In search of lost time, Merleau-ponty, Bergson, and the time of objects

Continental Philosophy Review 43 (4):525-544 (2010)
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The chapter on temporality in Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception , is situated in a section titled, “Being-for-Itself and Being-in-the-World.” As such, Merleau-Ponty’s task in the chapter on temporality is to bring these two positions together, in other words, to articulate the manner in which time links the cogito (Being-for-Itself) with freedom (Being-in-the-World). To accomplish this, Merleau-Ponty proposes a subject located at the junction of the for-itself and the in-itself, a subject which has an exterior that makes it possible for others to have an interior. This analysis will take Merleau-Ponty to an impasse where, on the one hand, there appears to be an objective world and the time of objects in that world, and on the other, there is the subject’s notion of events and the passing of time. Referring to Bergson’s notion of time, this essay proposes that there must be a temporal interval between perception, feeling and action in order for the subject to be “temporal by means of an inner necessity,” as Merleau-Ponty prescribes



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