The Logic of the Observed

The first line of Merleau-Ponty’s 1951-52 lecture “The Question of Method in Child Psychology” reads, “In child psychology (as in psychopathology, the psychology of primitives, and the psychology of women), the situation of the object of study is so different from that of the observer that it cannot be grasped on its own terms.” [F, 465] Is there any hope for a feminist reading of Merleau-Ponty’s psychology with such a statement, or are women relegated in Merleau-Ponty’s corpus alongside the childlike, the insane, and the primitive? This paper endeavors to demonstrate that Merleau-Ponty’s understanding of the psychology of women is not a false or bigoted placing of women in an infant-like position. Rather, he demonstrates that it is precisely this relationship of man to woman that must be the starting point of analysis for both a philosophy and psychology of sex.À la première ligne du cours de Merleau-Ponty intitulé “Methode en psychologie de I’enfant,” on peut lire: “En psychologie de I’enfant, comme en psychpathologie, en psychologie des primitifs et en psychologie de la femme, I’objet à connaître est dans une situation si differente de celle de I’observateur qu’il est difficile de le saisir tel qu’il est. “À la lumière de cette citation, peut-on espérer faire une lecture féministe de la psychologie de Merleau-Ponty, ou les femmes sont-elles reléguées, dans le corpus merleau-pontien, à I’infantile, I’insensé et le primitif? Le présent article tente de démontrer que la compréhension merleau-pontienne de la psychologie des femmes ne place pas indûment ou de façon sexiste les femmes dans une position infantile. Il démontre plutôt que cette relation même entre I’homme et la femme doit constituer le point de départ de I’analyse pour une philosophie et une psychologie sexuelles
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DOI 10.5840/symposium2001515
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