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Chiasmi International

Volume 22, 2020

Mirrors and Other Technologies

Gael Caignard
Pages 153-169

Un « rapp ort de miroir ». Relation amoureuse et réflexion politique chez Merleau-Ponty

This article studies a link between perception and politics by seeking, in Merleau-Ponty’s work, something like a “mirror relation” in the domains of encounters of love and politics. While in Phenomenology of Perception the analysis of sexuality seemingly renders love impossible, in the courses on Institution, Merleau-Ponty affirms the possibility of love by characterizing it as an institution, a sensible idea, a “mirror relation”. When the lover demands signs of love from the loved one, he demands to see in the eyes, the voice, and the experience of the other his own reflection, the reflection of his experience, his words, his gestures, and the demand of love that he is formulating. The promise of love is thus an institution of sense which sheds a new light on all actions past and future, it is a way of overcoming contingency. Conceiving of politics as a “mirror relation” thus means adopting a careful philosophy that observes the event like a mirror and gives place to sensible ideas, at the intersection of gazes understood as a “type of reflection”.

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