Volume 2, 2010
Selected Essays from Latin America
Luis Álvarez Falcón
Merleau-Ponty: Lo humano y lo adverso
Merleau-Ponty: The Human and the Adverse
On September 10th 1951, in the context of the Rencontres internationales of Geneva, Maurice Merleau-Ponty gave his lecture L’homme et l’adversité (“Man and Adversity”). In an accurate diagnosis of European culture, his analysis sprang from the phenomenological premises defined by Edmund Husserl in Die Krisis der europäischen Wissenschaften und die transzendentale Phänomenologie, Einleitung in die phänomenologische Philosophie that the post-World War II context modified in its epistemological, moral and political conceptions. !e urgency for an answer to the new situation of mankind’s condition will entail a transfor mation of human knowledge as well as of the sensitive areas of our experience. Consequently, a new experience of our condition will call into question the concept of “humanism” itself, demanding a profound revision of the regression of the dynamisms of experience that have ended up in a loss—or failure—of Western culture’s conceptions. This essay will try to reactivate and upgrade the serene testimony of a thought whose premises lie in the inconclusive origin of a radical crisis: the experience of contingency and adversity.