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Chiasmi International

Volume 15, 2013
Existence, Diacritics, Animality

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Displaying: 1-20 of 36 documents


1. Chiasmi International: Volume > 15
Ted Toadvine Présentation
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2. Chiasmi International: Volume > 15
Ted Toadvine Introduction
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3. Chiasmi International: Volume > 15
Ted Toadvine Presentazione
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i. merleau-ponty – patočka : un rendez-vous manqué
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Jakub Čapek, Ondřej Švec Introduction
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5. Chiasmi International: Volume > 15
Jakub Čapek, Ondřej Švec Introduction
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Jakub Čapek, Ondřej Švec Introduzione
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Renaud Barbaras L’autonomie de l’apparaître
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The goal of this essay is first to emphasize the proximity of the approaches of these two philosophers starting from their common critique of Husserlian subjectivism. By basing the phenomenality of the world on a sphere of immanence constituted by lived experience, Husserl accounts for appearing [l’apparaître] starting from a certain appearing [apparaissant] and thus falls into a form of circularity, the same one that is at work when the natural attitude makes appearing rest on an objective appearing. The aim of these two authors is then to overcome this deeper and more secret version of the natural attitude by freeing the transcendence of the world from every form of objectivity and freeing the existence of the subject from every form of immanence. It is on this sole condition that the autonomy of the phenomenal field can be guaranteed. However, the dynamic approach to the subject in Patočka, which itself leads to a determination of the world as becoming, allows him to account for the chiasm that Merleau-Ponty put forward at the end of his life without managing to ground it, since he held to an insufficient characterization of existence in terms of flesh.
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Pierre Rodrigo Après la phénoménologie? Ontologie de la chair et métaphysique du mouvement chez Merleau-Ponty et Patočka
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Patočka discusses «the disaster of the rejection of metaphysics» by Heidegger. In this critique, he has claimed that «Merleau-Ponty, Ricoeur, Waehlens and others» could neither be satisfied with the Heideggerian closure of the ontological sphere onto itself nor be content with Husserlian transcendentalism. In fact, there is a convergence between Patočka and Merleau-Ponty on this point, as demonstrated by a note from The Visible and the Invisible in which Merleau-Ponty affirms “I am for metaphysics” ...We show that these two thinkers have seen that phenomenology always faces, by eidetic necessity, what remains essentially irreducible for it: being. One thing toremember with Patočka, however, is that «we must not forget that the phenomenon is precisely phenomenon of being» even if «the structure of the appearing is entirely independent of the structure of beings.» But another thing is to thematize the relation between the appearing of the phenomenon and the manifestation of being. This implies that “after” phenomenological description a new type of correlation is analyzed.
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James Mensch The Intertwining as a Form of our Motion of Existence
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Patočka and Merleau-Ponty are both interested in appearing as such. Both attempt to understand this in terms of the body. Despite this agreement, there is a fundamental difference. For Merleau-Ponty, the body’s determination of appearing is ultimately a function of its intertwining with the world. Indeed, its very status as an animated body or “flesh” involves the fact that, located in the world, it also is able to internalize the world that encloses it. This intertwining or “chiasm” is its form as flesh. For Patočka, by contrast, what is crucial is the body’s motility, a motility whose sense embraces all of its actions. He claims that “movement … first makes this or that being apparent, causes it to manifest itself in its own original manner.” I bring these approaches into dialogue by seeing Merleau-Ponty’s chiasm, not just as the form of flesh, but also as the form of its movement.
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Eliška Luhanová La non-présence présente: structure de l’experience chez Merleau-Ponty et Patočka
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The present paper is based on an assumption that M. Merleau-Ponty and J. Patočka penetrate by their proper ways into a specific domain constituted by the mutual relations between the me and all the beings which are given to it where a fundamental ontological reciprocity between the me and the world appears. In our first part, we try to ensure an access to this domain by using the phenomenological method, namely, the analysis of experience. We start from the elementary phenomenological fact that what is given in experience transcends its actual empirical donation, then we proceed to determine the content of this transcendence and propose the concept of the transempirical nature of beings: the being transcends every single actual experience, but not every possible experience. On this ground, we try to reconstruct the general ontological basis that leads us inevitably to the limits of phenomenology. Nevertheless, in our second part, we try to demonstrate – in the form of a hypothesis in progress – that we can probably avoid trespassing on the limits of metaphysics if we agree to trespass on the borders between phenomenology and structuralism, in the sense of a structural ontology of possibilities.
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Dragoş Duicu Merleau-Ponty et Patočka face aux deux apories aristotéliciennes du temps
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This article examines how Merleau-Ponty and Patočka confront the two major difficulties of every phenomenological thinking of temporality, corresponding to the two Aristotelian aporias of time: the unity of time and the permanence of the now (or of eternity). Our goal is to show that only a radical account of movement and the structure of appearing, such as that provided by Patočka following his phenomenological renewal of Aristotle, can clarify the true status of the unity of time and of the temporal present, without falling into an excessive subjectivising thereof or an exacerbation of the transcendent pole (as happens, respectively, in Phenomenology of Perception and The Visible and the Invisible). As an alternative to the Merleau-Pontian chiasm, Patočka offers a rigorous thinking of the phenomenological correlation, making time appear as a sediment of movement.
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Emre Şan La totalité comme promesse. Recherches sur les limites de l’intentionnalité chez Merleau-Ponty et Patočka
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Our guiding research hypothesis is as follows: we believe that the significant progress made by the phenomenology of immanence and by the phenomenology of transcendence are not distinguished so much by the positing of new problems as by the reformulation of «the question of the ground of intentionality» that fueled the entire phenomenological tradition. It is striking that, despite the different solutions they offer, these two approaches have the same critical orientation vis-à-vis phenomenology (they characterize intentionality by its failure to ensure his own foundation), and they have the task of testing phenomenology in a confrontation with its various «outsides» by according a central place to the «non-intentional.» For it is only by starting from such an enterprise of showing the limits of intentionality that the possibility is opened of a true surpassing of the Husserlian perspective that the given is the measure of all things. To do this, we want to emphasize the positions of Merleau-Ponty and Patočka on this fundamental issue and show that their approaches bear phenomenology, throughits own means, to the threshold of a domain that is no longer the phenomena in the Husserlian sense.
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Karel Novotný Liberté et incarnation. Esquisse des conditions de l’existence humaine selon Jan Patočka
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The idea of radical, historical freedom which Patočka, beginning in the 1930s, thought of as a movement of transcendence, cannot be comprehended without taking embodiment – the human being’s corporeal and intercorporeal anchorage in the world – into account. This said, we consider the pertinence and permanence, for both human freedom and corporality, of a moment – to all appearances marginal – that constitutes in reality more of a limit for each of these elements (including the motif of movement itself) and, as a result, allows a link to be posited between them. This moment is the confrontation of the living, embodied soul with the cold and hostile side of the world, with the otherness which is alien to life, with the periphery of nature that is bereft of sense for life and constitutes its ultimate limit. The undermining of sense that can happen in such confrontations gives rise to a vertigo deriving from the extreme form of freedom enacted in them. This makes it possible to explain the rupture between spirit and life, a certain dualism opposing life and spirit, that prompts the question: Is thisdualism not specific to European humanity as constructed and called for by Patočka?
ii. merleau-ponty, saussure, et l’instance du diacritique
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Anna Petronella Foultier Merleau-Ponty’s Encounter with Saussure’s Linguistics: Misreading, Reinterpretation or Prolongation?
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The prevailing judgement concerning Merleau-Ponty’s encounter with Saussure’s linguistics is that, although important for the evolution of Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy of language, it was based on a mistaken or at least highly idiosyncratic interpretation of Saussure’s ideas. Significantly, the rendering of Saussure that has been common both in Merleau-Ponty scholarship and in linguistics hinges on the structuralist development of the Genevan linguist’s ideas. This article argues that another reading of Saussure, in the light of certain passages of the Course of General Linguistics forgotten by the structuralists, and of the manuscripts related to the published works, shows to the contrary that Merleau-Ponty’s account was sustainable. An understanding of Saussure’s ideas that does not flinch from their paradoxical features can elucidate the French phenomenologist’s views on language and expression. Moreover, the “linguistic turn” in Merleau-Ponty’s philosophical development, identified by James Edie for example, does not seem to have been so clear-cut as has previously been believed; the influence of Saussure’s thought had certainly begun before Merleau-Ponty wrote Phenomenology of Perception.
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Beata Stawarska Uncanny Errors, Productive Contresens. Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenological Appropriation of Ferdinand de Saussure’s General Linguistics
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Stawarska considers the ambiguities surrounding the antagonism between the phenomenological and the structuralist traditions by pointing out that the supposed foundation of structuralism, the Course in General Linguistics, was ghostwritten posthumously by two editors who projected a dogmatic doctrine onto Saussure’s lectures, while the authentic materials related to Saussure’s linguistics are teeming with phenomenological references. She then narrows the focus to Merleau-Ponty’s engagement with Saussure’s linguistics and argues that it offers an unusual, if not an uncanny, reading of the Course, in that it identifies a phenomenological dimension within the text, against the grain of the dominant structuralist claim. This phenomenological dimension is corroborated by the authentic sources of Saussure’s linguistics, even though the latter were beyond the philosopher’s own power to know. Merleau-Ponty’s unorthodox reading of the Course as being broadly compatible with the tradition of Husserlian phenomenology has been dismissed as an error (Ricoeur, 1967) and a contresens (Mounin, 1968), but Stawarska proposes that such deviant appropriations of foundational texts are the ones to cherish the most, since they effectively dismantle the received dogmas and official doctrines stuffing the cabinets of canonical philosophy. She argues specifically that Merleau-Ponty’s contested distinction between “a synchronic linguistics of speech (parole)” and “a diachronic linguistics of language (langue)” (Signs, 1964, p. 86), which gives primacy to la parole over la langue, and raises the possibility of a systematic study of la parole, contains a more faithful response to Saussure’s own project than the received structuralist view that la langue alone constitutes the proper object of linguistic study.
16. Chiasmi International: Volume > 15
Emmanuel Alloa Orcid-ID The Diacritical Nature of Meaning: Merleau-Ponty With Saussure
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“What we have learned from Saussure” affirms Merleau-Ponty “is that, taken singly, signs do not signify anything, and that each one of them does not so much express a meaning as mark a divergence of meaning between itself and other signs.” While it has often been stressed that Merleau-Ponty was arguably among the earliest philosophical readers of Saussure, the real impact of this reading on Merleau-Ponty’s thinking has rarely been assessed in detail. By focusing on the middle period – the years between the publication of the Phenomenology of Perception and the abandonment of the book project The Prose of the World – a special interest in language and its ideality becomes all the more evident. Now this period is crucial for understanding the turn of the later years: similarly to Saussure, who shifted the problem of meaning from a problem of referentiality to an issue of self-differentiation of the linguistic field, Merleau-Ponty shifts his account of perception from a relationship based on sensory subjects and perceived objects to an immanent differentiation of the sensible world. The genesis ofan articulated world can be conceptualized with the experience of children’s language acquisition and the phenomenon of “deflation.” At a certain point in her development, the child interrupts her incessant babbling and learns to shape pauses and silences, which are the precondition for meaningful sounds. Learning how to speak – as it were – would thus be learning how not to speak. The child may only enter a specific language by means of a phonematic restriction; to become a member of a language community is to lose the capacity to speak all languages.
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Richard Kearney Ecrire la Chair: L’expression diacritique chez Merleau-Ponty
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Merleau-Ponty acknowledges several levels of ‘expression’ running from the most basic forms of sensation to painting, poetry and philosophy. This essay concentrates on his notion of ‘diacritical perception’ as key to this expressive continuum. It shows how Merleau-Ponty makes the radical move of bringing together phenomenological description with structural linguistics to reveal how perception is fundamentally structured like language. It also suggests that this move is part of his overall pursuit of an ‘indirect ontology’. Expression operates by an ‘indirect method’ of gaps, elisions, folds, latencies, absences, hollows, silences, lacunas – or what Merleau-Ponty calls ‘negativities that are not nothing’: nothing but the non-being which reveals being. The radical implications of ‘diacritical perception’ are powerfully explored in Merleau-Ponty’s Collège de France seminar Le monde sensible et le monde de l’expression (1953) and in his late essay ‘Indirect Language and the Voices of Silence’. To perceive diacritically is to read and write the flesh.
iii. phénoménologie de l’animalité
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Don Beith Merleau-Ponty and the Institution of Animate Form: The Generative Origins of Animal Perception and Movement
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From his earliest work in The Structure of Behavior, Maurice Merleau-Ponty abrogates accounts of organic form that posit the organism as either passively ordered by the environment which precedes it, or as actively constituting its environment. I argue that Merleau-Ponty first develops what I term a genetic concept of form, in which the organism-environment relationship unfolds developmentally. This account of genetic form, however, requires a further concept of generative form to overcome the conceptual distinction between constituting activity and constituted passivity. I contend that rather than pre-existing its own development ideally, in a genetic or developmental blueprint, or environmentally, in given causes, that instead form emerges expressively and dynamically. To develop the concept of generative form I turn to Merleau-Ponty’s lecture courses Institution and Nature, while drawing from examples in animal motorperceptual development and inter-bodily communication. In doing so, I contend that this idea of generativity requires for us to think of organisms as passive, though not as passively constituted by a nature in-itself, but rather as passively instituted by a natural sense that orients the possibilities of organic development without itself existing asan already realized form of life. I argue that the notion of generative form offers an approach to thinking of species differences not as essential differences in kind, but as elaborations of a natural generativity that precedes and grounds individual animate forms.
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Christiane Bailey Le partage du monde: Husserl et la constitution des animaux comme « autres moi »
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While phenomenologists claim to have overcome solipsism, most have not pushed beyond the boundaries of individual human intersubjectivity to that of individuals of other species. Yet Husserl recognizes the existence of an interspecific intersubjectivity, an intersubjectivity beyond the limits of the species. He even goes so far as to say that we sometimes understand a companion animal better than a foreign human. However, even if he admits that many animals are capable of a life of subjective consciousness and live in a world of shared meaning, he does not consider them to be “persons” according to his strict conception that associates personhood with rationality, maturity, normality and historicity. Being a “person” in its most primordial sense – and its most decisive as the basis for political, legal and ethical conceptions – simply means being the subject of a surrounding world, of a common world and a biographical existence. Distinguishing two meanings of the concept of person allows us to recognize that animals share transcendentality; they are not simply alive but have a life that is both biographical and communal, even if they are not able to reflect on their own conscious life in order to consider their place in the chain of generations and to adopt what Husserl calls a “vocation”. The Husserlian phenomenology of anomalies allows us to recognize that animals truly come under the figure of the other, that they are alter ego subjects of a conscious life, and as such they participate fully, just as do children, the insane, and foreigners, in the co-constitution of the spiritual world.
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Simone Gustafsson “The Animal is like a Quiet Force”: Emergence and Negativity in Agamben and Merleau-Ponty
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The concept of natural, common life is distinguished from life as political existence in the opening lines of Giorgio Agamben’s Homo Sacer – a schism within ‘life’ that has profound consequences for Agamben’s political theory and ontology. Agamben claims that bare life now “dwells in the biological body of every living being” (HS 140). As such, it is necessary to ascertain what the ‘life’ of biopolitics is – the life capable of politicization. The notion of natural living being is central to Agamben’s account, and yet it remains an ambiguous and indeterminate concept. This conceptual ambiguity is informed by Agamben’s account of anthropogenesis and the relation between the ‘human’ and the realm of animality, to which the concept of negativity is pivotal. Negativity is also central to Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy. However, for Merleau-Ponty the ontology of Nature and man constitute “the leaves of one sole Being” (N 220). Animality and human being are emergent; Merleau-Ponty adamantly maintains, “there is no rupture” (N 272). This paper analyzes the notion of negativity in Agamben and Merleau-Ponty’s accounts of Being and life, and contends that Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy gives rise to an ontology that offers a more open and productive account of animality and nature. In Agamben’s account, negativity is constitutive of man, which gives rise to an irreducible disjuncture between Being and life. For Merleau-Ponty, negativity is ‘in’ Being. There is no tension between Being and ‘life’: Nature is “a leaf or layer of total Being,” and we must conceive of “the ontology of Nature as the way toward ontology” (N 204).