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Name: «Poetics of philosophy», or Henri Meschonnic’s Anti-Heidegger

Authors: E. A. Deyneka

Université Paris 8 Vincennes – Saint-Denis

Issue 2, 2017Pages 287-302
UDK: 81:1DOI:

Abstract: The article presents an analysis of the reasons for the critical attitude of the French philologist, thinker and poet Henri Meschonnic to the philosophical and poetic heritage of Martin Heidegger. The conceptual objections to the philosophy of language of the latter, laid out by Meschonnic in his book The Heidegger’s language (Le langage Heidegger, 1990), are considered in the context of his teaching as a whole, including his personal philosophical attitudes, biographical circumstances and provisions of his theory. The nature of the deep ethical and ideological contradictions that underlie the fundamental incompatibility of the philosophical-poetic discourses of the German philosopherpoet and the French poet-thinker are elucidated. The Meschonnic’s criticism of what he means by the term “Heideggerianism”, defining it as a “cult of language”, is primarily based on the antiessentialist paradigm which assumes that such historically and anthropologically situated phenomena as language cannot and should not be viewed as a universalized transcendental entity. In particular, the non-distinction between language as system (langue), language as activity (langage) and language as speech (parole), in Saussurian sense, as well as gradual elimination of the notion of discourse (discours), in Benvenistian sense, followed by their unification by Heidegger in the single word Sprache (to the detriment of Rede), serve to Meschonnic as a mark of “fascist” vision of the language. Being considered as a defining property of the human being, the language, seen in such a way, becomes the crucial moment of poetry, arts, society and implies radically different poetics, aesthetics and anthropology. Methodologically, Meschonnic adopts the Kantian critical attitude but, conceptually, rejects all post-Kantian ontology, and namely its Heideggerian version. Furthermore, the French scholar refuses to identify himself as a philosopher on the grounds that the philosophy as such is based on metaphysics and consists of an infinite series of various ontologizations. Instead of such a traditional Occidental philosophy, he suggests another approach, a kind of “poetics of thought”. In our article, we discuss different theoretical and practical aspects of this original concept which involves a profound reflection on the relationship between language, thought and poetry. Using our private materials (an autographic inscription made by Henri Meschonnic on the first page of his book Le langage Heidegger) we try to understand and demonstrate the main principle of Meschonnic’s “poetic philosophy”: the “homogeneity of living and saying”.

Keywords: Henri Meschonnic, Martin Heidegger, philosophy of language, poetics, philosophical discourse, poetic discourse


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