Merleau-Ponty and Literature: In what ways does the ontology of ‘the flesh of the world” marry philosophy and literature? The developing ontology of Merleau-Ponty culminates in the “flesh of the world,” locating humans as interdependent with others and the beings of the world in a becoming as “a participation in and kinship with the visible … two vortexes … the one slightly decentered with respect to the other.” (The Visible and the Invisible, 138). Rather than being a self-subsistent mind, human being is fundamentally shaped in community with the things of the world, other people, cultures, times, creatures, and the natural world. How does this alter the expression of philosophy in relation to literature? If philosophical description needs to express the pre-reflective, felt, imaginal and historical dimension, how is philosophy dependent upon literature and render literature philosophical? If the reversibility of the flesh means our expression is an indirect expression of the “voices of silence” of the gesturing world, how does this make metaphor central to both endeavors and transform the idea of metaphor itself? Lastly, how is the “vertical grasp” of sense, as Merleau-Ponty calls it, change the idea of the relationship of perception, imagination, and expression? keywords: flesh, perceptual depths, indirect expression, reversibility, processual temporality, perceptual imaginal, metaphor, co-naissance, truth as manifestation, co-expression, imagination as ontology.
Merleau-Ponty and literature
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