PHILOSOPHY 630: MERLEAU-PONTY AND DERRIDA

Victor Santiago

Protocol 2/16/04

 

Material added to Joseph’s protocol

 

For Sartre, consciousness always constitutes an object but consciousness “for itself” is nothing.

 

The “for itself” (por-soi) is the nothingness of consciousness and the source of freedom.  The ego is empirical and outside of consciousness and can engage in activities but is not content (consciousness as directed outside of itself).   Contrasted to the “in itself” (en-soi) which is the being/objectness. 

 

For Sartre the being-in-the-world of consciousness and the being-”in itself” of the world lead to the body being an object of consciousness while for MP consciousness of the world comes embodied  therefore it as an embodied consciousness.  The chalk is an object for MP so far is it is not a part of the body but is not purely an object of consciousness.  For MP we are being “in itself” (consciousness) and being-for-it-self (object) simultaneously, for Sartre this means you’d be God.

Chalk as an object of our consciousness is experienced/perceived/lived as part of the past as well as the future.  The chalk exists in the past as retention and in future as protention and now as intentionality.  As we move into the future, the past and the future intervoven in the present.  

 

The Network of experience does not shape who we are but is who we are and who we will be for example five

years from now is part of the web of who we are now, the futurity / horizon of experience. 

Our participation in the world is not governed by parts or elements of experience. 

 

 

New Material

 

Phenomenology of Perception

 

Freedom

 

“Man is but a network of relationships, and these alone matter to him” Antoine de Saint Exupery, War Time Pilot

 

Note: A more accurate translation would be “Knot of relationship.”

 

 

Freedom defined:

 

For MP we are born of the world and into the world at the same time.

 

Au monde: into/in the world. Belonging, lived in the world/of the world.

 

Du monde: from/out of the world

 

As we are born into the world the world is born into us.

 

The double directionality is part of MP’s notion of intentionality

 

The world speaks at us as much as much as our directedness in the world.  We belong to the world as much as the world belongs to us.

 

Our consciousness is bidirectional.

 

Freedom is connected to this idea.

 

The world is constituted already, for example walking into a room and not thinking about the state of the room.  In that sense the room acts up upon us, yet the room in never completely constituted so in another sense there are infinite possibilities.  We exist in both ways at once. 

 

Since we are born into a world that is constituted while simultaneously there is sharing between situation and freedom.  Things are never purely your fault or the situation. 

 

Note: Freedom has been treated as a binary pair like Descartes treated the soul and body. 

 

We are neither bare consciousness (brute being) nor thing therefore we are both. 

 

Freedom is ambiguous.

 

Since we are relations any notion of freedom is between people.

 

Freedom/Politics/Ambiguity

 

 

Revolution

 

There are elements from the pre-established harmony in contact with rebels working together in ambiguity.

 

Expression:  The ambiguity of experience is expressivivity, not what I express or it, but to both at the same time.

 

Running Themes: Intentionality, Ambiguity and Expression. 

 

 

Signs

 

We are condemned to meaning as opposed to Sartre’s idea of being condemned to freedom.  

 

Phenomenology of language: Signs

 

Husserl’s idea of an eidetic language and universal grammar

 

The idea is that you can take everyday languages and come up with a formulation a universal grammar and eidetic language. 

The phenomenology of language is a return to the speaking subject and the language I am speaking.  The speaking subject has a style of speaking and there is dialectic between the subject and what is spoken by the subject. 

 

The fecundity of expression is not the subject, constitutes or depersonalized subject.  Speaking involves the fecundity of expression.          

 

Language regains its unity not at a transcendental level but in the community. 

 

The Diachronic and Synchronic are views used by Saussure who stated that one needs Diachronic to view Synchronic.  The Diachronic view of history meaning a focus on the changes over time and Synchronic meaning a view of things at a point which then can be compared to other points.  Neither one has priority.  They work together and any account of language accepts the double task.  It is other than the living language we experience, there is a dialect between the two.  We need the speaking speech and the spoken speech.       

 

As signifying the whole we don’t see categorical structures.

 

{MP looked at Synchronic view of speech and the Diachronic view of language?}

 

Subject enveloping object.