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Is this really an important author, or the work of one Wikipedian with an agenda?
I personally think that Michel Henry is really an important author, and that's why I have tried to write an article about his work in French first and then to translate it in english, with the help of a big dictionary as my english is not very good.
I must however admit that I do not always understand all what he has written, as he often commented philosophers in a very technical language, and I am not philosopher at all by training. I have tried to gather simple quotations that I really understand, even if they often seem paradoxical at first sight because of our thinking habits to reduce everything to its visible appearance in the world instead of reaching its invisible reality in the life.
He is certainly better known in France as few of his books seem to have been translated in english, and some of then, like "The Essence of the manifestation" are very expensive, and therefore reserved to libraries and professional searchers. He was not a very well suited in the media philosopher, I think he has concentrated his efforts on his work, not on its diffusion.
I have added to this article the translation of a sentence written in the french version by the Wikipedian "Pierrot le Fou", who says that Michel Henry has proposed the deepest theory of the subjectivity of the twentieth century and that he has produced the lastest complete philosophical system.
I have also added the translation of some of my favorite quotations about the affectivity from "The Essence of the manifestation", and completed the quotation from his wonderful book about the painter Wassily Kandinky, but I don't know if an english translation of this book exists.
Philippe Audinos (May 2005)
He is quite important, especially as one of the leading lights in the "Theological Turn" in recent French phenomenology (along with Jean-Luc Marion and Jean-Louis Chrétien, and even Derrida was writing about theological topics), but as M. Audinos says he is not very well known in the English-speaking world. This may change, however, as most of his major works are now in or undergoing translation. I think the only two which aren't translated or currently undergoing translation in some form are "La Barbarie" (unless someone wants the awful version I've been handing off to friend who can't read French) and "Voir l'invsible, sur Kandinsky."
Of course, since the wiki "community" is largely made up of shallow Anglophones with a bias against philosophy, it isn't suprising that the question of relevance and importance is raised.
I, for one, consider philosophy to be THE most important science. Without philosophy, you lose natural sciences, historical knowledge, and theological wisdom. Philosophy, if you will, is the mother knowledge - not simply its study. ANYWAYS, while Henry may have been important, I'm not so certain that his views really had that much impact on the world in general...especially since most still consider life to be an exterior concept - that is, that one has life because he breathes, acts, etc. Perhaps, then, his theory should be put on the same page and the NPOV enforced in determining the level of importance here. -Eltinwë 20:29, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
I don't think that the criteria for inclusion of a philosopher is how important he was or what impact he had on the world. As long as he was or is a recognized philosopher he has the right to be in wikipedia and his thoughts to be summarized here. manu3d 18:31, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
Well, I found this article extremely useful as a rough introduction to a relatively obscure philosopher. Since it does not imply that Henry was either famous or hugely influential (in the sense that even, e.g., Derrida is 'famous' or 'influential' - i.e., barely, outwith academia) raising the issue of importance is misleading - for me, personally, this article is more 'important' (i.e., useful) than one on a major philosopher I could read about in an offline (BTW, is that a word?) philosophy encyclopedia.
Moreover, since Henry is evidently a heterodox thinker (even by French standards), it seems like 'NPOV' and '(anglophone) philosophical orthodoxy' might be easily conflated - maybe editors could bear this in mind? Baadog, August 2008. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 22.214.171.124 (talk) 17:49, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
The article on the phenomenogical life is sufficiently self-conclusive and can stand on its own. There might be an argument about reducing the duplicate information in this page about Michel Henry, but I wouldn't be too pickey about it. manu3d 19:01, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
I didn't know Michel Henry till now and I find this article helpful to get a first impression. I am thus astonished, that this thinker is attributed so much of originality in thought because the named concepts of incarnation, chair, radical phenomenology and so on are all concepts of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, famous french philosopher born in 1908. He wrote about the same topics. h.glatt —Preceding unsigned comment added by 126.96.36.199 (talk) 08:11, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
I can’t answer precisely to your question because I don’t really know the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty. But the book Incarnation. A philosophy of the flesh from Michel Henry (that has not yet been translated in English) is not only a book describing the flesh from an external point of view, but as Henry says, it is an archeology of the flesh, it deals with what comes before the flesh itself, i.e. the self-revelation of Life. They use the same words and write about the same topics, but I believe that their approach is very different.
As Michel Henry says, in an interview with Virginie Caruana first published in the review Philosophie in January 2000 : « Le livre que je termine porte sur l’incarnation, c’est-à-dire la venue de la vie dans une chair […]. Il s’agit de faire une phénoménologie ou une archéologie de la chair, de montrer la venue de la vie dans la chair. Ma phénoménologie propose une conception de la phénoménalité qui met en cause la conception classique qui prévaut depuis la Grèce, conception à laquelle sont encore fidèles les autres phénoménologues. » (Michel Henry, Entretiens, éd. Sulliver, 2005, p. 121).
Approximate translation in English of this text : "The book that I’m finishing to write deals with incarnation, i.e. the coming of life into a flesh […] It is a phenomenology or an archeology of the flesh, that shows the coming of life into the flesh. My phenomenology proposes a conception of phenomenality that questions and reverses the conception that prevails since Greek philosophy, a conception that is still followed by the other phenomenologists."