Volume 63, Issue 1, Winter 2019
Merleau-Ponty’s Ontology of Sound
How Hearing Loss and “Trump Talk” Disable Communication and Intersubjectivity
This paper develops an ontology of sound from Merleau-Ponty’s accounts of linguistic expression and political communication framed in terms of the instituted-instituting character of the “flesh.” The analysis explores the role of sound and hearing in experiencing and making sense of a world in order to explain two (arguably related) problems: first, the impact of hearing loss on a person’s relations with others and with their environment and, second, the impact of “trump talk” on the fabric of political community. The argument is that hearing loss and “trump talk” weaken or erase what Merleau-Ponty refers to as the “spirit” of communication and intersubjectivity.