The Truth in Mimesis: Phenomenological Transformation in Gadamer, Heidegger, Irigaray

Dissertation, The University of Memphis (1999)
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The dissertation argues against the understanding of mimesis as imitation that is derived from the Platonic tradition. I contend that there is another sense to the concept of mimesis that is phenomenological, and which functions as the ontologically prior grounding for imitation. Drawing upon the poetic tradition of archaic Greece, we find a sense of mimesis as enactment, rather than as mere copy of an original. With this other sense in mind, I make the claim that mimesis should be conceived within the thematic of truth as unconcealedness, and not correctness. To develop this phenomenological conception of mimesis, I turn to an investigation of Gadamer's analysis of play, Heidegger's account of the truth of the work of art, and Irigaray's description of disruptive mimicry. The dissertation shows that a new concept of mimesis, freed from the copy/original hierarchy, has important repercussions for the phenomenological tradition and feminist theory. When art is understood in relation to truth, mimesis serves as a challenge to the metaphysics of presence



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Maria Cimitile
Grand Valley State University

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