An Ethics of Sexual Difference

Front Cover
Cornell University Press, 1993 - Health & Fitness - 217 pages
5 Reviews

"Who or what the other is, I never know. But the other who is forever unknowable is the one who differs from me sexually. This feeling of surprise, astonishment, and wonder in the face of the unknowable ought to be returned to its locus: that of sexual difference." Thus Luce Irigaray undertakes a searching inquiry into what may be the philosophical problem of our age.

Irigaray approaches the question of sexual difference by looking at the ways in which thought and language—whether in philosophy, science, or psychoanalysis—are gendered. She juxtaposes evocative readings of classic texts, including Plato's Symposium, Aristotle's Physics, Descartes's "On Wonder" in The Passions of the Soul, Spinoza's Ethics, Merleau-Ponty's The Visible and the Invisible, and Levinas's Totality and Infinity, with meditations on experiences of love: between fetus and mother, between heterosexual lovers, between women, and between women and their own bodies.

Exploding traditional dualities such as inside/outside, form/content, subject/object, and self/other, Irigaray shows how an understanding of such experiences points to gender blindness in both classic and contemporary theory. Asserting that women have never known a love of self out of which a non-dominated love of the other is possible, Irigaray argues that only when women insist on the integrity of their own spaces of embodiment can love become the basis of a revolution in ethics.

Published in French in 1984, An Ethics of Sexual Difference is now available in English in a superb translation by Carolyn Burke and Gillian C. Gill. Readers interested in feminist theory, literary theory, and philosophy—indeed anyone deeply concerned with gender relations—will be challenged by the brilliance and boldness of Irigaray's analyses.

  

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
2
4 stars
1
3 stars
0
2 stars
1
1 star
1

Review: Ethics of Sexual Difference

User Review  - Rachel McCready-Flora - Goodreads

I cannot get past hideous psychoanalysis. Maybe I'll try you again in a few years Irigaray when I have a little more patience. Read full review

Review: Ethics of Sexual Difference

User Review  - Diana - Goodreads

My gender theory hero - thought-provoking (if sometimes frustrating to read) ideas and theories. Her work is the theoretical foundation for all my research. Read full review

Contents

Sexual Difference
5
W 11
52
Love of Self
59
W
97
An Ethics of Sexual Difference
116
W IV
133
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (1993)

Luce Irigaray is Director of Research in Philosophy at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris. A doctor of philosophy, Luce Irigaray is also trained in linguistics, philology, psychology and psychoanalysis. Now acknowledged as a key influential thinker of our times, her work focuses on the culture of two subjects, masculine and feminine - particularly through the liberation of a feminine subjectivity - something she explores in a range of literary forms, from the philosophical to the scientific, the political and the poetic.

Bibliographic information