Title

The psychogenesis of the self and the emergence of ethical relatedness: Klein in light of Merleau-Ponty

Department

Psychological Sciences

Document Type

Article

Publication Source

Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology

Publication Date

2005-01-01

Volume

25

Issue

2

First Page

191

Last Page

223

Abstract

This paper presents a theory of the emergence of ethical relatedness, which is developed through a synthetic reading of the developmental theories of Melanie Klein and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. Klein's theory of the paranoidschizoid and depressive positions are found to roughly parallel Merleau-Ponty's distinction between the "lived" and the "symbolic." With the additional contributions of Thomas Ogden and Martin C. Dillon, the theories of Klein and Merleau-Ponty are refined to accommodate the insights of each developmental perspective. Implications of the paper's analysis include: Opportunities to clarify key concepts in object relations theory, including projective identification; insight into the development of selfconscious emotions such as shame, guilt, embarrassment and gratitude; the articulation of a phenomenologically oriented object relations perspective which allows for human agency and therefore genuine altruism and compassion; and, finally, a validation of previous assertions that theory cannot and should not be meaningfully distinguished from ethics.

DOI

10.1037/h0091259

https://doi.org/10.1037/h0091259

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