Éloge de la philosophie. Leçon inaugurale faite au Collège de France le jeudi 15 janvier 1953.

MERLEAU-PONTY Maurice (1953.)

£600.00  [First Edition]


First edition, one of 45 numbered copies on Lafuma-Navarre paper. 8vo (192 x 142mm). 90 pp. Original printed wrappers. A near fine copy, in a glassine jacket. Paris, Gallimard.

In Praise of Philosophy is the text of Merleau-Ponty’s inaugural lecture as Chair of Philosophy at the Collège de France, the most prestigious post for a philosopher in the country. The youngest person ever elected, he would hold the position until his death in 1961.

Dedicated to the spirit of philosophy itself, the lecture opens with an appraisal of Henri Bergson and Louis Lavelle, Merleau-Ponty’s predecessors as Chair of Philosophy, before segueing - via a discussion of Socrates and the significance of religion to the history of philosophical thought - to explicate, in his own words, “the function of the philosopher, first of all as it was exercised by my predecessors, and then as it pertains to this function to consider both the past of philosophy and its present”. For Merleau-Ponty, the philosopher “possesses inseparably the taste for evidence and the feeling for ambiguity”, a dual commitment in which absolute knowledge must never obscure from the inherent ambiguity of the world, and where knowledge must never be lost to equivocation: “a movement which leads back without ceasing from knowledge to ignorance, from ignorance to knowledge, and a kind of rest in this movement” (p. 5).

Stock Code: 231471

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