Luce Irigaray's project elaborates an original concept of sexual difference. While this concept is widely discussed in feminist philosophy, there are multiple readings of sexual difference and some of these are contradictory. This essay surveys the various readings of sexual difference in English. Foci include the debate over the status of essentialism, ontology, and the controversy over the primacy of sexual difference, including discussion of whether her oeuvre marginalizes differences of race and sexuality. I conclude by arguing that her thinking (...) of difference is open to the future and non-totalisable in principle. This means that, difference, the concept at the heart of her thinking of sexual difference, cannot be primarily oriented toward engendering sexual difference because it is necessarily open to engendering relations that cannot be predicted. (shrink)
The oblivion of the interval -- Being in place -- The aporia between envelope and things -- Dualism in Bergson -- Interval, sexual difference -- Beyond man: rethinking life and matter -- Conclusion: interval as relation, interval as becoming.
Henri Bergson's philosophy has attracted increasing feminist attention in recent years as a fruitful locus for re-theorizing temporality. Drawing on Luce Irigaray's well-known critical description of metaphysics as phallocentrism, Hill argues that Bergson's deduction of duration is predicated upon the disavowal of a sexed hierarchy. She concludes the article by proposing a way to move beyond Bergson's phallocentrism to articulate duration as a sensible and transcendental difference that articulates a nonhierarchical qualitative relation between the sexes.
Henri Bergson's philosophy presents the relationship between life and matter in both dualistic and monistic terms. Life is duration, a rhythm of incalculable novelty that approaches pure creative activity. In stark contrast, matter is identified with the determinism of homogeneous space. After Time and Free Will, Bergson concedes some share of duration to matter. In this context, his dualism can be understood as a methodological step towards the articulation of a monistic metaphysics of duration. This article suggests that the distinction (...) between life and matter is also motivated by an unconscious imperative to establish a sexed hierarchy. Bergson repeatedly presents life as seminal, while matter is figured in terms of passivity. (shrink)
: Henri Bergson's philosophy has attracted increasing feminist attention in recent years as a fruitful locus for re-theorizing temporality. Drawing on Luce Irigaray's well-known critical description of metaphysics as phallocentrism, Hill argues that Bergson's deduction of duration is predicated upon the disavowal of a sexed hierarchy. She concludes the article by proposing a way to move beyond Bergson's phallocentrism to articulate duration as a sensible and transcendental difference that articulates a nonhierarchical qualitative relation between the sexes.
Philosophies of Difference engages with the concept of difference in relation to a number of fundamental philosophical and political problems. Insisting on the inseparability of ontology, ethics and politics, the essays and interview in this volume offer original and timely approaches to thinking nature, sexuate difference, racism, and decoloniality. The collection draws on a range of sources, including Latin American Indigenous ontologies and philosophers such as Henri Bergson, Jacques Derrida, Luce Irigaray, Immanuel Kant, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Charles Mills, and Eduardo Viveiros (...) de Castro. -/- The contributors think embodiment and life by bringing continental philosophy into generative dialogue with fields including plant studies, animal studies, decoloniality, feminist theory, philosophy of race, and law. Affirming the importance of interdisciplinarity, Philosophies of Difference contributes to a creative and critical intervention into established norms, limits, and categories. Invoking a conception of difference as both constitutive and generative, this collection offers new and important insights into how a rethinking of difference may ground new and more ethical modes of being and being-with. Philosophies of Difference unearths the constructive possibilities of difference for an ethics of relationality, and for elaborating non-anthropocentric sociality. -/- The chapters in this book were originally published in a special issue in Australian Feminist Law Journal. (shrink)
Irigaray's critique of the phallocentric subject's implicit dependence on the maternal-feminine “outside” is compelling. Her postulation of nonhierarchical sexual difference gives the relational world of woman specificity and Irigaray brings the subject's worldview to earth as merely the relation of the male human to the world. But the focus of her transvaluation remains largely anthropocentric; and she maintains too many aspects of the privilege of the subject's sovereignty as proper to male subjectivity. I suggest that, we need to extend Irigaray (...) and to think sexual difference beyond the human. Drawing from Elizabeth Grosz, Gilles Deleuze, Henri Bergson and Jakob Von Uexküll, I argue that we need to think life beyond the constitution of the organism as the continuous enmeshment of different milieus. Sexual difference is a force of differentiation that articulates relationships between organisms and organs as crucial aspects of many milieus that make up the Earth. Along with the sexually differentiated aspects of milieus, there are rhythms of difference constitutive of milieus that are not sexed. The first section of the essay describes Irigaray's conceptualization of sexual difference between humans. Then I turn to her engagement with the status of nonhuman animals in “Animal Compassion.” I suggest her approach in this essay is too anthropocentric and move to a discussion of Uexküll's thinking on milieus as a way to extend the concepts of difference and sexual difference into posthuman contexts. The essay concludes by reading Irigaray's concept of difference with Deleuze and Bergson. (shrink)