In Spite of Plato: A Feminist Rewriting of Ancient Philosophy

Routledge (1995)
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Abstract

This pathbreaking work pursues two interwoven themes. Firstly, it engages in a deconstruction of Ancient philosopher's texts--mainly from Plato, but also from Homer and Parmenides--in order to free four Greek female figures from the patriarchal discourse which for centuries had imprisoned them in a particular role. Secondly, it attempts to construct a symbolic female order, reinterpreting these figures from a new perspective. Building on the theory of sexual difference, Cavarero shows that death is the central category on which the whole edifice of traditional philosophy is based. By contrast, the category of birth provides the thread with which new concepts of feminist criticism can be woven together to establish a fresh way of thinking. Cavarero develops a philosophical narrative which, by re-interpreting each of the four figures of ancient thought, uncovers several images of the female desire for self-representation. Plato himself had not forseen that one day female subjectivity would assert its autonomy, plundering and throwing into confusion the patriarchal text in order to tell another story.

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