origin of Truth (P2, 44; SNS, 97n15/118n2) or Genealogy of Truth. For Merleau-Ponty, the question of the origin of truth synthesized both the critical and the positive aspects of his project. ...

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5. Existential Reduction and the Object of Truth

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pp. 150-173

The phenomenological reduction is the locus of normativity in Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy. It is assigned the task of discriminating between the true and the false within the phenomenal world. Thanks to it, Merleau-Ponty conquers the chance to build—beyond a descriptive phenomenology—a philosophy of perception. ...

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6. Merleau-Ponty’s “Soft” Ontology of Truth as Falsification

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pp. 174-220

It is now clear that Merleau-Ponty’s reformulation of the Husserlian reduction as existential reduction gave priority to phenomenality over phenomena and to the “one” over the multiple. In Merleau-Ponty’s view, this amounts to a reduction to the ontological. In Chapter 4, we had encountered this “one” as the zone of subjectivity ...

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Conclusion

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pp. 221-234

The parallel between Nietzsche’s and Merleau-Ponty’s treatments of the question of truth leads to a single ontological claim: Being is self-falsification through truth, and the phenomenon of truth is its essence. As regards Nietzsche, I argued in Chapter 3 that he views Being as the very movement by which the indeterminate presents itself as determinate. ...

Notes

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pp. 235-276

Bibliography

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pp. 277-286

Index

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pp. 287-304


E-ISBN-13: 9780823254149
Print-ISBN-13: 9780823254118

Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2013

Edition: Cloth
Series Title: Perspectives in Continental Philosophy

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Subject Headings

  • Truth.
  • Ambiguity.
  • Merleau-Ponty, Maurice, 1908-1961.
  • Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm, -- 1844-1900.
  • Absolute, The.
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