Merleau-Ponty and Time

Trecho de um precis que estou escrevendo.

Merleau-Ponty introduces temporality in the third chapter in the context of Cogito-Temporality-Freedom, this strategy could be interpreted as a response to Sartre’s investigation in L’Être et le néant and Heidegger’s Being and Time. It was mentioned that perhaps Merleau-Ponty was trying to integrate being-in-itself (Sartre) with being-in-the-world (Heidegger) throughout a synthesis of these notions in time. However, this last understanding of Merleau-Ponty advancing a new thesis of integration of subject and world rather than trying to work on Heidegger’s and Sartre’s previous notions seems to go against the structure of the text.
It seems that in The structure of behavior, Merleau-Ponty started investigating lower forms of life and its comportment, the complex notion of βίος is taken on the phenomenology of perception. It is interesting to point that this distinction between lower and higher forms of live that have different metaphysical relevance is taken in consideration already in Aristotle, as he distinguishes in his metaphysics between forms of bare live (ζῷον) and complex live forms (βίος), the ability of thinking (λέγω) is connected to the complex live forms, as well as the dimension of chronology. Now, Aristotle is quick to point that man is zoon echon logon (the animal which reproduces reason in language , or the animal that has speech) and ζῷον πολιτικόν (the political animal, or the animal inserted in the city [as opposed to the field, where the bare forms survive]), we could realize that Aristotle uses the word ζῷον to characterize man, at this point. Giorgio Agamben has advanced here the argument that by stressing the animality of human live, Aristotle only wishes to stress that while we acquire a characteristic that is a disrupture with the bare forms of live, we remain biologically tied to a certain animality – so there is some kind of relevance to the ζῷον in the sphere of βίος; conversely, animals have no access to what is called λόγος. The first point is what Heidegger calls “Boredom” (Langeweile, also translated as ‘Tedium’) , the second “Captivity”(Benommenheit). Merleau-Ponty seems to be taking this metaphysical concern away from this anthropological center, and placing it in the context of Husserl’s Krisis, as we see this assessment of live within the project of a rebuilding of sciences.
All physical beings, to Merleau-Ponty, are in this point still placed in the context of lived bodies. We can notice an advance towards the investigation of truth that will be furthered in The Visible and the Invisible. As he returns to the level of the transcendental aesthetics, we can see how logos will be understood as predicative thought – so in the third chapter Merleau-Ponty turns back to the previous undertakes in Kant in order to go further in his analysis. The basis of a lived body is clarified as the basis of science, as a pre-predicative level in which perception clarifies notions of truth (reason, logos, politics and so on are rooted in the lived body as constitutive).
This seems to follow the context of the Husserlian Passive Synthesis and Krisis, insofar it occupies itself with notions of truth withstanding a phenomenology of the body. The clarification of the body, then, is on the way to the clarification of subjectivity; and Cogito, time and Freedom are the main structures to be clarified. Merleau-Ponty is investigating these topics so he can latter take on the problem of truth and embodied subjectivity. Now, this supposition fits Merleau-Ponty advances, but it remains that he could have dealt with temporality in a more direct and embodied context.

Esta concepção de tempo orgânico, ligado a um nivel corporeo, e outro nivel espacial, está me levando a revisar algumas dos meus estudos. O principal deles: talvez Husserl tenha sido maior que Heidegger.


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