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Chiasmi International

Volume 15, 2013
Existence, Diacritics, Animality

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Displaying: 21-36 of 36 documents

iii. phénoménologie de l’animalité
21. 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.
22. 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.
23. Chiasmi International: Volume > 15
Elena Tavani Il mondo e la sua ombra: estetica e ontologia in Hannah Arendt e Merleau-Ponty
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Starting from a specific critique of the traditional «metaphysical mistake» (i.e., the distinction between being and appearing), Hannah Arendt comes to supporta “phenomenalism” that is not only radical but also spectacular in the sense that it enhances, not appearances that would replace an unknown being or substance, but an appearing as a unique exhibition on the world stage in view of an opinion to communicate or an action to perform. Along this path, an encounter with Merleau-Ponty’s thought can occur at several levels. Specifically, the thesis of the ‘spectacular’ character of the world is presented in Arendt’s political theory as intimately linked to the thesis of an aesthetic and, at the same time, ontological basis of experience, which relates her thought to the Merleau-Pontian theory of vision as “thought conditioned” by the world and “which advents” as “instituted” in a body that is properly its own (Eye and Mind). For Arendt, thought is not only invisible (“not manifest even when it is actualized,” The Life of the Mind), it is also ontologically visible as “doxa” in which it is divided into “aspects of world” that are revealed in a “specular” fashion as positions to take and show “outside,” to present and defend. This is a valuable asset in the context of political “advertising.”
24. Chiasmi International: Volume > 15
Tano Posteraro Painting as Stylized Vision: the Movement of Invisibility in “Eye and Mindˮ
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This paper explores Merleau-Ponty’s mature philosophy of painting as it emerges out of his essay, “Eye and Mind.” It does so by briefly outlining the ontology implicit in this discussion of the phenomenology of painting, an ontology that finds a more explicit expression in a consideration of other works by Merleau-Ponty, namely, The Visible and the Invisible and Phenomenology of Perception. This is an ontology of style, perspective, becoming. Having briefly sketched this image of the world, the paper moves to a study of the phenomenological significance of Picasso’s famous Dora Maar au Chat. This is the primary aim of this paper: the staging of an encounter between Merleau-Ponty, the phenomenologist, and Pablo Picasso, the painter. We will find in this encounter the claim that it is by means of the painter’s style that he brings his world to life. In seeing the painting, we see along with it: we see the painter’s own way of seeing the world. In seeing the painting we are literally seeing seeing. But we do so by means of our own stylized perspectives, for vision, in Merleau-Ponty’s eyes, is itself already stylized. This is a pan-stylicism: an endless interplay of stylistic becomings the locus of which is the painting itself. As the emblem of this interplay, the painting is capable of disrupting profane vision, of awakening vision to the bottomless plenitude of being, and transforming it thereby.
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David M. Peña-Guzmán Pathetic Normativity: Canguilhem and Merleau-Ponty’s Philosophy of Norms
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Inspired by the genetic phenomenology of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and the historical epistemology of Georges Canguilhem, this paper defends a theory of normativity grounded in pathos rather than logos. Proceeding from the double assumption that (a) accounts of the origins of normativity circulated in antiquity (Aristotle) and modernity (Kant) are unsatisfactory, and (b) the determinacy of norms remains a central problem not only for moral theory but also for epistemology, political theory, and even medicine, the author contends that the realm of lived experience (especially the experience of suffering) can help us furnish determinate though often pre-thetic norms that can underwrite or justify “non-moral normative distinctions,” such as the distinction between the just and the unjust in political theory and (especially) the distinction between the normal and the pathological in medicine. With the aid of comparative and hermeneutic analysis, the author establishes that Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception shares with Canguilhem’s The Normal and the Pathological a similar understanding of the norming (i.e., generative of norms) and normative (i.e., subject to norms) character of subjective experience and, moreover, that in these works one can find a “pathic” (or “pathetic,” from the Greek pathos) theory of norms that can give us, as the author puts it, “a new foundation for the very possibility of critique” in our post-Enlightenment moment.
26. 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.
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Marco Spina La rencontre avec autrui. Distance, regard et silence dans la pensée de Maurice Merleau-Ponty
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The starting point of this essay is an article of Enzo Paci, “Prospettive relazionistiche” published in Dall’esistenzialismo al relazionismo, in which the author interprets Merleau-Ponty’s project in the light of a quotation from Saint Exupery: “Man is a knot of relations, and relations alone count for man.” The problem of relations plays, in fact, a central role in all of Merleau-Ponty’s work; hence the principal objective of this essay: to reflect on the originary value of relations in the constitution of the human subject.As Merleau-Ponty himself suggests in his early reflection on affective life, everything in the human being is manifested under the form of the desire of life understood as relation. It is the affective dynamic of desire that provokes reason and configures a manner of being that, through the discovery of alterity, surpasses natural determinisms in opening us to the experience of freedom, sacrifice and love. It is by building on this originary relational constitution of existence that we re-read Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy, in particular the problem of the self as relation. This makes possible a renewed approach to the human sciences with the goal of thinking our relations with others.
28. Chiasmi International: Volume > 15
Peter Warnek The Experience of Freedom at the Limits of Reflection in Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology
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The paper revisits the discussion of freedom in the Phenomenology of Perception and considers how according to Merleau-Ponty a phenomenology of freedom must challenge the tradition that attempts to account for experience and appearance through the filter of reflective consciousness. The paper begins by posing this problem in broad historical terms, as a distinctly modern predicament, and briefly considers Schelling’s philosophical engagement with negative philosophy as a provocation and historical precedent for reading the phenomenological work of Merleau-Ponty. It is noted that Schelling’s criticism of the formal freedom of Kant prefi gures Merleau-Ponty’s polemic against Sartrean freedom, although the claim is also made that Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenological account of freedom remains irreducible to the terms established by this polemic, since what appears is a freedom no longer determined by consciousness and reflection. Before turning to the reading of the Phenomenology of Perception, a single passage is also adduced from The Visible and Invisible in order to demonstrate how the concern elaborated in the Phenomenology runs throughout Merleau-Ponty’s work, namely, that a phenomenological interrogation of experience must break down the boundaries of what is properly one’s own as this would be defined in and by the reflective act. The reading of the Phenomenology then proceeds by showing how the entire work is framed by the possibility of transforming philosophical practice through an overturning of the dominant paradigm of reflection. The paper interrogates in this light the Preface, the chapter on Descartes’ cogito and the concluding chapter on freedom. A connection is drawn between the appearance of the “tacit” cogito and the elaboration of freedom that ends by insisting upon the necessity of silence.
comptes rendus
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Clélia Zernik Emmanuel Alloa et Adnen Jdey (éds.), Du sensible à l’oeuvre: Esthétiques de Merleau Ponty; Mauro Carbone (éd.), L’empreinte du visuel: Merleau-Ponty et les images aujourd’ hui
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The collective works edited by Emmanuel Alloa and Adnen Jdey, Du sensible à l’oeuvre, and by Mauro Carbone, L’empreinte du visuel, meet the dual requirementimposed by reading the work of Merleau-Ponty today: on one hand, they extend the philosopher’s thought and highlight its obvious necessity in reading the mostcontemporary art; and, on the other hand, by not allowing themselves to be lulled by the gentle seduction of the writing, they emphasize the coherence of his thought andthe rigor of certain of his key concepts such as style, resumption, flesh or individuation, which are the object of precise and unpublished studies.
30. Chiasmi International: Volume > 15
Frédéric Jacquet Emre Şan, La transcendance comme problème phénoménologique: lecture de Merleau-Ponty et Patočka
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In his book, Emre Şan undertakes a confrontation between Merleau-Ponty and Patočka on the question of transcendence understood as a phenomenological problem,indeed as the problem of phenomenology. This approach has the great merit of identifying the meaning of being of Being as promise, on the path of an ontology beyondHusserl and Heidegger. Emre Şan’s book thus offers a very important contribution to phenomenological studies.
in memoriam
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Edward S. Casey, Donald Landes, Eduardo Mendieta, Michael Naas, Leonard Lawlor Hugh J. Silverman (1945-2013)
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Edward S. Casey, Donald Landes, Eduardo Mendieta, Michael Naas, Leonard Lawlor Hugh J. Silverman (1945-2013)
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33. Chiasmi International: Volume > 15
Edward S. Casey, Donald Landes, Eduardo Mendieta, Michael Naas, Leonard Lawlor Hugh J. Silverman (1945-2013)
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