Sunday, May 10, 2009

26a Luce Irigaray (1932 - ....... )

There is a big difference in approach between the Anglo-American philosophy and the Continental philosophy. When we discover that we are not alone,, that there are other human beings around, the Analytical philosophers begin a debate on the issue of "Other minds".

This philosophical discourse in mainly a debate on epistemological questions. How different is the Continental approach of this subject. When you look at existentialism and thereafter, there isn't a discussion on Other minds at all.

There you find a philosophical discourse about "The Other". The other is always analysed from a phenomenological and psycho-analytical perspective. The undercurrent is often an ethical one and existential meaning.

In the feminist philosophy the other is always the man or the woman. Most explicitely you find this philosophizing about the other in the work of Simone de Beauvoir. The other is the woman, le Deuxieme sexe (the Second Sex).

Men regard the woman, the other as an object, not as a subject, as they see themselves. Only when man and woman were equal they could see eachother as subjects.

Thus started the feminist thinking of Simone de Beauvoir, with the conviction that if men and women would see eachother not just as object, this only could be achieved by creating equality between man and woman.

And here Luce Irigaray comes in. Equality? Equality presupposes a standard. All should meet the standard to be equal. But what standard? Should women be equal to men? Same social position as men. Why not the other way around?

Luce Irigaray suggested a completely different approach. Simone de Beauvoir didnt want to be The Other, so she wanted to be equal to a man, eventually be as a man.

"What I say", says Irigaray, " is that there actually is no Other in Western culture. What I persue - I definitely dont want to be a second - is that there are two subjects."

These subjects to eachother are man and woman. She emphasizes the difference between the sexes as something autonomous and independent. And all her philosophical effort is focused on analysing why this is not the case in present society and how this kind of equality could be achieved.

One thing that should be rebalanced is our way of talking about the world. Let's listen to Luce Irigaray herself:

This language work would thus attempt to thwart any manipulation of discourse that would also leave discourse intact. Not, necessarily in the utterance, but in its autological presuppositions.

Its function would thus be to cast phallocentrism, phallocratism, loose from its moorings in order to return the masculine to its own language, leaving open the possibility of a different language. Which means that the masculine would no longer be "everything." -END QUOTE

This is a quote from "This Sex Which Is Not One ",Chapter 4:" The Power of Discourse and the Subordination of the Feminine", 1977. Translated in English in 1985.

And here she puts her finger on a very sensitive nerve. It is true, that our language is so male oriented. Even to god we refer as a he and father.

This observation about the phallocentric languague had a social impact: more and more in texts you see he/she instead of "he" . It has become political incorrect to talk about manpower...has to be human power and things like that.

These are just a few words on a special philosopher, where I left the critisism out. So I advise you to read the article at It is very readable and complete.

To give you a final quote from that article: "Irigaray is often criticized along with other French feminists, such as Julia Kristeva, for the opacity of her writing style. Based on her writing style, she has been dismissed as elitist. Irigaray's writing is undeniably challenging and complex."

"challenging and complex" it applies to so many Continental philosophers ....this is a euphemism (^_^) I honestly did try to read a chapter.

The Discussion

[13:22] herman Bergson: So much on Luce Irigaray...
[13:24] herman Bergson: What I found interesting was that the idea that language is so male oriented is probably from her. It flooded the feminist debate.
[[13:25] AristotleVon Doobie: what a monumental task it is to cleanse the English language of sexist is mind boggling to consider the same for French and Spanish
[13:25] herman Bergson: Yes Aristotle.....
[13:25] Alarice Beaumont: but i think she is right.. isn't she? all the jobs in german where male oriented
[13:25] herman Bergson: But what is more interesting is, that language IS like that
[13:25] Alarice Beaumont: changed only 20 years ago i would say
[13:25] Paula Dix: in latin languages its even worse
[13:25] herman Bergson: Yes.....started in the 60s or later..
[13:26] hope63 Shepherd: its not if we intellectually clean the language.. like the french clean the americanisms from french to change metal approach and comprhension..
[13:26] Alarice Beaumont: what i do find a shame actually
[13:26] AristotleVon Doobie: the development of these languages has taken millenia... how long will it take to be corrected
[13:27] Paula Dix: yes, we should keep out of "politically correct" :)
[13:27] hope63 Shepherd: depends of womens ability to want change..
[13:27] herman Bergson: if the language is mirroring how we look at reality....there are some changes
[13:27] Zen Arado: does changing the language change the attitudes behind that use of language?
[13:27] AristotleVon Doobie: the mere learning of language creates and reinforces the inequality
[13:27] Paula Dix: Ah, yes, thats what i was thinking... if we change the way to view women the language change wont come naturally?
[13:27] Alarice Beaumont: no Zen.. but it 's a firststep
[13:27] herman Bergson: This is a chicken or egg question Ze, I would say
[13:27] Alarice Beaumont: i think
[13:28] hope63 Shepherd: zen.. i think so.. not us.. but through education of new generations..
[13:28] herman Bergson: Well..let me give you an example..
[13:28] hope63 Shepherd: put the seed to germ..
[13:28] herman Bergson: I am used to talk about manpower.....
[13:28] herman Bergson: I get constantly least in public debate.....he!!! it is HUMANPOWER
[13:29] AristotleVon Doobie: the sorting out by the previous generatins of the incorrectness and the appropriiate nurturing to the next gen is the key
[13:29] herman Bergson: this is a constant reminder of the social relations for me
[13:29] Ze Novikov: and the imagery of the words is important too
[13:29] AristotleVon Doobie: well, it is very awkard and obvious to use he/she etc
[13:29] herman Bergson: Yes Ze....
[13:30] herman Bergson: and a new generation doesnt need to be corrected but takes humanpower as the NORMAL thing
[13:30] herman Bergson: oh yes..irritates me too
[13:30] Paula Dix: lol me too
[13:30] herman Bergson: he/she
[13:30] hope63 Shepherd: i think one of the key thought was the 68ers.. when god created the world.. she was satisfied..
[13:30] Zen Arado: the structure of our language does affect the way we think
[13:30] AristotleVon Doobie: it does Zen, very much I think
[13:31] Andret Beck: sorry guys, what do u mean for "human power"?
[13:31] Paula Dix: if we learn to see the word "man" as "human" then there is no problem... besides, why is it "human" and not "huwoman" :)))))
[13:31] herman Bergson: Yes....and when it is so intertwined with religious believes.....we have a Father in heaven.....
[13:31] Zen Arado: using subject /object distinctions separates I think
[13:31] hope63 Shepherd: smile.. with a beard like herman..:)
[13:32] herman Bergson: Yes...the subject / object relation is another issue....
[13:32] herman Bergson: I had to think of Aristotle there...
[13:32] AristotleVon Doobie: of course if you want to subordinate women , god would have to be male
[13:33] herman Bergson: His remark that he is the center of the universe..his all other is object ^_^
[13:33] Paula Dix: lol, seeing the poor work, god surely is man! :)))
[13:33] AristotleVon Doobie: indeed , I remain so LOL
[13:33] herman Bergson: ^_^
[13:33] Alarice Beaumont: lol
[13:34] herman Bergson: Sure Aristotle..but could it be called a typical male statement?
[13:34] Paula Dix: (i also hate the feminism reaction, trying to put man down all the time...)
[13:34] AristotleVon Doobie: yes Paula, and so I repect mother earth even the more
[13:34] Laila Schuman: i feel concerned about what the word equality means... because that denies any difference
[13:34] herman Bergson: That is absolutely NOT the philosophy of Irigaray
[13:34] Andret Beck: I may say it is strange that god is male, when human beings come out from women Lol
[13:34] Tenk Kidd: I'm not so certain the generic view of a principaldeity as being male and male associates with power is correct - there are many cases of religious systems that give primacy to the female gender
[13:35] hope63 Shepherd: as mary said.. we have to look at the complexity of the whole.. and not value or judge..
[13:35] hope63 Shepherd: the differences..
[13:35] herman Bergson: I know Tenk, but not in the rather dominant Western culture
[13:36] AristotleVon Doobie: if we respect the individual, gender becomes moot
[13:36] Laila Schuman: yes ari
[13:36] Laila Schuman: exactly
[13:36] Zen Arado: where does this male image of God come from ?
[13:36] herman Bergson: And we even have the guts to regard such religions as odd
[13:36] herman Bergson: Good question Zen
[13:36] Paula Dix: perfect Ari
[13:36] Zen Arado: I thought conceptualising God like that was idolatry
[13:37] Andret Beck: or another way would be to abolish religion
[13:37] Zen Arado: it is only from artists portrayals perhaps
[13:37] Tenk Kidd: I think that is the key point - could it be that the western culture is somhow 'fractured' with an interpretation of gender specifity in terms of assumed primacy?
[13:37] herman Bergson: What you said, Aristotle is in line with Irirgaray's thinking
[13:37] hope63 Shepherd: zen.. religion has its history.. and you go back to 5000 years .. male was the dominant idea..
[13:37] hope63 Shepherd: though women played a much more important role then..
[13:37] herman Bergson: In that sense, that man and womean should develop their identity equally
[13:37] Zen Arado: anthropomorphising God
[13:37] Andret Beck: no hope, both have an important role
[13:38] Andret Beck: zen, this sounds pretty Morin
[13:38] hope63 Shepherd: yes and no.. each have their importance..
[13:38] Zen Arado: Morin ?
[13:38] Andret Beck: edgar Morin
[13:38] Alarice Beaumont: but male was the most dominant
[13:38] Laila Schuman: artist's portrayals followed the money ... so to speak
[13:38] hope63 Shepherd: male dominace wsas not as such a primary point..
[13:38] AristotleVon Doobie: yes, laila :)
[13:39] Paula Dix: ive seen that jews had a female god with the male one, but with time the female was dismissed
[13:39] herman Bergson: Well biologically you see a lot of male dominance among mamals
[13:39] Alarice Beaumont: and men used o havemore rghts
[13:39] herman Bergson: which reflects in the behavior
[13:39] hope63 Shepherd: herman.. that is a humans view on mamals..
[13:39] Zen Arado: bottom line is men have greater physical strength
[13:40] herman Bergson: no hope..that are ethological factsa....
[13:40] Laila Schuman: in south america ...right NOW... the custom among many... particularly the native to spill drink on the floor/earth... fo the "mother earth"
[13:40] hope63 Shepherd: no.. dominance is a human judgment..
[13:40] Paula Dix: Laila, they do that also saing "for the saint"
[13:40] herman Bergson: yes...Laila..we have that expression..Mother Earth...
[13:41] herman Bergson: Because it feeds us and c offers us a living
[13:41] Laila Schuman: is that perhaps the christianization of that custom?
[13:41] AristotleVon Doobie: and so , Herman the struggle between our primal and cerebral beings continue
[13:41] herman Bergson: Yes...
[13:41] Paula Dix: Laila, i guess so, but dont really know
[13:41] AristotleVon Doobie: the animal in us wants the world to be male dominated
[13:41] hope63 Shepherd: lol.. ari..
[13:41] herman Bergson: One of the criticisms on Irirgara's theories was that she put the psycho-analytical theory so much to the front..
[13:41] Zen Arado: if women become more intelligent than men could they become dominant?
[13:42] Laila Schuman: snickers...
[13:42] Paula Dix: if they are really intelligent, no :)
[13:42] Alarice Beaumont: if they would use it in the raising of children ,-)
[13:42] Laila Schuman: perhaps we are....
[13:42] hope63 Shepherd: how could they be more intelligent..
[13:42] herman Bergson: Others claimed that it was better to change the social position of women in society...equal rights, equal pay and so on
[13:42] AristotleVon Doobie: women are very intelligent
[13:42] Andret Beck: but why we r talking about donant issues when the problem is the equality?
[13:42] hope63 Shepherd: more'
[13:42] hope63 Shepherd: ?
[13:42] Ze Novikov: no kidding!!!
[13:42] Andret Beck: dominant*
[13:43] Zen Arado: women are becoming better educated than men
[13:43] Laila Schuman: what does equal mean
[13:43] Paula Dix: hmmm maybe the concept of "intelligent" is male oriented?
[13:43] hope63 Shepherd: i gtive up..
[13:43] herman Bergson: As she said, Laila...which standard to use?
[13:43] AristotleVon Doobie: but there is that equality word...which does not exist
[13:43] Andret Beck: equal means that no one must dominate nothing
[13:43] Andret Beck: we are a community
[13:43] Alarice Beaumont: men and women can physicqualaly never be
[13:43] Andret Beck: peace and love
[13:43] Alarice Beaumont: equal
[13:43] Andret Beck: anyone with his role
[13:44] Andret Beck: male, female, gay
[13:44] Paula Dix: yes, no two persons will ever be equal also
[13:44] herman Bergson: No...Andret...and there is no need to...
[13:44] Alarice Beaumont: yes Paula
[13:44] Laila Schuman: maybe what ari said... each is an individual... and gender is moot
[13:44] Paula Dix: yes!
[13:44] Zen Arado: we rejoice in our differences
[13:44] herman Bergson: but there also is no need to pay a man more for the same job than a woman, which is a fact
[13:44] Andret Beck: yeah
[13:44] Paula Dix: true
[13:44] Andret Beck: i agree herman
[13:44] Laila Schuman: AMEN
[13:44] Alarice Beaumont: yees
[13:44] Alarice Beaumont: still happens
[13:44] Andret Beck: no domination
[13:44] Andret Beck: no differences
[13:45] Andret Beck: each is important
[13:45] Tenk Kidd: I am reminded that different social structures in history - like the Celts, Germanic tribes and Vikings, who had no problem with gender specifity and female reverence and equality...
[13:45] herman Bergson: Besides..research has shown that women act the very same way as men in managment positions and not because they emulate men
[13:45] Paula Dix: yes
[13:45] AristotleVon Doobie: the difference in pay may have been seen as a good business decision in the past...not unlike moving manufacturing jobs to china
[13:45] Zen Arado: if women are better at a certain job shoud they get paid more ?
[13:45] Laila Schuman: then i would disagree with the research
[13:45] Zen Arado: why equal?
[13:46] Andret Beck: female are human beings as we are, .... it is useless this research in my point of view
[13:46] Laila Schuman: it could be said they do as good a job... but they sure do not always approach it the same way
[13:46] Paula Dix: Ive also read on a chrichton book that thre is the same ocurrence of sexual arrasment by female bosses as males
[13:46] Laila Schuman: any more than all men do
[13:46] herman Bergson: this ....female are human beings as we are....Andret said....
[13:46] herman Bergson: Who is WE?
[13:46] Zen Arado: female bosses can be hard
[13:46] Paula Dix: lol
[13:47] Alarice Beaumont: cause they have to work twice as hard as men! Zen
[13:47] Andret Beck: wait
[13:47] Ze Novikov: ty for making us part of the human race
[13:47] AristotleVon Doobie: well, you do have to be careful with the
[13:47] Ze Novikov: sheesh
[13:47] herman Bergson: There seem to be no difference between male and female bosses
[13:47] Paula Dix: I guess females bosses are harder because under a male world pressure
[13:47] Zen Arado: :)
[13:47] AristotleVon Doobie: 'them' pronoun
[13:47] Andret Beck: research has shown that women act the very same way as men in managment positions and not because they emulate men
[13:47] Andret Beck: i am man
[13:47] Andret Beck: so
[13:48] Andret Beck: i think this sentence is useless ----> research has shown that women act the very same way as men in managment positions and not because they emulate men
[13:48] herman Bergson: It is always suggested that women at the top would make such a difference....seems to be not the case
[13:48] Paula Dix: Clear is telling here that there is a tendency today of making companies less competitive and more cooperative and that happens at the same time as women are growing on companies... is that by chance??
[13:48] Zen Arado: are women better than men at certain occupations ?
[13:48] Andret Beck: i mean, this research is racist
[13:48] Alarice Beaumont: but they have to survive in the mal e world.. sothey hve to lay th gamesof themales to get the job!
[13:48] Alarice Beaumont: yes.. i would think so Zn
[13:48] Andret Beck: i guess the problem is all social and not biological
[13:49] Paula Dix: Clear again: old time animation companies wanted woman to paint the cells, they used to make a better job
[13:49] Zen Arado: so why shouldnt they get paid more thean men
[13:49] Paula Dix: But social is biological
[13:49] Andret Beck: because they want to stand out in a male society
[13:49] Zen Arado: all men aren't paid at the same rate
[13:50] AristotleVon Doobie: of course, women and men are better at cerain occupations, they are not equal naturally in body strenght or methodolgy of thinking
[13:50] Paula Dix: exactly
[13:50] Laila Schuman: sorry... i need to head out
[13:50] Andret Beck: i dont think social is biological
[13:50] Zen Arado: so it isnt a men/women question but ability
[13:50] Andret Beck: paula
[13:50] Andret Beck: yeah zen, i agree
[13:50] Paula Dix: society is made by animals... so biological
[13:50] herman Bergson: Yes Zen..that would be the true approach
[13:50] Andret Beck: and it is very subjective
[13:50] Ze Novikov: must be off to RL see you all soon ty herman
[13:50] Andret Beck: mmmmm .....
[13:51] Zen Arado: Bye Ze
[13:51] AristotleVon Doobie: bye Ze
[13:51] herman Bergson: OK..
[13:51] herman Bergson: Bye Ze :-)
[13:51] Paula Dix: bye ze!
[13:51] Andret Beck: when u meet your friend for an english teah it is not a biological need
[13:51] Andret Beck: it is a social meeting
[13:52] Andret Beck: or rather, a useless social meeting, a game
[13:52] Paula Dix: but any social idea or thing cames from our biological brains
[13:52] Andret Beck: ok paula, it is a dog which tries to beat its tail lol
[13:53] herman Bergson: Ok.....let me summerize some ideas here....for we can go on for ever without changing a bit in this world
[13:53] Paula Dix: thats something i was thinking now, economy is also biological, and ive read that women going into work is an economical necessity
[13:53] AristotleVon Doobie: I would argue that everthing we do is biological, even the tea, much stimulate the participants
[13:53] Paula Dix: lol Andret
[13:53] AristotleVon Doobie: must*
[13:53] Andret Beck: haha
[13:53] herman Bergson: I think there are roughly two approaches in Feminist philosophy...
[13:53] herman Bergson: One is represented by Luce Irigaray
[13:53] Zen Arado: yes Herman?
[13:53] Paula Dix: so women liberation is really an economical necessity... hence women being paid less is also based on biology in some way?
[13:54] Alarice Beaumont: hmmm
[13:54] herman Bergson: She gives an heuristic interpretation of culture and analyses the ruling concepts...
[13:54] herman Bergson: The other approach is the socio-political approach, I would call it...
[13:55] herman Bergson: meaning: change the social position of women and you get 'equality"
[13:55] Alarice Beaumont: if the women let you
[13:55] Paula Dix: lol
[13:55] herman Bergson: I agree ..there maybe many nuances...but it is this far I am now
[13:55] Alarice Beaumont: i have the impression that the equality is going backwards
[13:56] Paula Dix: with man being put down all the time? I feel that also
[13:56] Alarice Beaumont: because most women don't really want to be equall.. they are afreaidwn living! of it... case it eans t earn our o
[13:56] herman Bergson: yes....we also may introduce a conservative stream...
[13:56] Zen Arado: you need to change the structure of government
[13:56] Zen Arado: which is male based
[13:56] Alarice Beaumont: caus it means to earn your own living
[13:57] Zen Arado: especially in Britain
[13:57] Alarice Beaumont: sorry bad chat lag .-(
[13:57] Paula Dix: What i was trying to say before is that we can only change society in ways that make economical sense
[13:57] herman Bergson: I understand what you mean Alarice
[13:57] Paula Dix: this makes sense?? :)
[13:57] herman Bergson: Yes...I said something like that too Paula
[13:58] herman Bergson: Ok....
[13:58] herman Bergson: Then...may I thank you for this good discussion
[13:58] AristotleVon Doobie: Thank you Professor
[13:58] Zen Arado: yah boo politics
[13:58] Paula Dix: lol
[13:58] herman Bergson: And hope to see you next time again :-)
[13:58] Paula Dix: Thanks Herman, very interesting as always!
[13:59] Andret Beck: thx herman
[13:59] herman Bergson: thank you Paula

Posted by herman_bergson on 2009-04-14 15:24:35

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