Chiasmi International

Volume 25, 2023

Horizons of War, of Criticism, of the Future

Federico Leoni
Pages 45-56

War Was Taking Place
Merleau-Ponty, The Immoralist

Merleau-Ponty’s article, “La guerre a eu lieu”, contains, as has been said, a kind of new phenomenology of perception. Its research question could be formulated as follows. What prevented German-occupied France from perceiving the enemy as an enemy for so many months or years of alienating cohabitation? The “drôle de guerre” would, among other things, be linked to this singular perceptual impasse. An impasse that is as dramatic as instructive, since it shows that war and politics have nothing to do with handling the friend/enemy dialectical opposition Carl Schmitt situated at the center of his philosophy. Rather, they have to do with handling an adialectical field in which that opposition is not yet delineated and perceptible, but is rather evolving in a continuity and ambiguity that constitute the real (and in this sense immoral) matter of politics and war.