Home > mcgill, mcgill philosophy workshop, merleau-ponty > Graduate Workshop on Merleau-Ponty @ McGill

Graduate Workshop on Merleau-Ponty @ McGill

September 7, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

McGill Philosophy Workshop Series

Friday, 17 September at 3-5 pm
Leacock 927
Don Beith & Shiloh Whitney

Merleau-Ponty & The Experience of Depth
*Papers to be read at the International Merleau-Ponty Circle, Sept. 23-5, Asheville, N.C.

3:00 pm, Don Beith: “The Earth Does Not Move: Temporal Depth and Passivity in the Body”

Aristotle demonstrates that bodily movement issues between activity and passivity in the joint’s oscillating motors and anchors of jointed movement. The origin of movement does not issue from a spontaneous activity, but from temporal depth, an already meaningful relation between activity and passivity. This movement, for Aristotle, pivots on a deeper passivity, an unmoving ground—the Earth. I take Aristotle’s account of locomotive movement to the meaning-engendering body of Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology. Explaining the habit body as a movement generated between activity and passivity, I argue the body is a kind of temporal depth, and that Merleau-Ponty’s account requires a deeper sense of passivity. In developing this idea I read “The Overthrow of the Copernican Revolution” in order to rethink the foundations of motion and rest, and to assert Husserl’s daring hypothesis that the Earth does not move. Appreciating this claim requires undertaking the very project of Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology, radically rethinking time in terms of the living body.

4:00 pm, Shiloh Whitney: “A New Conception of Intentionality: Pure Depth as Affective Orientation”

Towards the culmination of the Phenomenology of Perception’s chapter on “Space”, Merleau-Ponty directs us to a peculiar experience he identifies as “pure depth”, discovered in the experience of total envelopment in darkness, and described as a wholly pre-objective and even pre-perceptual spatial dimension: “depth without foreground or background, without surfaces and without any distance separating it from me”, a “determining… in general of place, which precedes ‘perception’”. I aim to explain “pure depth” in terms of affective orientation, and thereby to explain its role in this chapter’s project of producing a “new conception of intentionality”. The body-world difference itself will be recast as the sort of difference proper to this affective dimension, definitively distinguishing it from a Sartrean account of intentionality as nihilation.

Friday, 17 September at 3-5 pm
Leacock 927
Snacks will be served

Department of Philosophy | McGill University | Leacock Building
855 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, Quebec
Tel.: (514) 398-6060

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: