Sexual Difference from the Perspective of Merleau-Ponty Silvia

Phainomena 37 (2001)

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This essay argues that despite of the feminist critique of Merleau-Ponty his phenomenology can be positively appropriated to the theory of sexual difference. It focuses on three issues: the first one is closely linked to the Phenomenology of Perception and introduces a concept of "difference as differentiation". The second one is concerned with the intersubjective dimension of sexuality and will be called a "sexual syncretism". Finally, I’m referring to Merleau-Ponty's notion of "chiasm" in his late work The Visible and the Invisible in order to apply it to the theory of sexual difference. At this point, the difference between sexual beings will be conceptualized as "chiasmatic intertwining". In doing so, I hope to show that Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology is a helpful resource for philosophical research that is mainly concerned with the questions of sexuality and sexual difference
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