Tuesday, 12 April 2011


Taking the study of perception as his point of departure, Merleau-Ponty was led to recognize that one's own body (le corps propre) is not only a thing, a potential object of study for science, but is also a permanent condition of experience, a constituent of the perceptual openness to the world. He therefore underlines the fact that there is an inherence of consciousness and of the body of which the analysis of perception should take account. The primacy of perception signifies a primacy of experience, so to speak, insofar as perception becomes an active and constitutive dimension.

Merleau-Ponty demonstrates a corporeity of consciousness as much as an intentionality of the body, and so stands in contrast with the dualist ontology of mind and body in René Descartes, a philosopher to whom Merleau-Ponty continually returned, despite the important differences that separate them. In the Phenomenology of Perception Merleau-Ponty wrote: “Insofar as I have hands, feet; a body, I sustain around me intentions which are not dependent on my decisions and which affect my surroundings in a way that I do not choose” (1962, p. 440).

The question concerning corporeity connects also with Merleau-Ponty's reflections on space (l'espace) and the primacy of the dimension of depth (la profondeur) as implied in the notion of being in the world (être au monde; to echo Heidegger's In-der-Welt-sein) and of one's own body (le corps propre).



xtina said...


The highlighting of the fact that corporeity intrinsically has a dimension of expressivity which proves to be fundamental to the constitution of the ego is one of the conclusions of The Structure of Behavior that is constantly reiterated in Merleau-Ponty's later works. Following this theme of expressivity, he goes on to examine how an incarnate subject is in a position to undertake actions that transcend the organic level of the body, such as in intellectual operations and the products of one's cultural life.
Ferdinand de Saussure

He carefully considers language, then, as the core of culture, by examining in particular the connections between the unfolding of thought and sense - enriching his perspective not only by an analysis of the acquisition of language and the expressivity of the body, but also by taking into account pathologies of language, painting, cinema, literature, poetry and song.

This work deals mainly with language, beginning with the reflection on artistic expression in The Structure of Behavior - which contains a passage on El Greco (p. 203ff) that prefigures the remarks that he develops in "Cézanne's Doubt" (1945) and follows the discussion in Phenomenology of Perception. The work, undertaken while serving as the Chair of Child Psychology and Pedagogy at the University of the Sorbonne, is not a departure from his philosophical and phenomenological works, but rather an important continuation in the development of his thought.

As the course outlines of his Sorbonne lectures indicate, during this period he continues a dialogue between phenomenology and the diverse work carried out in psychology, all in order to return to the study of the acquisition of language in children, as well as to broadly take advantage of the contribution of Ferdinand de Saussure to linguistics, and to work on the notion of structure through a discussion of work in psychology, linguistics and social anthropology.[wiki]

Ανώνυμος said...

thanks για την πληροφορία. Αν και δεν κατάλαβα τι έλεγαν το θεατρικό έργο(αν μπορείς να το πεις έτσι) ήταν πολύ καλό.

xtina said...

δυστυχώς δεν είδα το machinations, αλλά άκουσα την συζήτηση με τον Γ.Απέργη στο γαλλικό ινστιτούτο και την χθεσινή συναυλία στη στέγη γραμμάτων και τεχνών.υπέροχος άνθρωπος και έργο.
η σχέση σωματικότητας και ύπαρξης, γλώσσας και μουσικής σύνθεσης, μου φάνηκε πως βάζει τον Απέργη και τον Μ.Ποντί σε διάλογο.
όπως ακούω στο youtube το machinations, σκέφτομαι οτι παρουσιάζει το φαινόμενο της ομιλίας-φωνήματα που πότε τελεσφορούν σε επικοινωνία, ποτε μένουν απλά ήχοι και συναίσθημα