Chiasmi International

Volume 25, 2023

Horizons of War, of Criticism, of the Future

Duane H. Davis
Pages 127-141

The War Is Taking Place
Merleau-Ponty’s Account of Historicity and The War in Ukraine

While Merleau-Ponty’s political positions evolved over the course of his career, they are grounded in and guided by a remarkably consistent account of historicity. Praxis requires authentic historical engagement; and Merleau-Ponty was critical of inauthentic a-historical approaches throughout his career. I chart a trajectory of Merleau-Ponty’s position from The War Has Taken Place (1945), through some of the newly published material from the mid to late 1940’s Michel Dalissier’s monumental two volume collection of inédits, and the Introduction to Signs (1960). This results in two surprising and admittedly controversial observations that contradict dominant narratives. I argue that: (1) Merleau-Ponty’s account of historicity precludes the claim that he abandoned Marxism altogether with the writing of Adventures of the Dialectic (1955); and (2) Merleau-Ponty’s account of historicity reveals the dominant Western narrative about the war in Ukraine to be inauthentic.