The psychogenesis of the self and the emergence of ethical relatedness: Klein in light of Merleau-Ponty
Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology
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.
Robbins, Brent Dean and Goicoechea, Jessie, "The psychogenesis of the self and the emergence of ethical relatedness: Klein in light of Merleau-Ponty" (2005). Articles & Book Chapters. 375.