Volume 16, 2014
Between Yesterday and Tomorrow
La virtu sans aucune résignation
In light of the political facts of his time and his own experience, Merleau-Ponty tries, in the preface to Signs, to detect a general structure of history and culture. Concerned with establishing a concrete philosophy, the French philosopher never detached his political reflection from the particularity of circumstances. This article proposes to take up both the spirit and method of Merleau-Ponty. With regard to the spirit, this is a matter of seeing whether the analyses in the preface to Signs still make sense for us today. With regard to method, we try to develop an interpretation anchored in the current experience of French politics. This rootedness in current events is fundamental if we do not want to betray the concern for contingency, the sign of a concrete political approach. We will find that the ethics of engagement defined by Merleau-Ponty in the expression, “virtu without resignation” could also be the response to certain contemporary problems.