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New in G+C: Gerhard Thonhauser on Phenomenological Reduction and Radical Situatedness

Against the background of recent debates around "critical phenomenology", this paper discusses Merleau-Ponty's understanding of the phenomenological method, focusing on the preface of Phenomenology of Perception. Merleau-Ponty traces the distinction between classical and critical phenomenology back to Husserl. He sees the Husserl of the published works as representing a version of phenomenology that is unsuited for critique and advocates for another Husserl that he finds in (at the time) unpublished manuscripts. Merleau-Ponty considers the phenomenological reduction as the key methodological step to break with the taken-for-grantedness of the world and to make manifest the inescapable entanglement of subject and world. He considers this the prerequisite for and path into an analysis and critique of social structures. Merleau-Ponty subscribes to the phenomenological method precisely because he finds it to be the most suitable approach for analysing the works of power in concrete historical movements and to develop a situated critique.

Thonhauser, Gerhard. "Phenomenological Reduction and Radical Situatedness: Merleau-Ponty and the Method of Critical Phenomenology." Genealogy+Critique 9, no. 1 (2023): 1–18. DOI: 10.16995/gc.10406

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