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Studia Phaenomenologica

Volume 7, 2007

Jan Patočka and the European Heritage

James Mensch
Pages 259-283

The a priori of the Visible
Patočka and Merleau-Ponty

Jan Patočka and Maurice Merleau-Ponty attempted to get beyond Husserl by focusing on manifestation or visibility as such. Yet, the results these philosophers come to are very different — particularly with regard to the a priori of the visible. Are there, as Patočka believed, aspects of being that can be grasped in their entirety, the aspects, namely, that involve its “self-showing”? Or must we say, with Merleau-Ponty, that being can only show itself in finite perspectives that can never be summed to a whole? At stake in their attempts to speak of appearing as appearing is, I propose to show, nothing less than the question of the finitude of being.

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