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Being Together with the World: On Metaphoric Expression as a Clue to Merleau-Ponty’s Ontology


Being Together with the World: On Metaphoric Expression as a Clue to Merleau-Ponty’s Ontology

Rollans, Kay ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9462-3019 (2017) Being Together with the World: On Metaphoric Expression as a Clue to Merleau-Ponty’s Ontology. [Graduate Projects (Non-thesis)] (Unpublished)

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The guiding question of this study is: What is Merleau-Ponty’s understanding of metaphor? It is widely appreciated that Merleau-Ponty himself never explicitly developed a theory of metaphor. He did, however, engage in a style of writing so tied up with literary style and thick with metaphor. Despite the absence of a distinct theory of metaphor on the part of Merleau-Ponty, the obvious importance of metaphor to his philosophy has motivated others to develop explicit and coherent theories of metaphor out of Merleau-Ponty’s work that offer themselves as responses to philosophical history of metaphor theory.
I look at two interpretations of Merleau-Ponty that take up the topic of metaphor. Donald Landes suggests metaphor’s importance stems from the its being paradigmatic of what he calls the “paradoxical logic of [human] expression.” Renaud Barbaras’s take, on the other hand, is deeply ontological: metaphor is embedded in reality as its structure. Ultimately, I believe that neither of these theories is sufficient to capture the significance of metaphor in Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy—specifically, metaphor as experienced. I argue that what is missed in both of these theories is a careful attention to how, in the experience of metaphor, we feel solicited to speak in certain ways, and that this experience suggests that the activity of metaphorical expression does not exist or operate only on one side of the expressive relation—on the side of being as Barbaras urges, or on the side of the one who speaks, as Landes urges. Rather, metaphor evinces a kind of expression that is not simply about, or even according to, the world—metaphor is a kind of expressing that works together with the world.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Philosophy
Item Type:Graduate Projects (Non-thesis)
Authors:Rollans, Kay
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Date:August 2017
Keywords:Merleau-Ponty, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology, Metaphor, Ontology, Silence, Perception, Expression
ID Code:983051
Deposited By: Katherine Rollans
Deposited On:19 Sep 2017 17:55
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:56
Additional Information:Further Reading: 32. Dastur, Françoise. 2016. Chair et langage : essais sur Merleau-Ponty. Paris: Éditions Les Belles Lettres. 33. Dillon, M. C. 1993. “The Unconscious: Language and World.” In Merleau-Ponty in Contemporary Perspective. Edited by P. Burke and J. Van der Venken, 69-83. Kluwer Academic Publishers. 34. Friskics, Scott. 2001. “Dialogical Relations with Nature.” Environmental Ethics 23, 4: 391-410. 35. Gill, Jerry. 1991. Merleau-Ponty and Metaphor. New Jersey; London: Humanities Press. 36. Johnson, Galen A. 2000. “The Problem of Origins: In the Timber Yard, Under the Sea.” Chiasmi International 2: 249-259. 37. Kaushik, Rajiv. 2013. Art, Language and Figure in Merleau-Ponty: Excursions in Hyper- Dialectic. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. 38. Perri, Trevor. 2013. “Image and Ontology in Merleau-Ponty.” In Continental Philosophy Review 46, 1: 75-97. 39. Schlagel, Richard H. 1962. “Language and Perception.” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 23, 2: 192-204. 40. Sellheim, Berndt. 2010. “Metaphor and Flesh — Poetic Necessity in Merleau-Ponty.” Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 41, 3: 261-273. 41. Toadvine, Ted. 2005. “Limits of the Flesh: The Role of Reflection in David Abram’s Ecophenomenology.” Environmental Ethics 27, 2: 155-170 42. Vogel, Steven. 2006. “The Silence of Nature.” Environmental Values 15, 2: 145-171. 43. Wiskus, Jessica. 2013. The Rhythm of Thought: Art, Literature, and Music after Merleau- Ponty. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 44. Zwicky, Jan. 2012. “What is Ineffable?” International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 26, 2: 197-217. 45. ———. 2011 (1992). Lyric Philosophy. Kentville, Nova Scotia: Gaspereau Press. 46. ———. 2008. Wisdom and Metaphor. Kentville, Nova Scotia: Gaspereau Press.


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