HARRISBURG, Pa. — “Merleau-Ponty and the Face of the World: Silence, Ethics, Imagination, and Poetic Ontology,” a book by Glen A. Mazis, distinguished professor of philosophy and humanities at Penn State Harrisburg, has been chosen to be honored by a book session at the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy’s (SPEP) annual conference. The conference will be held Oct. 31 to Nov. 2.
The conference presents six to eight sessions on recent philosophical texts in areas of interest to its members. The texts are discussed by the author, scholars in the field, and the audience. The book committee reviews numerous recent books from the field to make its selections.
Mazis’ book is the culmination of his many decades of research on the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, French phenomenologist, and on the subject of the interplay of imagination and perception, and the poetic expressiveness at the heart of language. The book also is a critique of traditional rule-based and philosophical approaches to ethics, using literature and other examples to show that a “felt solidarity” among people in direct person-to-person interactions is the basis for all sorts of ethical rules having efficacy.
About the book, Mazis has said: “This book offers a new interpretation of Merleau-Ponty's work on embodiment that is currently a focus of much new research in philosophy, artificial intelligence, perceptual studies, psychology and education.”
SPEP, created in 1962 by American philosophers who were interested in Continental philosophy, is a philosophical society in its 58th year whose initial purpose was to promote the study of phenomenology and existentialism. It has since expanded to a wide array of contemporary philosophical pursuits, including critical theory, feminist philosophy, poststructuralism, critical race theory, and most recently, increasingly non-Eurocentric philosophies. It has 2,500 members.