By Maurice Merleau-Ponty

ISBN-10: 0810104040

ISBN-13: 9780810104044

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The knowledge of history's secret does not give knowledge of its paths. In its own way, the politics of reason also oscillates between values and facts. The only difference is that, here, values are disguised in perspectives, and personal decisions in historical processes. In 1917, when Bukharin wanted to continue the war against Germany, which he said had become a revolutionary war, Trotsky advised "neither war nor peace" and Lenin favored an immediate peace. Their agreement on the ultimate ends left aside the question of the path to follow, and the way this path was traced by each of them expressed the total relation of each to the world.

History appears as a spectacle only to those who have decided to consider all the solutions and who place themselves before the solutions, freely disposed toward all. History thus stands in contrast to both the narrow and the profound passions which it considers. " 4 The decision to question each epoch concerning a fundamental choice that is diffused in its thoughts, its desires, and its actions, and of which it has perhaps never made an accounting, is the result of living in an epoch that has tasted of the tree of knowledge.

When closely looking at this open and even candid politics, which wishes in every case to judge without ulterior motives, one finds it to be unable to decide between "accommodation" and revolt. By its inflexible manner of leaving a pure value and a factual situation face to face, this polities must give in, sometimes to one side, sometimes to the other; and this patient action, which was little by little to construct the world, can only keep the world as it is or destroy itand always unwillingly.

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Adventures of the Dialectic. (Northwestern University studies in phenomenology & existential philosophy) by Maurice Merleau-Ponty


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