Non-representational approaches to the unconscious in the phenomenology of Husserl and Merleau-Ponty

Anastasia Kozyreva
Universität Heidelberg
There are two main approaches in the phenomenological understanding of the unconscious. The first explores the intentional theory of the unconscious, while the second develops a non-representational way of understanding consciousness and the unconscious. This paper aims to outline a general theoretical framework for the non-representational approach to the unconscious within the phenomenological tradition. In order to do so, I focus on three relevant theories: Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology of perception, Thomas Fuchs’ phenomenology of body memory, and Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology of affectivity. Both Merleau-Ponty and Fuchs understand the unconscious as a “sedimented practical schema” of subjective being in the world. This sedimented unconscious contributes to the way we implicitly interpret reality, fill in the gaps of uncertainty, and invest our social interactions with meaning. Husserl, however, approaches the unconscious in terms of affective non-vivacity, as a sphere of sedimentation and the horizon of the distant past which stays affectively connected to the living present. Drawing on these ideas, I argue that these two accounts can reinforce one another and provide the ground for a phenomenological understanding of the unconscious in terms of the horizontal dimension of subjective experience and a non-representational relation to the past.
Keywords phenomenology  unconscious  consciousness  memory  affectivity  sedimentation  Husserl  Merleau-Ponty
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DOI 10.1007/s11097-016-9492-9
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References found in this work BETA

The Visible and the Invisible.Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Claude Lefort & Alphonso Lingis - 1970 - Philosophical Quarterly 20 (80):278-279.
Phenomenology of Perception.M. Merleau-Ponty & Colin Smith - 1962 - Philosophical Quarterly 14 (57):372-375.
The Cognitive Unconscious.John F. Kihlstrom - 1987 - Science 237:1445-1452.

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Citations of this work BETA

Husserl, Impure Intentionalism, and Sensory Awareness.Corijn Van Mazijk - 2018 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences:1-19.
Husserl, Impure Intentionalism, and Sensory Awareness.Corijn Van Mazijk - 2019 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 18 (2):333-351.
Levinas's Philosophy of Perception.Matt E. M. Bower - 2017 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 55 (4):383-414.

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