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181. Chiasmi International: Volume > 15
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.
182. Chiasmi International: Volume > 15
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.
183. Chiasmi International: Volume > 15
Annabelle Dufourcq La philosophie politique de Merleau-Ponty au-delà du concept de crise. L’engagement entre vertige chronique et action symbolique
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This article shows that Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy is traversed by a tension between an interpretation of history and existence in terms of crisis and the recognition of an insurmountable vertigo, the Heraclitean model of an eternal return of the singular and the partial, without possible synthesis. Our thesis is that the model of the crisis is marked by a classical positivism which makes it the secret ally of a conservative and anti-democratic politics. It is also an impasse in Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy since it supposes a reference to an overlooking point of view that the whole of Merleau-Pontian reflection has shown to be impossible. The phenomenology of perception and ontology of the perceived world show that we have access only to a mystified consciousness and that even the world itself is undecided. The Heraclitean path must win against the interpretation in terms of crisis, but the persistence of the second path in Merleau-Ponty’swork is also explained by the extremely difficult character of the first path. The theory of chronic vertigo takes us closer to nihilism, and this is an aspect of Merleau-Pontian philosophy whose radical and highly problematic – perhaps even aporetic – character must not be underestimated. How to decide on practice and politics without absolute reference, without being able to guarantee anything? The use Merleau-Ponty makes of crucial references to Machiavelli and Marx at the heart of his political philosophy is very revealing this regard: in the first movement, this is a matter of “disarming” these philosophies, making them instruments for the disruption of action. But Merleau-Ponty’s final goal is not to return to the philosophy of contemplation, abstract ontology, but to build a new practical model: that of symbolic action, which integrates vertigo rather than surpassing it and constitutes a praxis inseparable from the enterprise of knowledge and artistic creation. We could say that it is saved by its openness to sense, but this means that it cannot rely on any positive established meaning and must find its wellspring in a ‘wild’ ability to be unceasingly decentered, to take nothing for granted, to approach our values and beliefs as foreign. This raises the question of the possibilityof the incarnation of such a model in an effective political institution.
184. Chiasmi International: Volume > 15
Ted Toadvine Le temps des voix animales
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Phenomenology’s attention to the theme of animality has focused not on animal life in general but rather on the animal dimension of the human and its contested relation with humanity as such. Phenomenology thereby reproduces Agamben’s “anthropological machine” by which humanity is constructed through the “inclusive exclusion” of its animality. The alternative to this “inclusive exclusion” is not, however, a return to kinship or commonality but rather an intensification of the constitutive paradox of our own inner animality, understood in terms of the anonymous, corporeal subject of perception that lives a different temporality than that of first-person consciousness. This provides us with an entirely different context for encounter with non-human others, insofar as they speak through our own voices and gaze out through our own eyes. This position is developed through a reading, first, of the proximity of Merleau-Ponty’s early work with that of Max Scheler, who paradigmatically reduces human animality to bare life. Merleau-Ponty differentiates himself from Scheler by emphasizing, in The Structure of Behavior, that life cannot be integrated into spirit without remainder. Merleau-Ponty’s later work thinks this remainder as the ineliminable gap and delay inthe auto-affection of the body and as a chiasmic exchange that anticipates Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of “becoming animal.” This remainder of life within consciousness is the immemorial past of one’s own animality. It follows that our “inner animality” is neither singular nor plural but a kind of pack that speaks through the voice that I take to be mine. Furthermore, in the exchange of looks between myself and a non-human other, the crossing of glances occurs at an animal level that withdraws from my own reflective consciousness.
185. Chiasmi International: Volume > 15
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?
186. Chiasmi International: Volume > 15
Nicolas Dittmar Simondon et Deleuze: l’intensité de l’être
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Simondon and Deleuze are the philosophers of intensity: thinking the intensity of being rather than its formal a priori is for them the path to the “true transcendental.” The true transcendental, according to these two post-Kantian philosophers, would be the conditions of real experience, which are not dictated by a reason anticipating the relation to phenomena, but by individuation. This reversal priviledges the process of openness to difference as a production of the unexpected for knowledge. To be individuated, for Simondon as for Deleuze, is to learn to overcome a certain logic of representation, based on the principle of identity, by giving precedence to singularities: the individual is not only a thinking substance cutting up the world according to its categories, but also an active nature facing the unknown. But one might ask how the individual can be identified and develop if it is constituted, at its expense, from intensive relations and experiences that it cannot synthesize in the understanding. Does individuation ultimately make sense? Simondon and Deleuze agree that consciousness is nothing without a synthesis of unification: this possibility for consciousness of unifi ng the diversity of experience, of maintaining a unity in plurality, refers to the preindividual, which defines in Simondon a field of ontological freedom, that is, of multiple individuations enriching the Self. For Deleuze, in his careful reading of Simondon, it is the place of the emission of singularities in the process of intensive individuation. In both cases, it is a question of defining a new form of subjectivity, closer to the realities of experience, of what we might call the transductive forms of sensibility.
187. Chiasmi International: Volume > 15
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.
188. Chiasmi International: Volume > 15
Jakub Čapek, Ondřej Švec Introduction
189. Chiasmi International: Volume > 15
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.
190. Chiasmi International: Volume > 15
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.
191. Chiasmi International: Volume > 15
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.
192. Chiasmi International: Volume > 16
Anna Caterina Dalmasso Le médium visible. Interface opaque et immersivité non mimétique
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The relation of reciprocal co-implication that Merleau-Ponty formulates—and on which he insists throughout his work—between sense and the sensible, perception and expression, and then visible and invisible, transforms the way in which one conceives of the medium. Merleau-Ponty’s aesthetics reveals an idea of the medium as a support that erases itself in the act of conveying the signification and also shakes the direct correlation between transparency and mimetic simulation.Understood as the sensible thickness of the body opening onto the world, then as depth and écart that catalyzes vision, the medium, then, furnishes one of the definitions of flesh, as the element of auto-mediation: connective tissue or fabric of communication that is at once écart and internal difference. Merleau-Ponty conceives of the medium as both that which renders and that which is rendered visible. It is therefore no longer an intermediary; it ceases to be an invisible mediator and becomes the opaque element that reveals in filigree the movement of gestaltic difference.It is from such a Merleau-Pontian conception of medium that one can begin to elaborate the complex issues posed by mediality in the post-medial age. The idea of a “visible medium” permits us to break with the confl ation of the simulation’s immersive effect and performance, which often informs the rhetoric concerning medias and new technologies, in order rather to think of an “opaque interface” or an “non-mimetic immersivity.” From such a conception of mediality we can equally understand the phenomenon of numerical convergence, not as the accomplishment of the suppression or dematerialization of the medium, as is the case with traditional theories, but as the point of departure for a return to the body as the condition of possibility for every aesthetic experience.
193. Chiasmi International: Volume > 16
Koji Hirose Instituer le chiasme : à partir du cours sur Hegel de Maurice Merleau-Ponty
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In the 1958-1959 Collège de France course, Merleau-Ponty expounds a detailed commentary on the last paragraphs of the Einleitung from Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit. We examine in what sense this course has developed the notions that he was in the process of defining, notions such as “chiasm,” “reversibility,” “depth,” and “flesh.”What seems crucial in this course is to clearly define good ambiguity as opposed to bad ambiguity, that is, to the simple mixture of finitude and universality, of interiority and exteriority. It is a question then of revealing, even within Hegelian thought, the operation, although unstable, of good ambiguity and of instituting it beyond the distinction between anthropology and logic without a return to naturalism.It should first be noted that consciousness is for Hegel violence against itself, it gives itself its measure, such that the distinction between measuring and measured is internal to it. By insisting on this “reversibility” of the measuring and the measured, Merleau-Ponty comes to emphasize that the self-relation of consciousness is simultaneously its opening onto a transcendent – an opening whereby it learns something. This leads him to define “the new ontological milieu” which is the depth of the life of consciousness. It is within this depth that the interrogative experience winds on itself.Secondly, if there truly must be a moment where the Hegelian Zweideutigkeit becomes good ambiguity, it will not suffice to explore preobjective depth; it would still be necessary to discern “the hinge” which is “solid, unwavering” and which “remains irremediably hidden.” It is this unwavering hinge that supports phenomena and that, in simultaneously decentering and recentering the fields of appearances, opens a place where one can follow the genesis of sense.Finally, we note that this discovery of the new ontological milieu can be considered as the recovery of the notion of institution that Merleau-Ponty had proposed in 1954-1955: on the one hand, the notion of chiasm invites us to reveal the hinge which at once decenters and recenters the fields of appearances. This hinge is free from the alternative of nature and culture, of subjective and objective spirit; it is the rootedness of our interrogative experience in brute being, which is not object but starts an indefinite search of self. But, on the other hand, the notion of institution, which is essentially descriptive and factual, makes us better feel the weight of the instituted that is also irremediably hidden. It makes us feel the inertia of the instituting event, as well as its fecundity and its cumulativity.
194. Chiasmi International: Volume > 16
Jacopo Bodini L’insaisissable présence du présent. La précession du présent sur soi-même comme temporalité de notre époque
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Merleau-Ponty’s later philosophy seems devoted to a fundamental task, knowing how to grasp what he calls a “mutation within the relations of man and Being.” Such a mutation concerns, in the first instance, Merleau-Ponty’s time, knowing the era in which he lives and writes: it is a mutation that is given in history, and thus generated by historical events. At the same time, this mutation has to do with the very essence of time, as the ontological counterpart of being itself. It is, in this later instance, a mutation of the temporality of being: of an intimate being, the being of self, of the unconscious; but also of a communal and shared being—assumed universal—the being of history.An oblique reflection on a temporality thus conceived emerges in his course notes, “Institution in Personal and Public History.” Temporality, here considered as the transcendental of institution, the condition of its possibility, reveals itself as antichronological and anti-metaphysical: it escapes the linearity of successive presents, the retrograde movement of the real (which has characterized Western philosophy since Plato), the dialectical movement of history according to Hegel.Indirectly, Merleau-Ponty develops a complex temporal figure—from the structural point of view—where “the past […] takes on the outline of a preparation or premeditation of a present that exceeds it in meaning although it recognizes itself in it.” The past is thus not a former present, but—as mythical past—it is simultaneously in the present itself.This revolution of the temporality of being also affects our time. From the ontological discontinuity emphasized by Merleau-Ponty, the mutation within the relations of man and being happening today seems to be characterized by the loss of all dimensions of time: there is only a present, which, nevertheless, is never present. This is true first of all from a personal point of view: desire no longer pursues its fulfillment—although imaginary and impossible—in the mythical horizon of the past, but rather looks for enjoyment, just as impossible and imaginary, in an elusive present that always exceeds us. This desertification of time also reveals itself in history, where, with and after the postmodern, the present seems to stand out as the only possible temporal dimension, depriving history of its sense and its universality.It seems to us that the philosophy of the later Merleau-Ponty prefigures, or, at least, allows us to think, this subsequent mutation. This is a minor figure, but the subject of significant studies, such as that of “precession,” that can help us not only to understand, but also to re-signify, this mythical present and never present that haunts our time.
195. Chiasmi International: Volume > 16
Takashi Kakuni L’interrogation et L’intuition : Merleau-Ponty et Schelling
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In the 1956-1957 course titled “The Concept of Nature”, Merleau-Ponty takes up Schelling’s thought. In reading Merleau-Ponty’s text on Schelling’s philosophy, we arrive at a point of contact between the philosophy of natural productivity and the philosophy of intellectual or artistic intuition. Merleau-Ponty seems to discover the Schellingian idea of the absolute as an abyss against the Cartesian idea of God as creator. The Merleau-Pontian interpretation of Schelling’s philosophy of nature and art from his course gives us one of the keys to his unfinished ontology, which is that nature and art, physis and logos, are tied up in the perception of the dimension of being given in painting or poetry, as the analysis of painting in Eye and Mind will show us an organon of the ontology of the savage being.
196. Chiasmi International: Volume > 16
Stefan Kristensen L’inconscient machinique et L’idée d’une ontologie politique de la chair
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The psychoanalyical notion of the unconscious is often considered as being out of reach for phenomenological thinking. When Merleau-Ponty refl ects on it, he takes the unconscious as the realm, in bodily life, that being not yet conscious, is likely to become conscious. He formulates it in his Résumés de cours with the famous sentence “The unconscious is the sensing itself”. Lacan, facing this interpretation, explains that Merleau-Ponty fails to recongnize the essential discontinuity between consciousness and the unconscious. From that criticism, it is possible to follow the reflection of Félix Guattari who develops, both alone and in collaboration with Gilles Deleuze, a conception of the “machinic unconscious”, a notion that can be read as an attempt to articulate the merleau-pontian and the lacanian approaches and to sketch out a theory of the becoming-subject. My aim in this paper, in speaking about “Merleau-Ponty Tomorrow”, consists therefore in appropriating some of his suggestions in this regard and to detect them in an unexpected context (the writing of Guattari), thereby also noting the differences between them. Through this dialogue, I get to a position where it is possible to outline a critique of the contemporary “theory of the self”, which in myview is unaware of the fact that the self is always already caught in power relations. Guattari’s “micropolitics of desire” allows precisely to account for that and thus to develop the phenomenological approach to the self.
197. Chiasmi International: Volume > 16
Anne Gléonec Gestalt et incorporation cinématographique : un chemin dans l’esthétique merleau-pontienne
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This article aims to delineate a phenomenology of cinema centered on the double incorporation that Merleau-Ponty’s thought allows us to see at work in film. This incorporation is, first, of the elements in each other, and, second and primarily, of beings themselves, making of cinema a new way of symbolizing thinking and the relation to the other. To understand this double incorporation, we take up the question of the Gestalt and its evolution in the work of Merleau-Ponty, since it is through the Gestalt that Merleau-Ponty not only evades the impasses of the theories, subjectivist as well as objectivist, of movement and image, but also succeeds in establishing—by way of a long and precise dialogue with the new natural sciences—an a-subjective phenomenology of the body. Intersubjectivity finally gives way to an “intercorporeity” that would itself be the ground of a redefinition of imagination and its relationship to perception. We thus find the source of a new aesthetics, where cinema reclaims what is proper to it.
198. Chiasmi International: Volume > 16
Guillaume Carron La virtu sans aucune résignation
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In light of the political facts of his time and his own experience, Merleau-Ponty tries, in the preface to Signs, to detect a general structure of history and culture. Concerned with establishing a concrete philosophy, the French philosopher never detached his political reflection from the particularity of circumstances. This article proposes to take up both the spirit and method of Merleau-Ponty. With regard to the spirit, this is a matter of seeing whether the analyses in the preface to Signs still make sense for us today. With regard to method, we try to develop an interpretation anchored in the current experience of French politics. This rootedness in current events is fundamental if we do not want to betray the concern for contingency, the sign of a concrete political approach. We will find that the ethics of engagement defined by Merleau-Ponty in the expression, “virtu without resignation” could also be the response to certain contemporary problems.
199. Chiasmi International: Volume > 18
Federico Leoni Introduction. Un autre inconscient
200. Chiasmi International: Volume > 18
Federico Leoni Présentation