This essay pushes the ontological implications of Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception to their limit. While everybody knows he used Gestaltist notions to displace atomistic ontologies,1 I completely subordinate the phenomenological to the ontological, so that his deployment of Form from The Structure of Behavior becomes the fundamental maneuver of the Phenomenology. The more traditional concerns with subject/object and mind/body dualities are then both secondary to and solved by this use of Form, and the book becomes not so much a phenomenology (...) as an explicitly new metaphysics.Merleau-Ponty introduces the living body as être au monde amid his discussion of the phantom limb and initially compares it neither .. (shrink)
New translations tracing decades of Beauvoir's leftist political engagement during the turbulent era of decolonization, from articles exposing conditions in fascist Spain and Portugal in 1945 and hard hitting attacks on right-wing intellectuals in the 1950s, to a 1962 defense of an Algerian freedom fighter, Djamila Boupacha, and a 1975 article calling for the 'two state solution' in Israel. The texts range from a surprising 1952 defense of the misogynistic 18th c. pornographer, the Marquis de Sade, to the transcription of (...) a co-written 1974 documentary film on the aged in France. (shrink)
Argues that standard interpretations of Merleau-Ponty's criticisms of Sartrean freedom fail and presents an alternative interpretation that argues that the fundamental issue concerns their different theories of time.
Argues that choice, as a form of interpretation, is completely intertwined with the development of both sexual orientation and sexual identity. Sexual orientation is not simply a given, or determined aspect of personality.
Kant’s and Sartre’s theories of freedom are both famous and controversial. Kant requires the subject to be both in time and not in time in order to be fully free, while Sartre seemingly requires that the subject continually reinvent itself each moment. I argue that these peculiarities stem from the similar way each thinker conceives of the relationship between freedom and time. A full and meaningful account of human freedom requires both continuity and rupture in the flow of time, and (...) the paradoxes in both philosophers’ theories of freedom originate in their attempt to satisfy both of these temporal requirements. (shrink)
Abstract: This essay explores recent trends and major issues related to gay and lesbian philosophy in ethics (including issues concerning the morality of homosexuality, the natural function of sex, and outing and coming out); religion (covering past and present debates about the status of homosexuality and how biblical and qur'anic passages have been interpreted by both sides of the debate); the law (especially a discussion of the debates surrounding sodomy laws, same-sex marriage and its impact on transsexuals, and whether the (...) law should be used to enforce morality); scientific research into the origins of homosexuality (including discussion of arguments against such research); and metaphysics (especially the question of whether homosexuality is socially constructed during particular times and in particular cultures, or whether sexual orientation is an essential trait cutting across times and cultures). (shrink)
The theory-theory claims that the explanation and prediction of behavior works via the application of a theory, while the simulation theory claims that explanation works by putting ourselves in others' places and noting what we would do. On either account, in order to develop a prediction or explanation of another person's behavior, one first needs to have a characterization of that person's current or recent actions. Simulation requires that I have some grasp of the other person's behavior to project myself (...) upon; whereas theorizing requires a subject matter to theorize about. The frame problem shows that multiple, true characterizations are possible for any behavior or situation. However, only one or a few of these characterizations are relevant to explaining or predicting behavior. Since different characterizations of a behavior lead to different predictions or explanations, much of the work of interpersonal interpretation is done in the process of finding this characterization - that is, prior to either theorizing or simulating. Moreover, finding this characterization involves extensive knowledge of the physical, cultural, and social worlds of the persons involved. (shrink)
"Knowledge of self, knowledge of others, error and the place of consciousness" examines texts and problems from the phenomenological tradition to show that the other does not present her/himself as a consciousness enclosed in a merely material body. I discuss Merleau-Ponty''s attempt to supplant this view with the view that the other is always seen as an "incarnate consciousness" - a unity of mind and body in activity. This view faces a difficulty in that it seems to collapse the distinction (...) between one''s own understanding of one''s behavior and the understanding which another might have of this same behavior. In response to this objection, I study how the meaning of people''s behaviors are settled in dialogue. I argue that the meanings that an actor gives to her or his behavior cannot rest entirely with that person, nor are they determined solely by the interpreter, but instead develop in the interaction between the actor and the interpreter. (shrink)
This paper argues that one's perception of another person's bodily activity is not the perception of the mere flexing and bending of that person's limbs, but rather of that person's intentions. It makes its case in three parts. First, it examines what conditions are necessary for children to begin to imitate and assimilate the behavior of other adults and argues that these conditions include the perception of intention. These conditions generalize to adult perception as well. Second, changing methodologies, the paper (...) presents a first person phenomenology of watching another person act which demonstrates that one's own perception is of intentions. The phenomenological analysis of time consciousness is the keystone of this argument. Finally, the paper looks at some recently established facts about infant and child development, and shows that these facts are best explained by thinking that the child is already perceiving intention. (shrink)
Argues that Dennett's apparent inability to commit ontologically on the being of intentionality can be resolved by regarding intentionality as realized at the ontological level of a pattern of social behavior.