Research Repository

A passivity prior to passive and active: Merleau-ponty's re-reading of the freudian unconscious and looking at lascaux

Hughes, F (2013) 'A passivity prior to passive and active: Merleau-ponty's re-reading of the freudian unconscious and looking at lascaux.' Mind, 122 (486). 419 - 450. ISSN 0026-4423

Full text not available from this repository.

Abstract

Merleau-Ponty's understanding of 'passivity' is a key to his account of perception. For Merleau-Ponty, perception is the way in which we are involved in the world, and it is on perception that the functions of understanding, reason, and reflection ultimately rest. While in his Phenomenology of Perception it is already clear that passive and active are intertwined, from a series of lectures he gave in 1954-5 we learn that inauguration or 'institution' arises out of a passivity that is not merely an absence of activity. I show how the thoroughly temporal status of the subject as 'instituting' distinguishes it from a certain model of the 'constituting' subject. Next, I argue that, to grasp the sense in which Merleau-Ponty intends 'passivity', we must recognize its mediating or transitional status. Specifically, I examine terms that arise repeatedly in his analysis of the Freudian account of the unconscious - namely, 'pivot' and 'enjambment' - to show how they reveal the peculiar status of a passivity that operates through a dialectic focused on its transitional terms rather than on opposing poles. Finally, I suggest the exchange between passivity and institution that Merleau-Ponty has in mind can be illuminated through consideration of late Palaeolithic cave paintings, where the rock itself seems to begin an expression that the artist completes. © 2013 Hughes 2013.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Philosophy and Art History, School of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2013 10:05
Last Modified: 23 Jan 2019 00:18
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/8046

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item