Elements of Responsible Politics by B.P. Dauenhauer

By B.P. Dauenhauer

This selection of essays attracts jointly paintings performed in the course of a interval of greater than fifteen years. during those years a lot has replaced, together with a lot approximately politics. styles of political task were trans­ shaped. ways that we have been familiar with construe politics were considerably transformed and infrequently changed. a few it appears in­ tractable conflicts were resolved. different, it appears extra attainable, conflicts have proven stunning toughness. a couple of political doctrines as soon as thought of indefinitely serviceable have misplaced all relevance. And the fabric and technical assets at our disposal glance strikingly assorted than they did quite a few years in the past. sensible politics of no matter what stripe encounters at each flip ever extra grave environmental degradation. yet, or so this assortment assumes, now not every thing political has replaced. a few political concerns, either "theoretical" and "practical," stay many times trenchant. Questions just like the following call for ever renewed attention. what's the aspect and price of belonging to a political neighborhood? What entitlements and duties persist with upon such club? or perhaps extra essentially, what stipulations are required for there to be politics in any respect? Taken jointly, the essays amassed during this quantity suggest a manner either to appreciate and to interact in politics that's adequately responsive either to perennial political concerns and to the extraordinary exigencies of our period. a few of them current criticisms of greatly held, warmly adored methods of addressing political issues. Others suggest confident choices.

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This hearing exclamation is indeed responsive but it has not yet forg­ ed its own response. My amendment does not assert that the exclamatory is more fundamen­ tal than the interrogatory. Rather it understands the fundamental interroga­ tive itself to be exclamatory. Merleau-Ponty comes close to saying precisely this in his essay “The Metaphysical in Man,” in Sense and Non-Sense: From the moment I recognize that my experience, precisely insofar as it is my own, makes me accessible to what is not myself, that I am sensitive to the world and to others, all the beings which objective thought placed at a distance draw singularly nearer to me.

Philosophy o f Language and Political Thought 23 Perhaps Merleau-Ponty’s most concise articulation of the scope of the phenomenon of silence is found in The Prose o f the World. He says: Languages are so sensitive to the interventions of general history and to their own using only because they are secretly starved for changes that give them means of making themselves expressive once again. Thus there is indeed an interior of language, a signifying intention which animates linguistic events and, at each moment, makes lan­ guage a system capable of its own self-recovery and self-confirmation.

But just as language neither dictates nor necessitates some specific speech, so neither does the political situation decree or necessitate a specific political undertaking. No living politics simply acquiesces in the factual situa­ tion as it finds it. 4 Indeed, this altera­ 39 Merleau-Ponty’s Political Thougfit tion is not merely a right that a politician may exercise at his discretion. The transformation of the situation is constitutive of politics itself. Precisely what Merleau-Ponty praises in Machiavelli is the latter’s recog­ nition that we need never be mere victims of fortuna, of some given political situation.

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