Paul Walsh

Paul Walsh completed his BA (Philosophy/English) at University College Dublin, and is presently completing the Master of Philosophy program at KU Leuven. His research interests centre on contemporary Anglo-American political philosophy; in particular Rawls and Sandel.


Paper: "Merleau Ponty's influence on the political philosophy of Claude Lefort"

In this paper I will explore the influence of Merleau Ponty's phenomenology of the body on the political philosophy of Claude Lefort. Taking his cue from Merleau Ponty's emphasis on the global unity of the body, Lefort analyzes different political regimes in terms of the forms in which they arise. These forms include the monarchial, the totalitarian and the democratic. Merleu Ponty's sensitivity to the role of pre-reflective experience in reflection is also influential. Lefort is committed to remaining sensitive to the form of society from which his own reflection is being conducted. Only in this way can the influence that various societal forms have on intersubjective relations be adequately apprehended. I intend to illuminate Lefort's account of societal mutation by situating it in the context of Merleau- Ponty's phenomenological account of the body. I will pay particular attention to Merleau-Ponty's The Structure of Behavior.