A Phenomenology of Critical-Ethical Vision: Merleau-Ponty, Bergson, and the question of seeing differently
Chiasmi International 11:375-398 (2009)
AbstractDrawing on Merleau-Ponty’s “Eye and Mind” and Bergson’s Matière et mémoire and “La perception du changement,” I ask what resources are available in vision for interrupting objectifying habits of seeing. While both Bergson and Merleau-Ponty locate the possibility of seeing differently in the figure of the painter, I develop by means of their texts, and in dialogue with Iris Marion Young’s work, a more general phenomenology of hesitation that grounds what I am calling “critical-ethical vision.” Hesitation, I argue, stems from affect and leads to critical memory. In hesitation, the seeming coincidence between my habits of seeing and the visible is decentered, revealing these habits and their social reference as the constitutive horizon of my field of vision. Hesitation, then, provides the phenomenological moment within which vision may become at once critically watchful, destabilizing its objectifying habits, and ethically responsive, recollecting its affective grounds. The critical and the ethical are here inseparable. Critically, this vision is an awareness of the structures of invisibility, diacritical and habitual, social and historical, to which my vision owes—dimensions which institute particular ways of seeing and being as norm while eliding others. Ethically, this is the recognition of how seeing is already seeing with others—others whose affective influence is operative within vision, even as their existence is reductively represented or denied.
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References found in this work
Eye and Mind.Maurice Merleau-Ponty - 1964 - In The Primacy of Perception. Evanston, USA: Northwestern University Press. pp. 159-190.
Towards a Phenomenology of Racial Embodiment.Linda Martín Alcoff - 1999 - Radical Philosophy 95:15-26.
Habits of Hostility: On Seeing Race.Linda Martín Alcoff - 2000 - Philosophy Today 44 (Supplement):30-40.
Citations of this work
Examining Carceral Medicine Through Critical Phenomenology.Andrea J. Pitts - 2018 - International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics 11 (2):14-35.
Individuals and Technology: Gilbert Simondon, From Ontology to Ethics to Feminist Bioethics.Donald A. Landes - 2014 - Continental Philosophy Review 47 (2):153-176.
Why Feminist Technoscience and Feminist Phenomenology Should Engage with Each Other: On Subjectification/Subjectivity.Kristin Zeiler - forthcoming - Feminist Theory 21 (3):367-390.
Multiple Moving Perceptions of the Real: Arendt, Merleau-Ponty, and Truitt.Helen A. Fielding - 2011 - Hypatia 26 (3):518-534.
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