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Power and law: an investigation of the political a priori of phenomenology

Grant number: 19/24020-7
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research
Effective date (Start): March 04, 2020
Effective date (End): August 03, 2020
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy - History of Philosophy
Principal researcher:Luiz Damon Santos Moutinho
Grantee:Luiz Damon Santos Moutinho
Host: Luc Foisneau
Home Institution: Centro de Educação e Ciências Humanas (CECH). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Research place: École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), France  

Abstract

Our project revolves around the political question from the perspective of Phenomenology, particularly that of Merleau-Ponty and Lefort. How does this question arise there? We take Merleau-Ponty's critique of "revolutionary politics" as a starting point, made in a conceptually complex context, because it is also that of a self-criticism: Merleau-Ponty must redefine his "philosophy of history" and it must include another policy. It is in this context that he announces a resumption of Machiavelli in order to call "power" into question again, once the failure of the Soviet model had been noted, around the end of the 1940s. Lefort follows this trail and will elaborate a critique of "totalitarianism" and a theory of "democracy". On the one hand, there seems to be a political a priori (not developed by the Author) no longer committed to the realization of the "universal", as was the "revolutionary power", but also not to the legitimacy of power: Merleau-Ponty seems to assume the lesson of Machiavelli that power is neither pure force, nor bearer of truth or legitimacy. On the other hand, Lefort moves towards a theory of "democracy" that enshrines a plural and heterogeneous society, but in a conceptual context different from that of Merleau-Ponty: Lefort breaks with the "philosophy of history" to restore the "political philosophy" and its "democratic politics" is still based on legitimacy, but this time shifted to the "struggles for rights", no longer focused on the "pole of power". Having made this circumscription of the politician, the biggest question facing us - and this also goes beyond the tradition of Phenomenology - revolves around the relations between "power" and "law". (AU)

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