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Title: Généralité du sentir et sentir de l'altérité
Subtitle: Levinas et Merleau-Ponty
Author(s): LORELLE, Paula
Journal: Etudes phénoménologiques - Phenomenological Studies
Volume: 4    Date: 2020   
Pages: 67-90
DOI: 10.2143/EPH.4.0.3286912

Abstract :
'Every perception, writes Merleau-Ponty in the Phenomenology of Perception, takes place in an atmosphere of generality and is presented to us anonymously'. In the first part of this article I examine how this generality arose historically in Merleau-Ponty’s later work and in Levinas’ work. The 'corporeal generality' of the Phenomenology of Perception becomes the general corporeity of the flesh in The Visible and the Invisible, conceived both as a generic and an elemental identity. Levinas uses this elemental meaning of identity to define sensibility as 'enjoyment' (jouissance) in Totality and Infinity. Now, if every perception is the perception of a general identity, how are we to perceive the otherness of the other? In the second part, I examine the possibility of perceiving the other on the basis of Merleau-Ponty’s and Levinas’ conceptions of sensibility. How can otherness be experienced at the level of the generality of the flesh? There is a break that supposes a continuity. In Otherwise than Being, the irruption of the other is only possible at the level of the generality of the flesh. This shows that going beyond the Phenomenology of Perception supposes the very developments this work set into motion.

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