Famous Quotes Explained: « Philosophy is not an illusion; it is the algebra of history. » In Praise of Philosophy (Éloge de la philosophie), Merleau-Ponty, 1953.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty was a 20th-century French philosopher (1908-1961), known for his contributions to the philosophy of perception and phenomenology (the study based on phenomena, on experience). He developed innovative ideas about how human beings experience the world through their bodies and senses, challenging traditional approaches to philosophy that prioritized abstract thought.
The quote Philosophy is not an illusion; it is the algebra of history is from his inaugural lecture at the Collège de France in 1953, presented in the work In Praise of Philosophy (Éloge de la philosophie1953). It presents a perspective on philosophy that emphasizes its role as an intellectual instrument, a tool for understanding and analyzing history. This quote suggests that philosophy is not a vain or illusory endeavor but has a precise and practical function, namely, to address the problems and questions related to the history of humanity.
In relation to Merleau-Ponty’s thought, this quote can be interpreted in several ways. First, Merleau-Ponty placed great importance on lived experience and sensory perception in understanding the world. He insisted that philosophy should be grounded in this concrete experience rather than in abstractions. From this perspective, the idea that philosophy is the algebra of history could mean that it seeks to solve concrete and complex problems that arise in the historical context.
Furthermore, Merleau-Ponty also addressed how individuals are deeply immersed in the world and how their bodies and senses are essential for their understanding of the world. In this light, philosophy could be seen as an attempt to decipher and explain the historical processes and dynamics that shape our perception and understanding of the world.
However, it is important to note that the quote seems to ascribe to philosophy a highly utilitarian role, that of solving historical equations. Merleau-Ponty, while acknowledging the importance of philosophy for understanding the world, would likely caution against too instrumental a view of philosophy, emphasizing its deeper role in reflecting on the human condition and the meaning of existence.
Through this quote, Merleau-Ponty sought to anchor philosophy in concrete reality. We can also assume that for him, philosophy, like history, was an inquiry (etymology of history), always in motion.
Philosophy is not an illusion; it is the algebra of history
Links to Another quotes: Famous Quotes Explained: « As one grows older, anger turns into sadness. », Act III, Scene 5, The Dead Queen, Montherlant.Famous Quotes Explained: « To dream is allowed to the defeated; to remember is allowed to the solitary, » Songs of the Streets and Woods, Preface, Victor Hugo, 1865.Famous Quotes Explained: « Laughter is unique to man, » Gargantua, Rabelais, 1534. Famous Quotes Explained: « Happiness is to continue desiring what one already possesses, » Saint Augustine, 5th-4th century BC. Famous Quotes Explained: « Politics is the art of obtaining money from the rich and votes from the poor, under the pretext of protecting them from each other, » Jules Michelet, 19th century.Famous quotes explained: « If the world were clear, art would not exist », The Myth of Sisyphus, Camus, 1942. Famous quotes explained: « Laws are always useful to those who possess and harmful to those who have nothing. », The Social Contract,Rousseau, 1762.Famous quotes explained: « History is a novel that has been, the novel a story that could have been. », Edmond and Jules Goncourt.Famous quotes explained: « The work exposes, the man disposes », Criticism and truth, Roland Barthes, 1966.Famous quotes explained: « We may brave human laws, but we cannot resist natural ones », Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea , Jules Verne, 1870.Famous quotes explained: « Reading all good books is like having a conversation with the most honest people of past centuries. »Descartes, Discourse on Method, 1637. Famous quotes explained: « tyrants are only great because we are on our knees », Discourse on Voluntary Servitude La Boétie, 1576.Famous quotes explained: « Politeness consists in appearing to forget oneself for others », The Lily of the Valley, Balzac, 1836. Famous quotes explained: « And to esteem everyone is to esteem nothing », The Misanthrope, Molière, 1667.Famous quotes explained: « Work keeps three great evils away from us: boredom, vice, and need. », Candide, Voltaire, 1759. Famous quotes explained: « Without the freedom to criticize, there is no genuine praise. » Act V, Scene 3., The Marriage of Figaro, Beaumarchais, 1784.Famous quotes explained: « One must eat to live, not live to eat. »The Miser, Act III, Scene V, Molière, 1668. Famous Quotes explained: « In war, it is the war of men; in peace, it is the war of ideas. », Fragments, Hugo, 1885. Famous Quotes explained: « I am weary of museums, cemeteries of the arts. » , Lamartine, Voyage en Orient, 1835. Famous Quotes Explained: « What is well conceived is clearly expressed. And the words to say it come easily. », Nicolas Boileau, The Art of Poetry, 1674. Famous Quotes Explained: « One sees clearly with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eyes. », The Little Prince, Saint-Exupéry, 1943. Famous quotes explained: « Education is given by the family; instruction is owed by the state. », Victor Hugo, Words and deeds, 1876. Famous Quotes explained: « One person is missing, and everything is depopulated. » Méditations poétiques, « L’Isolement », Lamartine, 1820. Famous quotes explained: « To love is to know how to say ‘I love you’ without speaking. » Victor Hugo
Page Facebook: CoursJulien