Gay on Merleau-Ponty



The Phenomenology of Speaking


Social phenomena

--"objective ("in itself") and subjective ("in us")"  (p.328)

--science of linguistics only treats speaking as "object, as a thing"

--Husserl for "... rediscovery of the subject in the act of speaking"

--subjective side is "compatible with and necessary for" linguistics


Thought occurs "within a world already spoken and speaking" (p.329)


"Body ... is expression" (intentionality)

--"perception is already expression"

--postures and perceptions are expressive because they are"gestural"

       --"show and depict"

       --directive and selective

--Merleau-Ponty cites understanding of sexual gestures

--gesture unites objectivity and subjectivity (p.330)

       --"clinched first .... is anger"

--verbal gesture "merely changes its forms, not its intention"



The Science of Linguistics


Merleau-Ponty's distinction (p.332)

    --synchronnic linguistics of speech

    --diachronic lingusitics of language


Merleau-Ponty claims subjective ""envelopes the 'objective'"


Speaking and the synchronic/diachronic antinomy (p.334)

    --language, not speaking, is immutable in present

    --change as acausal because free

--"no locus" because from "freedom of the speaking subject"

--phenomenology of speaking for "synchronic mutability"


Primacy of the subjective

    --without it, only ""chaos of sonorous sings""

--"underlying the structural character ... is its psychological foundations"


Language and history (p.333)

--"existing systems, whether linguistic or even political, decline"

--"no a priori telos" in Merleau-Ponty's philosophy of history


Ambiguity and Methodological Pluralism


"Not only language but also life is non-univocal" (p.336)

    --"Polyvalence permeates all phenomena"

--"inherent ambiguity of life necessitates methodological pluralism"


One method cannot subsume others; they are dialectical (p.337)

    --"principle of indeterminacy"

    --in existence, not just observation and probabalism

    --"unavoidable range of ambiguity"