Phenomenology of Life. Notes on the Recent Reflections of Renaud Barbaras

Jakub Čapek

Already in the works of Husserl, Heidegger or Merleau-Ponty, life stood in the very center of phenomenological analysis. Nevertheless, a two-fold plurality of the notion “life” is to be noted: the plurality of attribution (life being attributed once to consciousness, other times to organisms, other times identified with existence) and the plurality of meaning (life is said in different ways). The article examines the recent works by Renaud Barbaras in the light of these two kinds of plurality. Barbaras starts from a profound analysis of the phenomenological idea of correlation and attains a new understanding of life, no longer attributed to organisms but rather to the world. The article follows this move from the life of organisms to the life of the world (or of“manifestation”). Reflections of Barbaras are placed into a larger context of various phenomenologies of life or of the world (E. Husserl, M. Heidegger and E. Fink) which decided – in very analogous situations – to take a different path. The article ends by emphasizing the double plurality of the notion of life which seems to be rather dissimulated in the last works of Renaud Barbaras.