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281. Chiasmi International: Volume > 19
Glen A. Mazis Voyance, Precession and Screen in Merleau-Ponty’s Later Philosophy in Mauro Carbone’s The Flesh of Images
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Mauro Carbone’s The Flesh of Imagesexplores the status of images as the precession of the invisible and the visible in Merleau-Ponty’s notion of “sensible ideas” ideas, but is at the same time a concise, original, and illuminating exploration of Merleau-Ponty’s sense of the flesh and his later philosophy, as well as speculating on an important historical shift in the sense of Being. Carbone articulates the flesh as the traversal, by Visibility, of the seer as Being, where the invisible is shown forth indirectly by the visible and is ultimately the activity of visible Being that manifests a sort of desire to see itself through enveloping the visible beings that are seers. Carbone utilizes the notion of “voyance” as a seeing further into what had not been present before as the opening of a latency that is carried forth as the invisible’s pregnancy within the visible that ultimately brings into undecidability the primacy of perception and that of imagination,as well as being a retrograde movement within time that allows access to a mythical time and renders a differing, an immemorial time that has never been—the time in which Proust’s and Merleau-Ponty’s “sensible ideas” live. Carbone details Merleau-Ponty’s“ontological rehabilitation of the surface” in which the surface like the film screen is no longer a veil as constituting an obstacle, but rather is the surface of manifestation of Being, expressing the modern mutation in the relation to Being.Dans The Flesh of Images, Mauro Carbone explore le statut des images en tant que précession du visible et de l’invisible à partir de la notion d’« idées sensibles », mais il offre en même temps une étude à la fois synthétique, originale et éclairante du sens de la chair et de la pensée du dernier Merleau-Ponty, ainsi qu’une réflexion théorique sur un tournant historique fondamental dans le sens de l’Être. Carbone articule une pensée de la chair comme ce qui est transversal – par la Visibilité – au voyant en tant qu’Être, où l’invisible se donne à voir de manière indirecte à même le visible et est ultimement l’activité de l’Être visible qui vient manifester une sorte de désir de se voir par le fait même d’envelopper les êtres visibles qui sont voyants. Carbone se sert ainsi de la notion de « voyance » en tant que voir plus ou plus loin ce qui ne s’est pas encore présentifié comme l’ouverture d’une latence qui est portée en tant que prégnance invisible au sein du visible, ce qui fait que le primat entre perception et imaginaire devient indécidable, se construisant comme un mouvement temporel rétrograde, qui donne accès à un temps mythique et réalise un temps différé et immémorial qui n’a jamais été présent – le temps des idées sensibles de Proust et de Merleau-Ponty. Carbone expose la « réhabilitation ontologique de la surface » opérée par Merleau-Ponty en ce que la surface de l’écran cinématographique ne fonctionne plus comme un voile, c’est-à-dire ne constitue plus un obstacle, mais est plutôt la surface sur laquelle l’Être se manifeste, en exprimant la mutation contemporaine de notre relation à l’Être. The Flesh of Images di Mauro Carbone esplora lo statuto delle immagini come precessione di visibile e invisibile, secondo la nozione merleau-pontiana di “idee sensibili”, ma allo stesso tempo costituisce un’indagine concisa, originale e illuminante del concetto di carne e del pensiero dell’ultimo Merleau-Ponty. Il volume riflette inoltre su un importante slittamento storico nella concezione dell’Essere. Carbone articola il concetto di carne come ciò che è trasversale, attraverso la Visibilità, al vedente in quanto Essere, in cui l’invisibile appare indirettamente attraverso il visibile e in cui, in ultima analisi, è l’attività dell’Essere visibile che manifesta una sorta di desiderio di vedere se stesso rivestendo quegli esseri visibili che sono i vedenti. Carbone impiega la nozione di “voyance” per indicare un vedere oltre che coglie ciò che non si è ancora reso presente. Si tratta dell’apertura di una latenza che emerge come pregnanza dell’invisibile all’interno del visibile. Tale dinamica conduce a un’indecidibilità del primato della percezione e dell’immaginazione, costituendo al contempo un movimento temporale retrogrado che permette di accedere a un tempo mitico e che realizza un tempo differito e immemoriale che non è mai stato presente – il tempo delle “idee sensibili” di Proust e di Merleau-Ponty. Carbone espone la “riabilitazione ontologica della superficie” condotta da Merleau-Ponty, secondo cui la superficie dello schermo cinematografico non è più un velo che ostacola, ma piuttosto una superficie su cui l’Essere si manifesta, che esprime la trasformazione contemporanea della nostra relazione all’Essere.
282. Chiasmi International: Volume > 19
Joel Michael Reynolds Merleau-Ponty, World-Creating Blindness, and the Phenomenology of Non-Normate Bodies
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An increasing number of scholars at the intersection of feminist philosophy, philosophy of disability, and critical disability studies have turned to Merleau-Ponty to develop phenomenologies of the non-normate body. These studies buck the historical trend of philosophers employing disability merely as an example of deficiency or harm, a litmus test for normative theories, or an umbrella term for inquiries into aphenotypical bodily variation. Given the near-ubiquitous privileging of ablebodiedness across the history of philosophy, I ask: is philosophical inquiry that begins with and from disability a form of what Merleau-Ponty honorifically terms “non-philosophy”? I first argue that the problematic treatment or omission of disability within philosophy is due primarily to its inheritance of what I call “the ableist conflation.” I then draw a cautionary tale about how ableist assumptions can easily undermine phenomenological inquiry. Though a critical, first-person centered analysis, I argue that Merleau-Ponty’s famous example of the “blind man’s cane,” in Phenomenology of Perception, runs awry by omitting the social dimensions of disabled experiences, misconstruing the nature of worldcreating disabilities, and operating via an able-bodied simulation that at times conflates object-annexation or -extension with incorporation. I hope to show that, following the excision of ableist assumptions, Merleau-Ponty’s work indeed functions as a fruitful model for non-normate phenomenology. If phenomenology is to become “non-philosophy,” as Merleau-Ponty once hoped, it must better heed the insights and correctives of non-normate phenomenology and philosophy, i.e., inquiry grounded in disabled or non-normate experience.De plus en plus de chercheurs à l’intersection de la philosophie féministe, de la philosophie du handicap [philosophy of disability] et des études critiques sur le handicap [critical disability studies] ont abordé Merleau-Ponty pour développer des phénoménologies du corps non normé. Ces études rompent avec la tendance historique des philosophes de saisir le handicap comme une déficience ou une blessure, une mise à l’épreuve des théories normatives ou un terme générique pour des enquêtes sur les variations corporelles aphénotypiques. Étant donné le privilège omniprésent du corps valide à travers l’histoire de la philosophie, je pose la question : une réflexion philosophique qui commence avec et à partir du handicap est-elle une forme de ce que Merleau-Ponty appelle « non-philosophie » ?Je soutiens tout d’abord que le traitement problématique ou l’omission du handicap dans la philosophie sont dus en premier lieu à l’héritage de ce que j’appelle « coalition validiste » [ableist conflation], c’est-à-dire la coalition des formes de discrimination envers l’invalidité. J’esquisse ensuite une histoire prudente sur la manière dont les assomptions validistes peuvent facilement saper la recherche phénoménologique. Par une analyse critique centrée sur la première personne, je soutiens que l’exemple fameux de Merleau-Ponty de la canne de l’aveugle dans Phénoménologie de la perception omet à tort les dimensions sociales des expériences du handicap puisqu’il construit de manière faussée les formes de handicap qui créent des mondes et qu’il opère avec une simulation du corps valide qui parfois confond l’annexion ou l’extension d’objets avec l’incorporation. J’espère montrer que, en poursuivant l’exclusion des assomptions validistes, l’oeuvre de Merleau-Ponty fonctionne en effet comme un modèle fécond pour une phénoménologie non normée. Si la phénoménologie doit devenir « non-philosophie », comme l’espérait Merleau-Ponty, elle doit mieux tenir compte des intuitions et des corrections de la phénoménologie et de la philosophie non normée, c’est-à-dire la recherche basée sur l’expérience handicapée ou non normée.Diversi ricercatori all’incrocio tra filosofia femminista, filosofia della disabilità (philosophy of disability) e studi critici sulla disabilità (critical disability studies) si sono rivolti a Merleau-Ponty per sviluppare delle fenomenologie del corpo non-normato. Queste proposte si oppongono alla tendenza storica dei filosofi a impiegare la disabilità semplicemente come esempio di mancanza o di svantaggio, come cartina di tornasole per teorie normative oppure come un termine inclusivo che racchiuda ricerche mirate alla variazione afenotipica del corpo. Sulla base del privilegio accordato in modo pressoché assoluto al corpo normodotato nel corso della storia della filosofia, vorrei porre la seguente domanda: un’indagine filosofica che prenda le mosse dalla disabilità può essere letta come una forma di ciò che Merleau-Ponty chiama “non-filosofia”?In primo luogo, sosterrò che il trattamento problematico della disabilità o la sua omissione all’interno della filosofia sia dovuto primariamente al suo legame con ciò che chiamo “coalizione abilista” [ableist conflation], ovvero l’insieme delle forme di discriminazione della disabilità. Tratterò poi di come i presupposti “abilisti” possano facilmente inficiare la ricerca fenomenologica. Attraverso un’analisi critica e in prima persona, mostrerò come il famoso esempio di Merleau-Ponty del “bastone del cieco”, nella Fenomenologia della percezione, manchi di prendere in conto la dimensione sociale delle esperienze di disabilità, ricostruisca in modo inappropriato la natura delle disabilità generatrici di mondi, e dia adito ad una simulazione del corpo abile che a tratti confonde l’annessione dell’oggetto o l’estensione tramite questo con l’incorporazione. Spero di dimostrare che, una volta epurata dai suoi presupposti “abilisti”, l’opera di Merleau-Ponty possa valere come modello produttivo per una fenomenologia non-normata. Se la fenomenologia deve diventare “non-filosofia”, come augurava Merleau-Ponty, essa deve prestare maggiore attenzione alle intuizioni e ai correttivi della fenomenologia e della filosofia non-normate, ossia fondate sull’esperienza disabile o non-normata.
283. Chiasmi International: Volume > 19
Galen Johnson Face of the World, Figure of the World: Ethics and Poetics in the Thought of Merleau-Ponty and Glen Mazis
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Mazisgives us a new reading of Merleau-Ponty’s overall writings, a monumental work of vast scope with an original thematic reading of Merleau-Ponty’s thought. Its overall structure is revealed by its subtitle: elucidating the depth of silence, taking it as normative for ethics, reformulating perception as imaginal, concluding with a poetics of philosophy. The book offers us a Merleau-Ponteanethics of “felt solidarity” and “lateral unity” through developing a sharp opposition between the ethics of Merleau-Ponty and Levinasregarding the “face” and the face-to-face, and a new understanding of the inspiration Merleau-Ponty received from the novels of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.By “face of the world,” Mazismeans to highlight the “physiognomic character” of perception, which means perceiving the overall form or shape of things that is suggestive and invites further attention. Merleau-Ponty’s French term, translated as “face,” is the word figure. In other words, to speak of the “face of the world” is new way of speaking of the “flesh of the world,”with a particularly poignant ethical edge about attentiveness and respect.Ultimately, what is at stake is the whole way of entering into and conducting the philosophical enterprise. Philosophy requires a qualitative language to articulate a qualitative world. This is poetic language and poetic phenomenology. This work commands our attention in a world that is increasingly “face blind” to the expressiveness of the world, not only of persons, but also of other living organisms, even the physiognomy of institutions and nature itself.Mazis nous offre une nouvelle lecture de l’oeuvre de Merleau-Ponty. Il s’agit d’un ouvrage monumental et ambitieux offrant une lecture originale de la pensée merleau-pontienne. La structure d’ensemble s’annonce dans le sous-titre : éclairer la profondeur du silence, l’assumer en tant que norme pour une éthique, reformuler la perception en tant qu’imaginale, conclure avec une poétique de la philosophie. Le livre esquisse ainsi une éthique merleau-pontienne de la « solidarité sentie » et de l’« unité latérale » en développant une opposition nette entre l’éthique de Merleau-Ponty et de Levinas, par rapport à la question du « visage » et du « face-à-face », ainsi qu’une nouvelle compréhension de l’inspiration que Merleau-Ponty a reçu des romans d’Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.Par « visage du monde », Mazis nomme le « caractère physionomique » de la perception, c’est-à-dire le fait de percevoir l’ensemble ou la forme des choses en tant qu’elle est allusive et nous invite à une attention ultérieure. Mazis traduit ainsi le terme figure. Parler d’un « visage du monde » est une manière nouvelle pour parler d’une « chair du monde », avec une insistance particulière sur l’attention et le respect. Enfin, ce qui est en jeu est un nouveau moyen d’entrer et de conduire l’entreprise philosophique. La philosophie demande un langage qualitatif afin de pouvoir articuler un monde qualitatif : un langage poétique et une phénoménologie poétique. Un tel travail demande notre attention par rapport à un monde qui est en train de devenir de plus en plus insensible vis-à-vis de l’expressivité du monde, non seulement des personnes, mais aussi des autres organismes vivants, de la physionomie des institutions et de la nature elle-même.Mazis offre una nuova lettura degli scritti di Merleau-Ponty nel loro complesso, in un lavoro monumentale e dall’orizzonte ampio che ripercorre il pensiero del filosofo secondo un taglio tematico originale. La struttura globale dell’opera si annuncia nel suo sottotitolo: essa esplora la profondità del silenzio, assume quest’ultimo come normativo in termini etici, riformula la percezione come immaginale, e si conclude con una poetica della filosofia. Il libro tratteggia un’etica merleau-pontiana della “solidarietà percepita” e dell’“unità laterale” che viene ricostruita attraverso una contrapposizione netta tra l’etica di Merleau-Ponty e quella di Lévinas in riferimento al “volto” e al “faccia a faccia con l’altro”; offre inoltre un’interpretazione nuova degli spunti ricavati da Merleau-Ponty dai romanzi di Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.Attraverso la formula “volto del mondo”, Mazis intende evidenziare il “carattere fisiognomico” della percezione, che significa percepire i contorni o la forma complessiva delle cose in quanto suggestiva e in grado di suscitare l’attenzione. Il termine francese di Merleau-Ponty tradotto come “volto” è figure. In altri termini, parlare di “volto del mondo” è un nuovo modo per riferirsi alla “carne del mondo”, con un richiamo etico particolarmente marcato al riguardo e al rispetto.In ultima analisi, ciò che è in gioco è un modo completamente nuovo di accedere e imprimere una direzione all’impresa della filosofia. Questa richiede un linguaggio qualitativo per articolare un mondo qualitativo. Ovvero un linguaggio poetico e una fenomenologia poetica. Questo volume si impone alla nostra attenzione in un mondo sempre più affetto da “cecità” nei confronti del volto e dunque sempre più insensibile all’espressività del mondo, non soltanto nei confronti delle persone, ma anche degli organismi viventi e persino della fisiognomica delle istituzioni e della natura stessa.
284. Chiasmi International: Volume > 19
Martina Ferrari Paradoxical Beginnings: Reading Judith Butler’s Senses of the Subject
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Spanning nearly twenty years (1993-2012), the essays in Judith Butler’s Senses of the Subject investigate the processes of subject formation. Via an engagement with canonical philosophical figures like Descartes, Malebranche, Merleau-Ponty, Spinoza, Irigaray, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Sartre, and Fanon, Butler develops the thesis that a radical “susceptibility” or “impressionability” vis-à-vis social and linguistic powers is constitutive of the “I.” This claim, as I suggest in the review, has two implications. First, any attempt to account for this process of initial formation is inherently paradoxical; it seeks to put into words a moment that is temporally and structurally prior to the emergence and development of the “I” and the ability to recount such an emergence. Second, the subject, and also the process of subject’s formation, is structurally and temporally open, incessantly relying upon that which is “external” to the subject for its emergence. This collection, which is exclusively devoted to Butler’s engagement with the philosophical tradition, is an invaluable contribution not only to the understanding of Butler’s philosophy and her relationship with the canon. It also opens the space for an investigation of Butler’s philosophical commitments to query why the body seems to dematerialize from her work, even, it seems, when she makes the materiality of the body an explicit focus of her inquiry.Sur une durée de presque vingt ans (1993-2012), les essais rassemblés dans Senses of the Subject de Judith Butler examinent les processus de la formation des sujets. À travers le débat avec des figures philosophiques canoniques telles que Descartes, Malebranche, Merleau-Ponty, Spinoza, Irigaray, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Sartre et Fanon, Butler développe la thèse qu’une « susceptibilité » ou « impressionnabilité » radicale par rapport aux pouvoirs sociaux et linguistiques est constitutive du « Moi ». Cette thèse, comme je le suggère dans ma recension, a deux implications. En premier lieu, toute tentative de rendre compte de ce processus de formation initiale est paradoxal ; elle consiste à mettre en mots un moment qui est temporellement et structurellement premier par rapport à l’émergence et au développement du « Moi » et donc à la capacité de rendre compte d’une telle émergence. En second lieu, le sujet, et donc aussi le processus de formation du sujet, est structurellement et temporellement ouvert, et repose continuellement sur ce qui est « externe » au sujet pour son émergence. Ce recueil, exclusivement consacré au débat de Butler avec la tradition philosophique, est une contribution incontournable, non seulement pour la compréhension de la philosophie de Butler et de sa relation avec le canon, mais encore parce qu’il ouvre un espace pour examiner pourquoi le corps semble dématérialisé dans son oeuvre, même lorsqu’elle fait de la matérialité du corps le centre de sa réflexion. Distribuiti lungo l’arco di quasi vent’anni (1993-2012), i saggi contenuti in Senses of the Subject di Judith Butler indagano il processo della formazione del soggetto. Attraverso un confronto con figure canoniche della filosofia come Cartesio, Malebranche, Merleau-Ponty, Spinoza, Irigaray, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Sartre e Fanon, Butler sviluppa la tesi che l’“Io” sia costituito da una radicale “suscettibilità” o “impressionabilità” rispetto ai poteri sociali e linguistici. Questa tesi, come suggerisco nella mia recensione, ha due implicazioni. In primo luogo, qualunque tentativo di rendere conto di questo processo di formazione iniziale è paradossale: si tratterebbe di un tentativo di esprimere attraverso le parole un momento che è temporalmente e strutturalmente precedente all’emergere e svilupparsi dell’“Io” e alla capacità di riportare e riferire questo stesso emergere. In secondo luogo, il soggetto, così come il processo della sua formazione, è strutturalmente e temporalmente aperto, e si affida incessantemente a ciò che è “esterno” al soggetto stesso nel suo emergere. La raccolta in questione, interamente dedicata al confronto di Butler con la tradizione filosofica, non soltanto rappresenta un contributo inestimabile per la comprensione della filosofia dell’autrice e della sua relazione con la tradizione; essa offre anche la possibilità di mettere a fuoco i termini dell’impegno filosofico di Butler, così da chiarire perché il corpo sembri smaterializzarsi dal suo lavoro anche laddove apparentemente l’autrice fa della materialità del corpo un nucleo centrale della propria indagine.
285. Chiasmi International: Volume > 19
Sarah McLay Self as Divergence: Reading David Morris’ and Kym Maclaren’s Time, Memory, Institution. Merleau-Ponty’s New Ontology of Self
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Kym Maclaren’s and David Morris’ edited volume Time, Memory, Institution: Merleau-Ponty’s New Ontology of Self is an excellent study of Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s concepts of memory, temporality and institution. Its chapters examine these concepts in their relation to his indirect ontology, together revealing that selfhood is instituted via ontological disparity or divergence (écart). In this review, I explore what I take to be the most salient insights of the book’s authors, and suggest that the volume as a whole repositions phenomenology towards a method that is implicated and operates in the movements of Being itself, and therefore calls for a critical phenomenology.Le volume Time, Memory, Institution: Merleau-Ponty’s New Ontology of Self dirigé par Kym Maclaren et David Morris présente une excellente étude des concepts de mémoire, temporalité et institution chez Merleau-Ponty. Ces concepts sont examinés en rapport avec l’ontologie indirecte de Merleau-Ponty, afin de révéler que le soi s’institue à travers un écart ontologique. Dans ce compte rendu, j’explore les intuitions des auteurs que je considère comme étant les plus significatives et je cherche à montrer comment l’ouvrage dans son ensemble vient replacer la phénoménologie dans la perspective d’une méthode qui opère dans les mouvements de l’Être lui-même, et appelle donc à une critique de la phénoménologie.Kym Maclaren e David Morris sono i curatori del volume Time, Memory, Institution: Merleau-Ponty’s New Ontology of Self che presenta un’eccellente analisi dei concetti di memoria, temporalità e istituzione nel pensiero del filosofo francese. Queste nozioni sono indagate in relazione all’ontologia indiretta di Merleau-Ponty, rivelando allo stesso tempo che il sé si istituisce a partire dalla disparità (écart) o dallo scarto ontologico. In questa recensione, mi concentro su quelli che ritengo essere gli apporti più significativi di questa opera collettiva, per mostrare come il volume nel suo insieme venga a riposizionare la fenomenologia nella prospettiva di un metodo che opera nei movimenti dell’Essere stesso e quindi implica una critica della fenomenologia.
286. Chiasmi International: Volume > 19
Information
287. Chiasmi International: Volume > 22
Federico Leoni Presentation
288. Chiasmi International: Volume > 22
Michel Dalissier Introduction
289. Chiasmi International: Volume > 22
Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Bryan Smyth Problems of Yesterday and Today: From Gide to Sartre
290. Chiasmi International: Volume > 22
Federico Leoni Introduction. The Other Mirror of Merleau-Ponty
291. 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.
292. 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.
293. 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.
294. 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.
295. Chiasmi International: Volume > 22
Bernard Andrieu, Anna Caterina Dalmasso Introduction. Thinking Technicity with Merleau-Ponty
296. 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.
297. 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.
298. 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.
299. 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.
300. 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.