The Inhuman Gaze and Perceptual Gestalts; The making and unmaking of others and worlds.
EditorCummins, F; Jardine, J; Moran, D
Source TitlePerception and the Inhuman Gaze: Perspectives from Philosophy, Phenomenology and the Sciences
PublisherRoutledge - Taylor & Francis
University of Melbourne Author/sDaly, Anya
AffiliationSchool of Historical and Philosophical Studies
CitationsDaly, A. (2020). The Inhuman Gaze and Perceptual Gestalts; The making and unmaking of others and worlds.. Cummins, F (Ed.). Jardine, J (Ed.). Moran, D (Ed.). Perception and the Inhuman Gaze: Perspectives from Philosophy, Phenomenology and the Sciences, Perception and the Inhuman Gaze: Perspectives from Philosophy, Phenomenology and the Sciences., (1st), pp.143-157. Routledge - Taylor & Francis.
Access StatusOpen Access
While on the one hand for Merleau-Ponty, ‘the perception of the other founds morality’; on the other, it is the rationalizing of perception by stripping it of empathic responsiveness, becoming an inhuman gaze, that allows ethical failure. Through his ground-breaking analyses of embodied percipience, Merleau-Ponty offers a powerful critique of the view from nowhere, the objectivist, disembodied, unsituated, purely rationalist view which underwrites all inhuman gazes. Complicating and deepening these analyses, Merleau-Ponty also draws on gestalt theory, elaborating particularly on the roles of perspectivism, wholism and figure-ground structures in the perception of things and of others. It is Merleau-Ponty’s engagement with gestalt theory that informs the key claims of this essay, supported by diverse accounts and analyses of the underlying psychological dimensions and consequences of torture. Specifically, I will argue that while we can theoretically decompose perception in terms of gestalt structures to better understand the mechanisms of perceptual experience in general, we can also understand how it is possible to achieve an inhuman gaze through a rationalizing deconstructive process of perception; rather than ‘making’ others and worlds, these are ‘unmade’ for potentially violent and unethical ends.
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