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Sartre's lifelong companion Simone de Beauvoir, who had a great influence upon Sartre, especially upon his later socially oriented work, wrote the famous early feminist work The Second Sex , which described the historical and existential situation of women. According to de Beauvoir, women continue to be defined within a masculine worldview, which assumes an "eternal feminine," an unchanging biological destiny, and a feminine "essence.

Becoming Two: This Existence Which Is Not One | SpringerLink

De Beauvoir insisted that femaleness is a social construct: "One is not born but rather becomes a woman. Camus, like Sartre, de Beauvoir, and Merleau-Ponty, one of the famous representatives of the post-war existentialist movement in France, is known for his notion of the "absurd" as expressed in his poetic writings such as The Plague According to Camus, the absurdity of existence provokes the question of the meaning of life and the act of suicide as "the only truly serious philosophical problem" Le mythe de Sisyphe, ; The Myth of Sisyphus, p.

Jaspers — , similar to the early Heidegger, saw the historically situated freedom of the individual within certain "boundary situations" such as guilt, suffering, anxiety, and death. Does Dasein Have a Sex? Derrida on Heideggers Geschlecht. A Difference of Air Irigaray with Heidegger.

2. Early Writings: 1872–1876

Touched by Thought? Dionysius would then go to take these bits and pieces of philosophical language and record them in a book, which he attempted to pass off as representing his own original philosophy b Such an undertaking is by nature, Plato claims, wrong headed; for it assumes that philosophical knowledge is information, like mathematical formulae, or names and dates, or observational data, which can be written down and repeated, and in that repetition there is a confirmation of its truth value.

No matter how many times you count the number of stones, two plus two is four. Astronomy as an empirical science depends on the same observations being able to be made again and again. The more times these statements can be said and received as true, the stronger their correspondence value. Statement and meaning coincide and are confirmed in the world.

Laws are propounded, things defined, types delimited, genders and genres established. You can write these things in a book and pick that book up in a different time and place and they will be, or at least they will purport to be, the very same things. Miller b. It is closer to the truth of psychoanalysis or to the reading of a poem than to physics: a moment of interpretive insight contingent upon a particular set of events and associations.

It is not the case, of course, that these flashes of light do not transcend their immediate context, that they do not illuminate what surrounds them, but they are never universalizable as such, and when they are decontextualized and reduced to formulas in the here and now, they become oppressive, they become the Law, and their very transcendental quality becomes a finite and enforceable typology.

Philosophy is something far more powerful, far more destabilizing, and far more queer.

The Feminine and Nihilism: Luce Irigaray with Nietzsche and Heidegger

It is an act of truth that cannot be reduced to its referent. What is the real of philosophy? I believe that this question concerning the real of philosophy does not consist in asking what is the real for philosophy. It does not consist in asking to what referent or references philosophy does refer.

This question does not consist in asking what is the real to which philosophy refers, which it confronts? It does not consist in asking how you can measure if philosophy is true or false. To pose the question of the real of philosophy, as I believe the Seventh Letter does, is to ask what is, in its very reality, this very particular and singular will to speak the truth, this activity of speaking the truth, this act of veridiction—which is perfectly able to be mistaken and to speak falsely—that calls itself philosophy. This question, I think, is the following: how, in what fashion, in what mode does the truth-telling of philosophy, this strange form of veridiction, inscribe itself into the real?

It is not just a series of true or false statements, nor a series of rules to determine which statements are true or false, but a manner of being, a practice, an askesis 9. The philosopher in this complex and sometimes tense relationship is one whose logos is also an ergon. This is what separates philosophy from other discourses that aspire to be true—mathematics, natural science, various forms of practical didaxis—as well as from those that simply seek to persuade, rhetoric Foucault Philosophy is both the work of truth and the work of producing a self capable of speaking that truth Gros Such a vision is not a retreat from politics but a fundamental rethinking of what it means for the philosopher to engage the political.

We can then make propositions about that phenomenon. But while certain forms of empirical research would stop there, and might even deduce certain consequences from that, i. It involves a continuous running up and down of these categories, rubbing them against one another finding the friction points between them e. In the same manner, Socrates in the elenchus continuously seeks agreement with his interlocutor about a given proposition and then tests that proposition against a variety of cases, generalizations, and counterexamples, often leaving his interlocutors not in the possession of firm knowledge, from which they can deduce positive prescriptions concerning the nature of things or the organization of social life, but in a state of perplexity or aporia , as the solid links between names, arguments, and perception become frayed, and a moment of what belies any contingent epistemic reality becomes visible Hadot , ; Nehamas ; Blondell , ; compare Sophist a-d.

To return to our example, then, the reality of woman, which seemed to inhere in both the name itself and the propositions in which it appeared and to be confirmed by personal perception and the social imaginary suddenly seems to float free of those constraints. But by rubbing tribomena each of these things together against one another with exertion—names and arguments, observations and perceptions—by testing them in good faith and by using questions and answers without rancor or envy, reflection and intellect shine forth, extending to the limits of human potential.

The recollection here of the earlier image of the light of understanding blazing forth is clearly deliberate. Such vision of philosophical activity is the opposite of Dionysius compiling a set of propositions heard here and there and presenting them as though they were the object of philosophy.

Rather the mission of philosophy is to disrupt such certitudes. But then, what is philosophy today—philosophical activity, I mean—if it is not the critical work that thought brings to bear on itself? In what does it consist, if not in the endeavor to know how and to what extent it might be possible to think differently, instead of legitimating what is already known.

The Feminine and Nihilism Luce Irigaray with Nietzsche and Heidegger

That truth is not a set of infinitely repeatable propositions, but rather the result of a continuous labor, a continuous friction, a patient work in the archive that carefully, over time, destabilizes our most fundamental epistemic realities and thereby offers the possibility to remake even our most fundamental certainties and to expand the realm of the possible. He spoke of these ancient philosophers who, like the Platonists traced their lineage to Socrates, but who refused to accumulate a body of doctrine, who lived their lives in the public square, who begged, ate scraps, and masturbated in public.

They were the street corner preachers who confronted us with our conformity, our petty hypocrisies, our dishonesties. Their bodies themselves were a locus of truth and a challenge to complacency.

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Foucault in his penultimate lecture says:. Cynicism was not simply a crude, insolent, and rudimentary reminder of the problem of the philosophic life. It posed a very important question, or rather, it seems to me, it gave its position on the theme of the philosophic life by posing the following question: life, in order truly to be the life of truth, should it not be an other life, radically and paradoxically other?

In the end, what is most authentic is not the infinitely reproducible, but the moment of irreducible insight, of queer intelligibility, which makes possible a form of self-relation and of relation to others that is based on curiosity and care, one which opens new possibilities of self-invention and resistance, new forms of truth.

I had some things to tell you concerning the general framework of these analyses. Annas, Julia. Oxford: Oxford University Press. New York Times March Berger, Harry, Jr. Steven Shankman, ed.

Glenside, PA: Aldine Press. Berry, Philippa. Black, Joel. David H. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Blondell, Ruby. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Blondell, Ruby and Kirk Ormand, eds.


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