The Problem of Transcendence in Irigaray’s Philosophy of Sexual Difference

Haynes, Patrice (2010) The Problem of Transcendence in Irigaray’s Philosophy of Sexual Difference. In: New Topics in Feminist Philosophy of Religion: Contestations and Transcendence Incarnate. The Feminist Philosophy Collection . Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht, pp. 279-296. ISBN 9781402068324

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In this chapter, I argue that Irigaray’s attempt to articulate transcendence-in-immanence, through her notion of a sensible transcendental, unwittingly leads to a conception of sexed embodiment that cannot properly account for the relation between the two of sexual difference, which is so central to her project. By exploring the metaphysics underpinning Irigaray’s sensible transcendental through an analysis of her novel philosophy of nature, I suggest a way of approaching her idea of “becoming divine” more in terms of Naturphilosophie, rather than Feuerbachian projection by which it is so often considered. However, I contend that Irigaray’s vision of nature’s primordial sexual difference—through which a sensible transcendental can be realized—results in a gulf between male and female subjects such that the two are unable to work towards the mutual recognition necessary for love and social transformation. In response to this problem, and in dialogue with Rowan Williams and Pamela Sue Anderson, I suggest a conception of transcendence in terms of critical thinking, or “thinking in dispossession,” in order to facilitate the work of mutual recognition between embodied subjects.

Item Type: Book Section
Keywords: Sensible transcendental, Transcendence, Nature, Sexual difference
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > Theology, Philosophy and Religion
Depositing User: Susan Murray
Date Deposited: 01 Aug 2013 11:00
Last Modified: 09 Aug 2013 08:39

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