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121. Chiasmi International: Volume > 21
William D. Adams A Sense of Place: Cézanne and Merleau-Ponty in Le Tholonet
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Merleau-Ponty spent the summer of 1960 in the small French village of Le Tholonet writing Eye and Mind. His choice of location was no accident. Le Tholonet was the physical and emotional epicenter of Paul Cezanne’s late painting, the ultimate proving ground of his relentless quest to reveal the truth of landscape in art.It makes perfect sense that Merleau-Ponty wrote Eye and Mind in Le Tholonet. The essay is a philosophical meditation on vision and painting. But it also is a meditation on place, in the deeply saturated sense that encompasses the landscape, its natural and human history, and the history of the painter who brought this part of Provence to universal visibility in his art. Le Tholonet is the terroir of Eye and Mind, the site and soil of this final, extraordinary expression of Merleau-Ponty’s thinking.
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122. Chiasmi International: Volume > 21
Shiloh Whitney From the Body Schema to the Historical-Racial Schema: Theorizing Affect between Merleau-Ponty, Fanon, and Ahmed
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What resources does Merleau-Ponty’s account of the body schema offer to the Fanonian one? First I show that Merleau-Ponty’s theory of the body schema is already a theory of affect: one that does not oppose affects to intentionality, positioning them not only as sense but as force, cultivating affective agencies rather than constituting static sense content. Then I argue that by foregrounding the role of affect in both thinkers, we can understand the way in which the historical-racial schema innovates, anticipating and influencing feminist theories of the affective turn – especially Sara Ahmed’s theory of affective economies. The historical-racial schema posits the constitution of affective agencies on a sociogenic scale, and these affective economies in turn account for the possibility of the collapse of the body schema into a racial epidermal schema, a disjunction of affective intentionality Fanon calls “affective tetanization.”
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123. Chiasmi International: Volume > 21
David Morris Merleau-Ponty and Mexica Ontology: On Time as Contingent Templacement and the Beginnings of Philosophy
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Movement is crucial to Merleau-Ponty’s effort to comprehend sense, meaning as generated within being. This requires a new concept of movement, not as a dislocation within an already determinate space- or time- frame, but as a deeper, more fundamental change that first engenders space and time as determinate contexts in which movement can follow a sensible course. This poses a novel challenge: conceptualizing determinate space and time as contingently arising from a deeper sort of change, which I call templacement. I address this challenge by turning to the Mexica/Aztecs because the most basic term of their ontology is motion-change, and it is obvious to them that motion-change does not occur in an abstract space-time container. Instead, time-place is woven out of ‘prior’ motion-change. This study leads to a deeper lesson for phenomenology, regarding ‘obvious’ presuppositions about what time and philosophy obviously are – and how these presuppositions go hand in hand.
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124. Chiasmi International: Volume > 21
Jay Worthy On the Place of Resistance in Ontology: Rereading Merleau-Ponty after Fanon and the “Flaw that Outlaws any Ontological Explanation”
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Beginning with Fanon’s challenge to the universality of the project of ontology, this paper considers whether and how Merleau-Ponty’s early and late thinking may yield a response. From the outset, Merleau-Ponty’s appeal to the materiality of the body is intended as a limit on the scope of ontology. As I argue, however, Merleau-Ponty’s early concept of ‘one’s own body’ (corps propre) suggests an “ontological equality” that would be shared among all embodied beings; implicitly, this early approach risks reinforcing Fanon’s concern that ontology is indifferent to embodied experiences of racial exclusion and oppression. Merleau-Ponty’s later ontology of the flesh, by contrast, entails a more radically differential structure of the body that troubles the notion of equality in principle, suggesting an ontology that could be more attentive to the fundamental grounds of systemic oppression.
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125. Chiasmi International: Volume > 21
Rawb Leon-Carlyle Wild Red: Synesthesia, Deuteranomaly, and Euclidean Color Space
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In a promising working note to the Visible and Invisible, Merleau-Ponty proposes that we understand Being according to topological space – relations of proximity, distance, and envelopment – and move away from an image of Being based on homogeneous, inert Euclidean space. With reference to treatments of cross-sensory perception, color-blindness, and the concept of quale or qualia, I seek to rehearse this shift from Euclidean to topological Being by illustrating how modern science confines color itself to a Euclidean model of color space. I discuss “being as Object” in Merleau-Ponty’s later work before showing how color, and indeed all perception, is reduced to being as Object in the form of “quale”. Next, I address discussions in Merleau-Ponty’s work and contemporary research to illustrate how synesthesia and so-called color-blindness are rendered abnormal by this objectified being of color. Merleau-Ponty’s reading of synesthesia follows directly from his rejection of quale, and his use of color perception serves as a rejection of solipsism. With appeal to his proposed topological model of Being, I conclude by recognizing the problematic nature of synesthesia and color-blindness as being ontological, not psychological.
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126. Chiasmi International: Volume > 22
Federico Leoni Orcid-ID Presentation
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127. Chiasmi International: Volume > 22
Michel Dalissier Introduction
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128. Chiasmi International: Volume > 22
Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Bryan Smyth Problems of Yesterday and Today: From Gide to Sartre
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129. Chiasmi International: Volume > 22
Federico Leoni Orcid-ID Introduction. The Other Mirror of Merleau-Ponty
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130. Chiasmi International: Volume > 22
Juho Hotanen “Self-Affection” and “Temporal Thickness” in Phenomenology of Perception
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In the “Temporality” chapter of Phenomenology of Perception, Merleau-Ponty refers to the Kantian notion of “self-affection.” The subject has an affective self-relation through time because the subject is of time. Merleau-Ponty shows that it is crucial that self-affection is not understood as an immediate self-coincidence. According to him, the idea of an immediate self-possession renders self-relation impossible. Instead, temporal self-relation should be understood as a paradox of connection and difference: the contact of the self to itself always also implies distance. The temporal subject is not transparent to itself but has a connection to its past and its future through the temporal thickness of the present.
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131. Chiasmi International: Volume > 22
Luca Vanzago Mutual Determination, Concrescence and Transition. Whitehead’s Speculative Conception of Temporal Subjectivity Interpreted from a Merleau-Pontyan Standpoint
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The interpretive approach adopted in this paper is influenced by Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy and in particular by his understanding of Nature, which in turn takes into consideration Whitehead’s work. Whitehead’s philosophy of organism is seen by its author as the metaphysical generalization of problems found in his investigation of natural knowledge. Whitehead admits that a speculative approach is necessitated by the very questions arising from the mathematical concepts of the material world and the revolutions undergone in logic, mathematics and physics at the turn of the century.Whitehead’s understanding of nature is framed from the beginning in terms of a processual approach. However, this notion of process is not fully worked out in the epistemological works and requires a metaphysical deepening. This is due to the fact that the notion of duration adopted in the epistemological works is not sufficient to convey the notion of process. This lack of adequacy is coupled by Whitehead with the need to interpret process in terms of experience. In turn, this notion of experience is wider than the usual one, for it implies that there is experience from the lowest levels onwards. Matter itself experiences. Seen in this perspective, reality is thus conceived in terms of a whole in constant change, whose parts are in mutual connection. This conception derives from Whitehead’s criticism of Aristotle’s substantialism and from his preference for a relationist ontology. The outcome of this approach is a speculative conception of reality in terms of a twofold notion of process: concrescence and transition, which Whitehead sees as the two faces of the creative advance of nature. This dual notion of process is interpreted in this essay in a merleau-pontyan perspective.
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132. Chiasmi International: Volume > 22
Simon Glynn From Reificatory Reflection, via Reflective Recognition of Consciousness to Reflective Choice of Identity
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Taking its point of departure from Husserl’s recognition that consciousness is intentional, and Sartre’s concomitant non-reificatory notion of consciousness, understood therefore as not a thing, or as nothingness, definitive of human identity, the article proceeds by asking how, if this is so, is it possible to become conscious of consciousness, which is to say reflectively self-conscious. Explicating the relationship between the reflective mirroring of the Self to the Self, as reflected in “the look of the Other,” and the self’s unmediated or immediate self-recognition, the article proceeds to evaluate each, before providing reasons for the perhaps somewhat startling conclusion that it is our view of the world that is apt to reflect our most authentic image of ourselves to us. While exploring the implications of this, the article concludes by investigating the role of intellectual or rational reflection in ensuring our freedom of choice, and consequent responsibility, for who we choose to be.
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133. Chiasmi International: Volume > 22
Marie-Eve Morin Merleau-Ponty’s “Cautious Anthropomorphism”
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In this paper, I develop what I call, following Steven Shaviro, Merleau-Ponty’s “cautious anthropomorphism.” Rather than defending Merleau-Ponty against the accusation of anthropomorphism, I show the role this anthropomorphism plays in Merleau-Ponty’s critique of the Cartesian-Sartrian ontology of the object. If the thing is always “clothed with human characteristics,” as Merleau-Ponty says in the Causeries, it is not so that it can be reduced to a powerless object that can easily be assimilated but rather to ensure its own resistance or adversity – and even, paradoxically, its inhumanity. After developing Sartre’s and Merleau-Ponty’s views of things, focusing on their respective reading of Ponge in “Man and Things” and the Causeries, I put Merleau-Ponty in conversation with Jeffrey Cohen’s book Stone to push for a non-humanistic reading of Merleau-Ponty’s anthropomorphism.
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134. Chiasmi International: Volume > 22
Bernard Andrieu, Anna Caterina Dalmasso Introduction. Thinking Technicity with Merleau-Ponty
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135. Chiasmi International: Volume > 22
Andrea Giomi Virtual Embodiment: An Understanding of the Influences of Merleau-Ponty’s Philosophy of Technology on Performance and Digital Media
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Although Merleau-Ponty never directly addressed the question of technics, over the past three decades, some of the core concepts of his philosophy have profoundly informed digital media discourse, especially in the field of media arts. The problem of embodiment, in particular, represents a keystone for the understanding of the relationship between bodies and technology. This paper seeks to examine the ways in which some of the French philosopher’s key concepts– embodiment, body schema, presence, intertwining, and flesh – have been employed and re-elaborated in the context of media art theory and practice. The purpose of this study is to shed light on the main conceptual entanglements between Merleau-Pontian philosophy and digital arts and performances. Thus, four topics will be discussed: the virtual body, prosthetics, virtual presence, and digital intertwining of flesh. In the conclusion, I question these concepts and their possibility/ability to pave the way for a Merleau-Pontian philosophy of technology based on the wider paradigm of virtual embodiment.
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136. Chiasmi International: Volume > 22
Haruka Okui Deformation of the Human Body: Bunraku Puppetry Technique and the Collaborative Body Schema
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In the Sorbonne lectures on the philosophical and psychological inquiry of child development, Merleau-Ponty offers a fundamental insight about imitation. Denying the representation-based explanation of imitation, he proposes that gestures occur without representation through the body-object relation, such as “precommunication” based on the works of body schema. Merleau-Ponty’s thought could be examined by way of more practical examples of body techniques. This paper describes the experience of object manipulation, in particular, Bunraku puppetry. Because three puppeteers manipulate a single puppet together in Bunraku, this example might be a challenge to an ordinary assumption that a body is owned by an individual and that inner thoughts control the body. Merleau-Ponty’s insight suggests that the puppeteers share another type of body schema that is not internalized to their individual bodies but emerges afresh in each performance through collaborative movement.
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137. Chiasmi International: Volume > 22
Will iam S. Hamrick Reading Merleau-Ponty Reading Montaigne
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Phenomenologists have always been concerned with the relationships between their methods and the life that sustains and instructs them, and which are, in turn, instructed by it. In its most general form, it is a question of relationships between philosophy and non-philosophy. Maurice Merleau-Ponty conceives of these connections in terms of a reversible inside-outside dynamic from at least Phenomenology of Perception to his unpublished manuscripts. No philosopher better illustrates this dialectic of life and ideas than Michel de Montaigne, whose life and work are the subject of “Reading Montaigne” in Signs. This paper consists of a critical analysis of that essay, and thus forms a meta-inside/outside relationship in reading Merleau-Ponty reading his predecessor. The essay examines, among other things, how Montaigne’s writing provides an instructive example of the intertwining of life and ideas as Merleau-Ponty understood it as well as a puzzle about why he did not connect “Reading Montaigne” with the two chapters of Signs that concern language.
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138. Chiasmi International: Volume > 22
Corinne Lajoie Sense and Normativity: Merleau-Ponty on Levels of Embodiment and the Disorientations of Love
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The notion of sense is central to Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s entire phenomenological project but it remains conspicuously absent from contemporary discussions of perceptual normativity. My intervention in this paper addresses this gap and contributes an account of perceptual norms as embodied orientations towards sense. To begin, I distinguish between two conceptions of norms: in contradistinction with Sean D. Kelly’s and Hubert Dreyfus’s accounts, I argue with Merleau-Ponty that perceptual norms emerge at the intersection of inherently labile, fallible, and temporally thick body-world entwinements with existential significance. Because it makes clear that our body’s orientation in the world is labile and dynamic, Merleau-Ponty’s notion of ‘levels’ helps me formulate this view. I introduce Merleau-Ponty’s description of spatial levels as a theoretical exemplar for perceptual normativity in the Phenomenology of Perception (1945) and his analysis of love as a level in the later Passivity lectures (1954-1955). By shedding light on the ecstatic temporality of levels of embodiment that allow us to orientate ourselves in the intersubjective lifeworld, Merleau-Ponty’s account of sense also forcefully reminds us of the disorientations that singularly transform the world of our experience.
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139. Chiasmi International: Volume > 22
Bernard Flynn Modernity as a philosophical problem: Pippin; Merleau-Ponty; Lefort
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The title of this paper makes an obvious reference to Pippin’s book Modernism as a Philosophical Problem. The paper is divided into three parts. The first part presents Pippin’s conception of Modernity, why it is a philosophical problem, and how two philosophers have responded to it, namely, Kant and Hegel whose position in an attenuated manner Pippin supports. The second part evokes dimensions of Merleau-Ponty’s thought which contest Pippin’s Hegelianism. The third part of the paper offers a different conception of Modernity drawn from the work of Claude Lefort. Lefort’s understanding of Modernity avails itself of aspects of Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy, in particular: Hyper-reflection and Institution.
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140. Chiasmi International: Volume > 3
Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Len Lawlor Two Unpublished Notes on Music
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