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The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 20, 1998

Philosophy and Gender

Pamela Anderson
Pages 1-6

Tracing Sexual Difference
Beyond the Aporia of the Other

A reading of Luce Irigaray suggests the possibility of tracing sexual difference in philosophical accounts of personal identity. In particular, I argue that Irigaray raises the possibility of moving beyond the aporia of the other which lies at the heart of Paul Ricoeur's account of self-identity. My contention is that the self conceived in Ricoeur's Oneself as Another is male insofar as it is dependent upon the patriarchal monotheism which has shaped Western culture both socially and economically. Nevertheless there remains the possibility of developing Ricoeur's reference to 'the trace of the Other' in order to give a non-essential meaning to sexual difference. Such meaning will emerge when (i) both men and women have identities as subjects, and (ii) the difference between them can be expressed. I aim to elucidate both conditions by appropriating Irigaray's 'Questions to Emmanuel Levinas: On the Divinity of Love.'

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