This paper addresses a number of issues concerning both the status of phenomenology in the work of one of its classical expositors, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and the general relation between theoretical models and evidence in phenomenological accounts. In so doing, I will attempt to explain Merleau-Ponty’s departure from classical transcendental accounts in Husserl’s thought and why Merleau-Ponty increasingly elaborated on them through aesthetic rationality. The result is a phenomenology that no longer understands itself as foundational and no longer understands itself in (...) the strict opposition of intuition and concept. Rather both emerge from an operative experience generated in the exchange between situated embodied knowing and historical knowledge. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 35 - 53 In a letter written at the end of July 1930, Jean Cavaillès singled out two of his successful students at the _Ecole Normale_, Merleau-Ponty and Lautman, “full of interest in the philosophy of mathematics”. While both would play an important role in French philosophy in the coming decades, one almost never thinks of their names together. Indeed, only rarely do we think of Merleau-Ponty and Cavaillès together. This paper will argue (...) against this rarity. Cavaillès would write a treatise on logic that in retrospect is often viewed to advance French philosophy—but precisely at the expense phenomenology. I will argue that this evaluation is overblown. Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy, on the other hand, is often viewed in opposition to this as defending a Husserlian account of perception, a view equally too narrow. Between them, instead, I argue, we can see both transforming the Husserlian account of a transcendental logic and a transcendental aesthetic. Both provide resources for understanding phenomenology as a dialectical and historically emergent theory. Notwithstanding Cavaillès initial characterization of Husserl’s “exhorbitant use of the Cogito”, or his “aggressive” description of acts, to use Merleau-Ponty’s term, the result, in both cases, focuses on phenomenology as an emergent experience of philosophy as an “architecture” of signs. (shrink)
Tradition II Hermeneutics, Ethics, and the Dispensation of the Good Stephen H. Watson Examines concepts of tradition in 20th-century Continental philosophy. In Tradition II, Stephen H. Watson engages post-Kantian Continental philosophy in his continuing investigation into the concept of tradition which he began in his work, Tradition. According to Watson, the problem of tradition became explicit in 20th-century philosophy, and is especially apparent in the work of Heidegger, Gadamer, Husserl, Benjamin, Adorno, Levinas, Kristeva, and Derrida, among others. By formulating a (...) series of dialogues between these philosophers and their predecessors, Watson articulates the issues and concerns surrounding tradition and traditionality. Taking on topics such as the hermeneutics of the self, the rationality of tradition, the pluralistic nature of historical interpretation, and the question of the "other," Watson emphasizes the importance of classical accounts of ethical and political discourse for contemporary philosophy and today’s multicultural world. Watson extends his analysis of tradition to include the problems of meaning and narrative and the nature of the self. He also considers the meaning of the Good and how Good is dispensed in the world. By questioning past philosophical narratives and their influence on modern and postmodern philosophy, Watson brings fresh perspective to the complex meanings of tradition for a pluralistic world. Stephen H. Watson is Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Philosophy Department at the University of Notre Dame. He is author of Extensions: Essays on Interpretation, Rationality, and the Closure of Modernism and Tradition: Refiguring Community, Remembrance, and Virtue in Classical German Thought. Studies in Continental Thought—John Sallis, general editor June 2001 320 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4, index cloth 0-253-33900-6 $35.00 s / £26.50. (shrink)
Introduction to S. Gallagher and S. Watson. (2004). _Ipseity and Alterity: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Intersubjectivity_ . Rouen: Presses Universitaires. Originally published in 2000 as a special issue of the online journal _Arobase: Journal des lettres et sciences humaines,_ 4 (1-2).
This chapter will be devoted to the itinerary of classical German thought, and especially Hegel, in Merleau-Ponty’s thought. I begin by examining Merleau-Ponty’s initial use of Hegel’s systematic and metaphysicalmetaphysics ideas in phenomenological analyses of behavior and perception. Next, I examine Merleau-Ponty’s role in controversies regarding the existentialists’ interpretation and objections to Hegel’s system. I trace his attempts to surmount antinomiesantinomy between subjectivitysubjectivity and system that emerged in the existentialist’s anthropological reading of Hegel. Here Merleau-Ponty focused on linguistics and more (...) general analyses of institution and expression. Finally, I will view the renewed role that classical German philosophy, including Schelling and Hegel, played in his final works. Still reflecting these interests, his writings and lectures engaged in a wide-ranging dialogue with contemporary aesthetics, sciencescience, and philosophy, culminating in an attempt to formulate a new ontologyontology. (shrink)
This book, like its predecessor, Imagining, is an exemplary study in phenomenology. Perhaps even more than its predecessor, however, Remembering provides the reader with insight into the contemporary status of phenomenological inquiry. And, perhaps even more pointedly, this work traces both the potentials as well as limitations of transcendental representation and phenomenological description. Casey's investigation of remembering reveals a domain which extends beyond representation, irrecuperable to epistemic adequation and the grasp of conceptual analysis and reduction. As in other areas central (...) to the research program Husserl hoped would provide an ultimate foundation for the sciences in general, remembering involves a domain which ruptures the schemata of classical phenomenological enquiry: subject and object, act and content, form and matter. (shrink)
The extent to which discourses surrounding the Good, the sacred, and (more problematically) the beautiful have preoccupied thinkers in continental philosophy and in poststructuralism is striking. What is equally striking, however, is the decisively ‘non-theological’ theoretical cast of this account of the Good. Attempts to “disengage” the account of trancendence at stake remain complicated. What is in question is an understanding that is profoundly ethical—and, I want to argue, against the fabric of theoretical modernity, profoundly historical in ways doubtless that (...) motivate much of ‘poststructuralist’ thought in this area. In what follows, I want to show how Emmanuel Levinas distinguishes the “divergence” of the Good within philosophy, and how Levinas’s philosophy betrays the effect of modernity and the detraditionalization of the ethical even in appealing to certain traditions for the intelligibility—if you will, the figure—of the ethical. (shrink)
Paul Klee's art found broad impact upon philosophers of varying commitments, including Hans-Georg Gadamer. Moreover, Klee himself was not only one of the most important artists of aesthetic modernism but one of its leading theoreticians, and much in his work, as in Gadamer's, originated in post-Kantian literary theory's explications of symbol and allegory. Indeed at one point in Truth and Method, Gadamer associates his project for a general "theory of hermeneutic experience" not only with Goethe's metaphysical account of the symbolic (...) but equally with a "rehabilitation" of allegory. In this paper, I examine this position and Gadamer's own use of it in his analysis of Klee's work, contrasting it with that of Walter Benjamin's account of allegory, equally indebted to Goethe and this archive. Finally, I contrast the resulting interpretations of Klee, discussing the implications that evolve for understanding both Gadamer and Benjamin— but equally for understanding Klee's work and, provisionally, the work of art, thus construed, for philosophy. (shrink)
Twenty papers from a conference in Villanova, Pennsylvania discuss the politics, psychoanalysis and feminist theory, aesthetics, and ethics of phenomenology and existentialism in North America, from its beginnings in the 1940s to its ...
This collection examines the relationship between phenomenology, interpretation, and community, considering the issues from several viewpoints including German idealism, the discourses of the Frankfurt School, and post-structuralist thought.
Rereads classical figures in continental thought, takes up current topics in the legacy of political theory, and analyzes and evaluates Foucault's work as a prime manifestation of the complicated modern interface between truth and power, institution and liberation.
Watson investigates the responses of of key twentieth-century philosophers to the work of artist Paul Klee and reveals how the art and philosophy mutually illuminate each other through these encounters.
In ten essays, originally published 1987-91 and in some cases revised for the collection, Watson (philosophy, U. of Notre Dame) constructs a conception of rationality that moves between the extremes of the absolute and the ephemeral.
Invocations of Merleau-Ponty’s claim concerning the incompleteness that accompanies the phenomenological reduction have had a long and somewhat contentious history. In this paper I will further explore the implications of Merleau-Ponty’s claim and the itinerary from which it emerges. From the Structure of Behaviour onward, he argued that consciousness is not a transcendental presupposition but an achievement that emerges from and transforms the labor of our rational practices. Phenomenological theory rightly argued for the centrality of the experience of the reduction, (...) albeit too often by mistakenly bestowing immanence upon it. Statically regarded, the reduction may involve an ‘act’ but it is also a Stiftung, and thus a performative, one that Merleau-Ponty claims involves an institution and an acquisition: as he puts it quite simply, it is learned. The reduction involves intuition but it is also a conceptual practice involving “a multitude of operations”, a symbolic matrix always articulated through internal transformations. Finally the reduction is an experience but it is always a sequence “gradually effected” and thus an embodied history. It results then not in the Spinozist Habemus ideam verum, but as “The Philosopher and His Shadow” rightly concludes, an “artifact”. For Merleau-Ponty, all this forced the recognition of the “internal difficulty” in the reduction theorized through the concept of a constituting consciousness. Moreover, this not an anthropological claim about a faculty or finitude, but a claim about the rationality, the “metamorphosis” and “coherent deformation” of its experience, an “ordered sequence of steps” that “could not possibly reach completion in the intellectual possession of a noema”. It is not simply en presence, in the static relation of presence that phenomenology achieves justification. For Merleau-Ponty, its experience is not unrevisable, nor immanently completable: instead it is only through the ordered steps of its history that it acquires sufficiency. (shrink)
This paper investigates the role of literature and, in particular, Proust in Merleau-Ponty’s late works’ rehabilitation of the ontology of the sensible. First, I trace Proust’s role in Phenomenology of Percpetion, contrasting it with the somewhat more paradigmatic status as a model it plays in the late works. Second, I compare this with the role of the novel as partial myth in Schelling, who also played an essential role in Merleau-Ponty’s refiguration of the sensible. I briefly trace his examination of (...) the historical or “sociological meaning” of literature through works of the fifties, beginning with his Collège de France candidacy proposal and continuing through his examination of the rationality of modern disenchantment or dépoétization in the Adventures of the Dialectic. Finally, discussing the late analysis of Proust against this backdrop, I conclude with considerations concerning the relevance of Merleau-Ponty’s overall analysis of Proust both in his thought and contemporary literary criticism and philosophy more generally. Cet article examine le rôle de la littérature et, en particulier, celui de Proust, dans la réhabilitation ontologique du sensible qui se trame dans les derniers écrits de Merleau-Ponty. En premier lieu, je retracerai le rôle de Proust dans la Phénoménologie de la perception, en l’opposant au statut quelque peu plus paradigmatique, comme s’il s’agissait d’un modèle, qu’il joue dans le dernier Merleau-Ponty. Deuxièmement, je comparerai cela avec la fonction du roman conçu comme un mythe incomplet chez Schelling, qui a aussi joué un rôle essentiel dans la reconfiguration du sensible chez Merleau-Ponty. Je décrirai brièvement son analyse de la « signification sociologique » ou historique de la littérature à travers des oeuvres des années ’50, en me penchant, d’abord, sur sa candidature au Collège de France, et, ensuite, sur son étude de la rationalité du désenchantement moderne ou dépoétisation dans les Aventures de la dialectique. Finalement, en examinant les dernières analyses de Proust à partir de ces prémisses, je conclurai avec des considérations sur l’intérêt de l’ensemble de l’analyse que Merleau-Ponty fait de Proust à la fois pour sa pensée, pour la critique littéraire contemporaine et, plus généralement, pour la philosophie.Il presente articolo indaga il ruolo della letteratura e, in particolare, di Proust nella riabilitazione ontologica del sensibile negli ultimi scritti di Merleau-Ponty. In primo luogo, si delinea il ruolo di Proust nella Fenomenologia della percezione, contrapponendolo, in qualche modo, allo statuto paradigmatico di modello che l’autore riveste nei lavori dell’ultimo Merleau-Ponty. In secondo luogo, si confronta questo con il ruolo del romanzo come mito parziale in Schelling, che pure ha giocato una parte essenziale nella rifigurazione del sensibile in Merleau-Ponty. Si articolerà brevemente il significato storico o sociologico della letteratura attraverso gli scritti degli anni Cinquanta, a partire dalla proposta di candidatura di Merleau-Ponty al Collège de France e proseguendo mediante il suo esame della razionalità del disincanto moderno o depoetizzazione ne Le avventure della dialettica. Infine, esaminando l’ultima lettura di Proust a partire da queste analisi, propongo una considerazione riguardo alla rilevanza complessiva dell’autore della Recherche nella riflessione di Merleau-Ponty e, più in generale, nella critica letteraria e nella filosofia contemporanee. (shrink)
This paper examines the ambiguity that attends Paul Klee's characterization of the daemonic element in his work. It does so by analyzing the history of this concept in classical German thought from Wincklemann to Goethe. I note transformations of the concept in writings contemporaneous to Klee in literary theory and theology. These include Lukács, for whom the modern novel articulates the daemonic as an ironic world devoid of transcendental immanence, homeland, or essence; and Otto, for whom the world remained in (...) some sense still not devoid of the numinous. I further consider these issues in brief discussion of Klee's account of the polyphonic construction of the artwork. Finally, attention is given to proximate philosophical treatments of the topic in writers influenced by Klee's work. (shrink)
Introduction In Autrement qu'etre on au-delh de I'essence, Levinas claims that ipseity depends upon alterity. One of the reasons given is that I, according to Levinas, become a subject exactly by being addressed and accused by the Other .
While classical interpretations of hermeneutics have often identified themselves with Montaigne, others have contested not only whether Montaigne is committed to an account of a hermeneutic self, but whether a hermeneutics of traditional or self-identity is either possible or desirable. This article will investigate the continuing viability of hermeneutics through contested interpretations of Montaigne undertaken from the varying standpoints of phenomenology, psychoanalysis, and critical theory. These interpretations have shed significant light on Montaigne's work and have in turn been further illuminated (...) by it; they reveal not only something about the hermeneutics of Montaigne's work, but about consciousness, and the timeliness of hermeneutics itself. (shrink)
Tradition(s) accomplishes this through a series of original readings of Kant and post-Kantian German philosophy, in which topics such as Kant on friendship, nature in post-Kantian thought, HeideggerÕs relationship to Hobbes, and HegelÕs ...
THE OPENING OF MARTIN HEIDEGGER'S summer of 1928 Marburg lectures on logic is, to use a word he himself invokes elsewhere about these matters, "dismaying"--providing perhaps additional evidence for the perennial charge that aspects of his work contain tendencies toward irrationalism, mysticism, and forms of nostalgic romanticism. In fact, the lectures show Heidegger calling for nothing less than a "destruction of logic," a move not only consistent with a similar destruction in Being and Time, published a year previously, but also (...) consistent with a context which its author describes as one in which "the inner rebellion against knowledge, the revolt against rationality, and the struggle against intellectualism have become fashionable." His ensuing condemnation of "the widespread sterility of academic courses" in this area and the call for "loosening up traditional logic," would seem to lead directly to the proclamation which would issue from Heidegger's struggle with Nietzsche in the decade thereafter, that "reason, glorified for centuries, is the most stiff-necked adversary of thought." The question of Heidegger's account in this regard has continually troubled those writing in its wake--not only in the continental traditional, such as Gadamer, Adorno, Habermas, Merleau-Ponty, or Derrida, but also those "beyond" it, such as Carnap, Ryle, Rorty, or Putnam. And yet, such claims seem only to provide added weight to the concern that the "retrieval of metaphysics" thought to be essential to these issues based upon the Daseinanalytik of Being and Time would only lead the classical issues in philosophy associated with justification and decidability into a quagmire. Its emphasis upon the conjunct in its title, being and time, could only lead, on the one hand, to anthropological reductionism--since it returned the interrogation of Being back to the commitments of the being through whom the questioning arose-and on the other hand, to a new version of historicism--since it claimed that questions concerning "truth" were tied essentially to time, and specifically, to the latter's appearance within the temporal horizon of the being to whom they appeared. Moreover, that even those closest to Heidegger viewed the matter similarly is clear, for example, in the criticisms his mentor, Edmund Husserl voiced in the 1931 response, "Phenomenology and Anthropology." There the strategy Husserl used in arguing against Dilthey's flirtation with relativism in a Logos essay of 1911 was reinvoked against Heidegger himself. In this regard, far from contributing to a retrieval of classical issues in philosophy, Heidegger would be simply guilty of effecting their ultimate dissolution, a claim which, like that of irrationalism, has accompanied his works ever since. (shrink)