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Collaborative Temporality: Merleau-Ponty and The Phenomenology of Music

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Title: Collaborative Temporality: Merleau-Ponty and The Phenomenology of Music
Author: Elliott, Rachel
Department: Department of Philosophy
Program: Philosophy
Advisor: Russon, John
Abstract: Music seems to illuminate the lived experience of embodiment. Described phenomenologically, musical experience reveals what Maurice Merleau-Ponty in the Phenomenology of Perception calls the habit body. In articulating the habit body’s role in music, it becomes clear that music contains the possibility of expanding the habit body, but also of reinforcing or stabilizing it. I bring this insight to bear on work locating the intractability of oppression in rigid and inhibited habit bodies, perpetrated and undergone respectively. Finally, I show how my habit body account of musical experience significantly enhances our understanding of an important and widely reported feature of musical experience: the sense of empowered belonging. I identify a theoretical shortcoming in accounts that source the ‘we’ experience to being in time together and offer an account of collaborative temporality based in the habit body as remedy. In so doing, I identify what Edmund Husserl calls the openness of protentional expectation as the mode in which collaborative temporality can occur, suggesting that the ‘we’ experience found in music is an aspirational one.
Date: 2018-12
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