JBSP Online: Jan Halák on Merleau-Ponty and Mukařovský

journal update

Available now online, a new article for the Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology by Jan Halák (Palacký University).

Jan Halák– ‘Gesturing in Language: Merleau-Ponty and Mukařovský at the Phenomenological Limits of Structuralism’: JBSP (Originally published online: 15 May 2022).

Abstract: This study aims to corroborate Merleau-Ponty’s interpretations of fundamental ideas from Saussure’s linguistics by linking them to works that were independently elaborated by Jan Mukařovský, Czech structuralist aesthetician and literary theorist. I provide a comparative analysis of the two authors’ theories of language and their interpretations of thought as fundamentally determined by language. On this basis, I investigate how they conceive linguistic innovation and its translation into changes in the constituted language and other social codes and institutions. I explain how they elaborate on Saussure’s idea of language as a system of oppositions by interpreting cultural innovation as a systematic variation of pre-established social norms and, similarly, linguistic innovation as gesturing within language. Connectedly, I show how Mukařovský’s works help clarify Merleau-Ponty’s focus on the gestural dimension of language. By discussing the two thinkers’ arguments in favour of linguistic innovation, I explore what could be called phenomenological limits of structuralism.

Full article: https://doi.org/10.1080/00071773.2022.2076136

Jan Halák, Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts, Palacký University, Olomouc, Czech Republic

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