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[Xmca-l] Re: Fwd: Peirce's Approach to Pluralism and System



Thanks very much for that extended discussion of constitution and
institution, Larry. Unfortunately, I am not as versed as you or Alfredo in
phenomenology so I can only keep asking my xmca101-style questions.

I have the *Phenomenology of Perception*, but not those lectures you refer
to which I gather are titled *Institution and Passivity.  *I also
downloaded the Maclaren article which I have read through, but remain stuck
back near the starting gate.

I can see several ideas that I recognize and perhaps appreciate to a small
extent. The idea of entre-deux is strongly reminiscent of Vygotsky's
comment at the end of the *Thinking and Speech:*

“In consciousness, the word is what *–– *in Feuerbach’s words *–– *is
absolutely impossible for one person but possible for two. The word is the
most direct manifestation of the historical nature of human consciousness”
(Coll. Works, Vol. 1, p. 285).


I still have not put my mind around connecting this thought with the
thought quoted by Alfredo:

"Consciousness arises out of life and forms only one of its features. But
once awakened, thought itself defines life. Or more accurately, a thinking
life defines itself through consciousness" (Vygotsky, 1993, p. 237).

In trying to understand your, M-P's, and Maclearen's ideas I struggle with
the definition (theory) of constitution which it seems I have to understand
well in order to understand how the term institution is being used.

You and Maclearen spend more time talking about institution and I am
getting hung up on what is mean there.  I gather what is being critiqued is
a notion of constitution that has an individual agent making something up.
This is what I take away from

A focus for M-P in all his work is a critique of the philosophy of
consciousness with it's central theme of a constituting subject and the
language of constitution to express **coming to be**. In his earlier work
he is still using the same term **constituting** to express these two
distinct meanings. The intellectualist notion of coming to be AND also
using **constitution** when  speaking of a new way of coming to perceive a
perceptual object.


My own history of experience of the word constitution does not have the
strong "intellectualist bias" of assuming a constituting subject. Rather,
it seems closer to this definition cadged from the OED:


The way in which anything is constituted or made up; the arrangement or
combination of its parts or elements, as determining its nature and
character; make, frame, composition. *constitution of nature*, *constitution
of the world*, *constitution of the universe*, *constitution of things* (the
actual existing order); so *constitution of society*, etc.

In this sort of definition, there is no claim about a constituting subject.
Rather, it seems compatible, at least, with Maclearen's account when she
writes:



This account of emotion proposes itself as a refutation of a philosophy of
consciousness and the idea of a constituting subject.  *For the emotional
institutions that are realized in our lives constitute us as much as or
more than we constitute them;*


I have not been able to figure out what it means when Maclearen writes
that *the
dialectic that these institutions undergo *is a process driven not by
self-reflection and the subject’s unilateral constitution of meaning, but
by contingency, repetition, and the indeterminate but fundamental question
that our being in the world with others both poses and secretly,
implicitly, ambiguously strives to work out.


I'll try to resolve these questions so that I can link up more effectively
with a lot in your message and the discussion of the centrality of events
along with Alfredo's invocation of

Politzer that I have long thought important. Any help you can offer with
respect to constituting gratefully accepted.


mike



On Thu, Aug 25, 2016 at 2:14 PM, <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:

> Mike,
>
> The question:
>
> What is Merleau-Panty's notion of institution versus constitution?
>
> My answer will go through Kym Maclaren and how she developed an answer to
> this question.
>
> Kym Maclaren wrote a paper *The Entre-Deux of Emotions: Emotions As
> Institutions (available at academia.edu) that explores the way M-P in his
> book (The Phenomenology of Perception) used the term **constitution** to
> mean two different things ( two different meanings or relational notions).
> As his philosophy developed he came to distinguish the meaning of *
> *constitution** from the meaning of **institution**. He elaborated this
> distinction in his lecture course on **institution**. (referred to as the
> **Institution Lectures**.
>
> Kym takes the meaning of institution developed in these lectures and turns
> back to the Phenomenology to show how M-P was at this earlier period using
> the same term  **constitution** with two distinct meanings. He had not
> yet found the vocabulary to make a clear distinction between constitution
> and institution.
>
> I believe this distinction may be relevant in the coming conversation on
> the meaning of perezhevanie.
>
>
>
> Kym and M-P are moving away  from a focus on either consciousness as
> primary or of the objective world as primary to refocus on the *
> *entre-deux** (the in-between) as primary. This shift of focus where NOT
> a subject, but events, endow experience with **durable** or *
> *crystallized** or **instituted** forms of meaning in relation to which
> (as themes) a whole series of other experiences will make sense (will form
> a thinkable sequel (a history).
>
> This institution is the creative endowment of meaningful dimensions that
> provide frameworks for further sense-making and this  movement allows new
> perceptual objects to emerge/arise within experience. It is this creative
> movement M-P comes to call institution in his later Institution Lectures.
>
>
>
> The question then becomes:
>
>
>
> How do events do this work of instituting? Kym says M-P’s lectures on
> institution explicitly and clearly express the subterranean logic of
> institution at work in events. This logic is subterranean because it
> operates outside the knowledge & intentions of the subject.
>
>
>
> When institution occurs -when a new dimension of meaning (that sets the
> terms) for future development occurs – we can then and only then see *
> *retrospectively** how the past anticipated the future, anticipated this
> development, and answered the question posed by the past. When the question
> is posed the answer’s meaning is only potential, in the realm of the
> not-yet but could-be.
>
> What is central is that this perspective is **accessible** only from the
> standpoint of the new institution. – only retrospectively.. The past did
> not contain it's own answer. The answer **exceeds** the past, transforms
> the very terms with which the past functioned and this answer could never
> have been predicted or forseen – from THAT past. (even though it answers to
> THAT past).
>
> In other words, it is only retrospectively that it is even clear what we
> were asking (what question was being posed).
>
>
>
> In exchange for what we had imagined, life gives us something else (that
> M-P says was secretly wanted and subterranean). REALIZATION is not what was
> forseen, but all the same, was wanted or desired.
>
>
>
> THIS IS THE PLACE TO PAUSE AND STOP READING AS THE OPENING ANSWER TO
> MIKE’S QUESTION. Institution goes through events, not subjects or objects.
> To read  on is my attempt to summarize Kym’s way of developing the notion
> of emotion as institution. I believe her approach has merit but I may be
> saying more than was asked.
>
>
>
>
>
> In Kym’s paper she 1st turns to two other forms of institution (artistic
> expression) and (perception) in order to show concretely  how the logic of
> institution is distinct from the logic of constitution. I will not get to
> these concrete examples but will introduce the topic.
>
>
>
> Kym  shows how this logic is already at work in the Phenomenology as a
> central theme. However, at this earlier point he referred to both logics as
>  constituting logic. It is his quest to clarify these two distinct meanings
> of constitution  that are worked out in the Institution lectures and
> institution is given its own vocabulary as distinct from the vocabulary of
> constitution
>
>
>
> I will give an outline of the points Kym Maclaren develops in her
> reflections on emotion as institution that critiques  emotion as
> constitution:
>
> The notion of institution is the way in which M-P seeks to criticize
> intellectualism with it's idea of a constituting subject and offer an
> alternative account of subjectiv/ity that may be a resource for
> understanding perezhivanie and **ity**.
>
> Kym is asking us to think about emotion as institution. Emotional
> transformation on this institutional account needs to be understood as
> coming from **beyond** the subject, rather than being the result of the
> subject’s own autonomous powers..
>
>
>
> For the constituting subject the meaning of its object comes into being on
> the basis of the subject’s own powers. The object is only a reflection of
> the powers and acts of that autonomous consciousness.
>
>
>
> In the place of this notion of  a constituting subject M-P argues for a
> conception of a subject who animates him/her self with another meaning and
> this other meaning coming into form as transcendent meaning transforms the
> person who  comes to dwell within this meaning.
>
> To dwell within the person’s **I think** and in his/her body is analogous
> to the way  meaning dwells in a book or dwells in a cultural object.
>
> M-P is positing **meaningful cores** (themes?)  that transcend and
> transfigure the persons natural powers and becoming powers of institution.
> These meaningful cores outstrip or overflow or **exceed** the subject and
> the subject is (caught up in) (dispossessed) or (exposed) by these
> transcendent meanings (beyond the self itself)
>
> However what is central, is that as this is occurring, the person is also
> taking up or resuming those transcendent meanings that help **realize**
> new ways of making sense of the world and others.
>
>
>
> A focus for M-P in all his work is a crtique of the philosophy of
> consciousness with it's central theme of a constituting subject and the
> language of constitution to express **coming to be**. In his earlier work
> he is still using the same term **constituting** to express these two
> distinct meanings. The intellectualist notion of coming to be AND also
> using **constitution** when  speaking of a new way of coming to perceive
> a perceptual object.
>
> In the Institutional Lectures M-P develops a new language to speak of the
> coming to be of the institution of new meanings.
>
> Institutions occur within both public history & personal/intersubjective
> history as two sides of the same coin. Kym stays within the
> personal/intersubjective side in her paper and limits her reflections to
> the personal/intersubjective.
>
>
>
> There is a similar logic of institution at work in aesthetic expression,
> in perception, and in emotion as ways of creative expression.
>
> Institutions are those transformative moments in our lives when a new
> configuration of meaning and a new form of agency is developing. M-P is
> exploring  the **subterranean** movement of this logic of institution.
>
> Key terms for M-P are **expression** and **perception** which involve not
> the constitution of a meaning by a subject but rather the institution of a *
> *form** in the **in-between** of embodied being and environment.
>
> The institution of a form simultaneously transforms the situation and the
> embodied being rather than the form being simply constituted by that being.
>
> Kym Maclaren shows that the commonly held belief that an emotional subject
> is constituting others and situations in terms of the subjects own
> conscious emotions is suspect.
>
> In contrast Kym argues the emotional situation comes to be in the *
> *in-between** (entre-deux) and is not the result of the subject’s own
> projection.
>
>
>
> An inherent feature of institution of forms is there own overcoming.  So
> emotional institution of new emotions are transformations forming new
> emotions in response to the older crystallized emotions.
>
> Therefore the development of one’s emotional life is not primarily the
> result of an autonomous subject’s reflections and constitutions. Emotional
> institution rather emerges out of the subterranean logic worked out in the
> repetition and reiteration of the tension experienced within **old**
> institutions. The back and forth to earlier forms and emerging
> forms..Emotional transformation comes largely from beyond the subject, the
> situation of the event facilitating the subject to develop her
> subjectiv/ITY rather than being the result of her own autonomous
> constituting powers.
>
> M-P speaks of a subject investing and animating subjectiv/ity with another
> meaning that transforms the subject and which is transcendent to this
> person’s  current subjectivi/ity. (i.e. Succeeds in making a meaning which
> dwells in her **I Think** and in her body as a meaning dwells in a book
> and a meaning dwells in a cultural object.
>
>
>
> In the Institution Lectures M-P develops a language that better emphasizes
> and clarifies the **passivity** of the subject and the ways in which the
> meaning that the subject realizes always **exceeds** the embodied subject.
>
> M-P is contrasting the inseparability of the instituting and instituted
> subject and contrasts this subject with the constituting subject. M-P by
> the time of the institution lectures has developed a systematic language
> for making the distinction between constitution and institution. The
> institution of the subject is the **coming to be** of a new form of
> subjectivity in the way we can talk of new forms **coming to be** such
> as  (new perception, new emotion, new aesthetic expression, new object)
> that are becoming crystallized.
>
>
>
> In M-P’s earlier work (the Phenomenology of Perception) he is still
> conceiving the two ways of understanding the **emergence of meaning** as
> constitution. Institution remains more an operative concept as institution
> has not yet acquired  a central core  univocal voice (not yet a thematic
> voice in terms of which other concepts are measured).  With the benefit of
> the Institution Lectures in hand, Kym Maclaren is able to go back to the
> Phenomenology of Perception book to show the logic of institution at work
> in this earlier book.
>
>
>
> To repeat: The constituting subject is the subject of (and conceived by)
> intellectualism who constitutes objects.
>
> In the Phenomenology book M-P is arguing for a different kind of *
> *constitution** which in later works he refers to as **institution**
> because the sense of meaning achieved is not given by consciousness. The
> meaning **comes to be** in the embodied exchange between a
> self-in-the-making & an object-in-the-making. The coming-to-be of the
> subject is inseparable from the coming-to-be of the object.
>
>
>
> We are moving away from a focus on consciousness as primary or of the
> objective world as primary to a focus on the **in-between** (the
> entre-deux) as primary.
>
>
>
> Not a subject but **events** endow experience with durable dimensions in
> relation to which a whole series of other experiences will make sense.
>
>
>
> To repeat institution is:
>
> This endowment of a meaningful dimension that provides a framework for
> further sense-making and this allows new perceptual objects to emerge **within
> experience** is what in M-P’s later works he come to call **institution**
>
>
>
> The logic of institution is subterranean as events do this work of
> instituting meanings  unforseen (repeat unforseen) by the subject involved
> because this logic operates outside the knowledge and intentions of that
> subject.
>
> When institution occurs – when a new dimension of meaning that sets the
> terms for future developments occurs – we can see **retrospectively** how
> the past **anticipated** this development, how this development responded
> to the past and **answered a question** posed by this past.
>
>
>
> An interesting note is where M-P places **errors** and **failures**. In
> exchange for what we imagined life gives us something else that was
> secretly wanted. Such realization (or epiphany) comes about through errors
> and failures. By means of a kind of blind groping on the part of a living
> subject, the subject is diverted through various impasses arrived at
> through various investigations. And it is only retrospectively (once again)
> that these inquiries REVEAL their common **theme**
>
>
>
> Somehow, and this is the marvel of institution – all these errors and
> failures open up a space for a new realization, a new meaning. Errors open
> up a new space for a new realization can be put another way:
>
> Caught up in old crystallized institutions, we respond to the problems
> that present themselves by **repeating** in varios ways, those old ways
> of making sense. These repetitions disclose their own inadequacies, thereby
> opening up a space where something else, something new, something
> unknowingly awaited can announce itself.
>
>
>
> The event is that moment in which the openess that constitutes seeking
> without ever really knowing what the question is, something contingent
> arises as an occurence or an event ushering in a new way of life, a new way
> of seeing, a new configuration of meaning, a new institution.
>
>
>
> Thus, any particular institution tends or inclines (with the help of
> contingent happenings) towards the institutions own overcoming. Though an
> expression of the past, institution is inherently anticipating the future,
> which cannot be grasped except retrospectively.
>
>
>
> I will STOP here. Kym in her paper turns to concrete examples of human
> experiences to elaborate the notion of institution within artistic
> expression and perception. This in preparation for an understanding of
> emotion that follows this same logic of institution.
>
> I will just add that a logic of Eros can be explored through a logic of
> institution.
>
> To explore the somethings we love that becomes instituted in our deepest
> meanings.
>
>
>
> This proceeding  extended think aloud also can be intertwined with Dewey’s
> (having an experience). What I have left unsaid is the relation of
> institution to perezhivanie. M-P may have something to contribute to that
> notion that is now coming into form
>
> To be continued ....
>
> The question of constitution versus institution is a topic for conversation
>
>
>
> Sent from my Windows 10 phone
>
>
>
> *From: *mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu>
> *Sent: *August 24, 2016 5:29 PM
> *To: *eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
> *Subject: *[Xmca-l] Fwd: Peirce's Approach to Pluralism and System
>
>
>
> What is MP's idea of institution versus constitution, Larry?
>
> Mike
>
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
>
> From: <lpscholar2@gmail.com>
>
> Date: Wednesday, 24 August 2016
>
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Peirce's Approach to Pluralism and System
>
> To: eXtended Activity <xmca@potpourri.ucsd.edu>
>
>
>
>
>
> This is an extension to the engagement with Rein Raud and the mention of
>
> various ways to approach identity, subjectivity, selfhood, and personhood.
>
> >From that conversation, one of the sources to consider (but not the
>
> preferred choice) was Vincent Colapietro’s book *Peirce’s Theory of the
>
> self: A Semiotic Perspective on Human Subjectivity*
>
>
>
> Vincent Colapietro draws attention to the *ambiguity* and tension in
>
> Peirce’s desire to be BOTH scientific and systematic. Dispositions that are
>
> out of step with many current ways of philosophizing.
>
>
>
> Peirce in correspondence with James confessed:
>
> Pluralism does not satisfy either my head or my heart.
>
> Yet in another letter to James he acknowledged his debt to Schelling
> noting:
>
> One thing I admire about him (Schelling) is his freedom from the trammels
>
> of system, and his holding himself UNCOMMITTED to any previous utterance.
>
> In that, he is like a scientific man.
>
>
>
> Vincent notices it is all too easy for those who have studied intensively
>
> the writings of Peirce to get so  caught up in his *system* that they come
>
> to see it as a PLACE TO DWELL rather than a point from which to proceed.
>
>
>
> I share this as an expression (a creative expression) of the way the places
>
> where we dwell *institute* us. These ambiguous places from which we move
>
> back and forth (repetition) in order to DEVELOP our self, subjectivity,
>
> identity, personhood.
>
> This circles back to perizhevanie, ity, and I will add Merleau Ponty’s
>
> notion of *institution* (in contrast to constituting).
>
> The relation of subjectivity and objectivity and the (in between)
>
>
>
> This is the limit for a single post. I send this in anticipation of the
>
> next theme emerging - perezhivanie
>
>
>
>
>
> Sent from my Windows 10 phone
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> --
>
>
>
> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with an object
>
> that creates history. Ernst Boesch
>
>
>



-- 

It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with an object
that creates history. Ernst Boesch