Merleau-Ponty between Philosophy and Symbolism
The Matrixed Ontology
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Argues that symbolism is an important and unique element of Merleau-Pontys phenomenology.
Merleau-Ponty says in his Institution and Passivity lectures that he wants to consider criticism itself as a symbolic form instead of doing a philosophy of symbolic form. This invites the possibility of an unconventional thought: If critical philosophy is a symbolic form, it cannot disclose its own limits and is, in fact, uncritical. Furthermore, the symbolic form can never itself be thought according to the terms of the criticism it produces but is always only constellated and matrixed within thema symbolic form within both reflection and what it reflects on, within consciousness and the world. Thus, as Rajiv Kaushik argues, the symbolic form is another name for what Merleau-Ponty calls ontological divergence. Only now divergence introduces the question of a limit to both the subject and philosophy itself. This is nothing less than a psychoanalysis of philosophy.
Kaushiks analyses of the matrices between spaceimagination, lightdark, awakeasleep, and repressionexpression reveal this symbolism in its form of divergence, its lack of origin and destination. Kaushik also argues that the phenomenology of symbolism must detour from the purely descriptive method. Drawing from Merleau-Pontys recently published course materials, and attentive to his reliance on literature and literary language, Merleau-Ponty between Philosophy and Symbolism continues the living force of Merleau-Pontys thought and develops his radical insight of the primacy of the symbolic form, even in an ontology that claims to be about the sensible and its elements.
Rajiv Kaushik is Professor of Philosophy at Brock University in Canada. He is the coeditor (with Emmanuel Alloa and Frank Chouraqui) of Merleau-Ponty and Contemporary Philosophy, also published by SUNY Press, and the author of Art, Language and Figure in Merleau-Ponty: Excursions in Hyper-Dialectic and Art and Institution: Aesthetics in the Late Works of Merleau-Ponty