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[Xmca-l] Re: Exploring this notion of *thirds*


I just finished reading all of the Sorbonne Lectures, in which
Merleau-Ponty tries hard to synthesize Freud and De Beauvoir, Lacan and
Margaret Mead. M-P has a big problem, and it's certainly part of the
"man"-ologue thread (and so is this very posting, being in itself a
brazenly unself-conscious example of a man-to-man-o-log!).

On the one hand, M-P very much agrees with De Beauvoir's criticisms of
Freud--and on the other he thinks that Freud is the key to the synthesis of
Marxism and psychoanalysis that he wants to teach his students. On the one
hand, he very much agrees with Margaret Mead's (and Malinowski's) critique
of the gender-centric and ethnocentric notion of a universal Oedipus
Complex, and on the other hand he DOES think that Oedipus is universal and
that women, in particular, have it bad. With some help from Politzer,
he rephrases the complex as "ambivalence" but it's obviously ambivalence
about being penisless and about wanting your father's baby and all that
other prurient nonsense. (His treatment of Du Bois and Kardiner is
similar--he ignores Du Bois, fawns on Kardiner, and completely ignores the
latter's insufferable racist arrogance!)

Of course, there's a ready answer to all this ambivalence right at hand,
and you would think he would be very open to it. M-P might not have had
much access to Vygotsky (according to Meccaci, Piaget ensured that
Vygotsky's major works were not published in French until well after his
death, and one of the exciting things about the work of the French
Vygotskyans is that they are quite NEW). But M-P did have access to Wallon,
and of course he read the Gestalists and he cites Goldstein, Koffka, Kohler
and Wertheimer all the time.

Mostly critically though. It is partly HIS ambivalence--he simply cannot
let go of his father figure Freud and embrace the "figure-ground" of
Gestalt. On the one hand, he complains that Gestalt treats the "totality"
as a "thing" and not a "consciousness" (p. 330). This was Husserl's
criticism of Gestalt too. On the other hand, he admits that "Gestalt theory
is a psychology where everything has a sense."  Can we have sense without
sensibility, without consciousness?

David Kellogg
Macquarie University

,  (but he DOES think that women have it bad)

On Fri, Apr 22, 2016 at 12:29 AM, Lplarry <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:

>  I wanted to explore a question posed by Merleau-Ponty that focuses on
> Gestalt Psychology as M-P appropriated this German psychology.
> Collaboration and cooperation and motivation (to care and show concern) are
> involved but the focus of attention shifts towards a *third* dimension
> beyond subject and object ways of knowing.
> M-P when exploring gestalts used the terms *form* and *structure* as
> synonyms and these terms are pointing towards this *same* third dimension.
> Gestalt has been discussed as central also to Vygotsky so there is overlap.
> M-P’s focus of attention indicates that everything depends on whether and
> how it is possible to think a whole that resists analysis. Form is not
> reducible (abstracting) to it’s parts, but neither is form anything *other*
> than it’s parts.
> How then are we to understand this relation of the totality to it’s parts?
> What status must we give totality?
> This question, M-P says,
> “ is at the center of this course on the idea of Nature *and maybe the
> whole of philosophy*”
> Merleau-Ponty was exploring this third dimension which was leading towards
> notions of a *mileau* (place) which is common to both – philosophy and the
> positive sciences -.
> This place as a third dimension *opens up* (this side of subjectivity and
> objectivity) (this side of our autonomy and dependence) a place wherein
> these phenomena no longer contradict one another.
> Not sure if others find this theme of a third dimension (which can be
> perceived as mileau) which emerges from M-P’s appropriation of gestalt
> psychology as a door which opens into a *new* dimension is relevant.
> This mileau that is resistant to analysis into abstracted reductions but
> also is no thing that transcends these parts.
> Merleau Ponty finds “ intelligibility” in this “nascent” mileau within
> which collaboration and cooperation and motivation for care all occur.
> This third dimension.
> I realize this is a contra/verse/ able question but is one perspective on
> this theme.
> Sent from my Windows 10 phone