A few weeks ago my interest in the French Philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908-1961) suddenly got re-ignited upon finding out that a paper I published in a previous life (THE CONCEPT OF THE ECSTASIS, Journal Of The British Society For Phenomenology, 14(1): 79-90, 1983) actually got listed in the bibliography of Stephen Priest’s MERLEAU-PONTY: THE ARGUMENTS OF THE PHILOSOPHERS.
The sudden explosion of this renewed interest is a bit like the result of throwing a lighted match on a bunch of rags soaked in gasoline. In its heat, I’ve decided to start a new category of blog posts comprising an attempt to gain a deeper, fuller understanding of the topic of that paper. What positions stated in the paper do I still hold? What positions must I mark to market? (<yes I am being ironic>Doubtlessly none — surely my paper is sacred text.</yes I am being ironic>) What can be stated more clearly, argued for more carefully? Doing this kind of thing is what blogs are ideal for:
…you can work around the edges of an idea over days and weeks and months [and years] and really come to understand it. It’s this process that blogging does better than pretty much any other medium.
The topic of my paper is, essentially:
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).
So in the months and years to come I will be re-reading, working through, and blogging on Merleau-Ponty (THE PHENOMENOLOGY OF PERCEPTION, THE VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE, and other works) in order to really come to understand, truly get my head around, get a maximal grasp of this notion of ‘the primacy of the dimension of depth as implied in the notion of being in the world and of one’s own body.’ As part of this effort, I will be re-reading and blogging on George Berkeley’s works as well, which, partly as foil, partly in a kind of concurrence, shed light in an interesting way on Merleau-Ponty.
These efforts will fall under the category ‘Primacy Of The Dimension Of Depth.’
Of course, I am far from having finished the other two main categories I have been working on in this blog, to wit: ‘The Argument That Tagalog Lacks A Subject’ (a thread inspired largely by Paz Buenaventura Naylor’s article), and ‘Material Implication And Information Theory’ (inspired largely by Fred Dretske’s KNOWLEDGE AND THE FLOW OF INFORMATION and by Edwin D. Mares’ RELEVANT LOGIC). I intend to continue working on these threads at the same time that I am re-igniting an old flame, my crush on Merleau-Ponty.
If I bore anyone, tough. You don’t have to read these incoherent/semi-incoherent ramblings. I am writing largely in order to learn, to get as much clarity as I can in my own head regarding these topics.
Of course, it would be nice if someone else were interested in them, and, even better yet, had something useful and interesting to say about them, whether in disagreement or agreement with me.
It would also be nice if Ashton Kutcher gave me a call.
(No post even touching on philosophy would be completed without an homage to Plato’s SYMPOSIUM.) I wonder if Alkibiades was as gorgeous.