Sunday, May 10, 2009

26b Luce Irigaray again

Luce Irigaray was the second contemporary philosopher that explicitely focused on the position of women. Like I did, she wonders about the exclusion of women from the history of philosophy. And as an interdisciplinary thinker she added psychoanalytic theory and structural linguistics.

In the former lecture I already pointed at her observation that our language is remarkably male oriented or to use Irigaray's words we should talk of "phallocentric and phallocratic".

Characteristic of her concept of feminism is, that feminism for her doesnt mean the effort as a woman to become a man's equal, but to emphasize femininity and sexual difference and to claim equal respect for male and female.

Irigaray argues that, since ancient times, mothers have been associated with nature and unthinking matter. Further,she believes that all women have historically been associated with the role of "mother" such that, whether or not a woman is a mother, her identity is always defined according to that role.

Our philosophical roots are found in the Greek culture and it is well known what the position of men and women was in those days. Not to mention Aristotle's idea about the woman as a defective or incomplete man.

In many of her texts, Irigaray seeks to unveil how both psychoanalytic theory and philosophy exclude women from a genuine social existence as autonomous subjects, and relegate women to the realm of inert, lifeless, inessential matter.

The negative views of women, according to Irigaray, has nothing to do with the biological differences between the sexes. The differences are products of theories in philosophy or e.g. psychoanalysis, which have mainly been formulated only by men.

While you may critizise Aristotle of being the source of all European thinking about the woman, we see this by men formulated theories still 100% alive in the Arabic world.

Western culture will have to accept new paradigms for understanding women. Irigaray believes that language systems are malleable, and largely determined by power relationships that are in flux.

So the emancipation of women can be achieved by freeing language systems of their phallocentric orientation and changing power relationships. What is importantant to Irigaray is, that the relation between the sexes is not a ahistorical fact.

The way Luce Irigaray hopes to change things is by anaylizing the position of women, using a method she calls mimesis. Mimesis is a term from the arts and means the effort of the artist, painter or sculpture to stay as close as possible to reality in his work.

As a philosophical method it means a process of resubmitting women to stereotypical views of women in order to call the views themselves into question. For example if it is stereotypical to see women as illogical, women should give a logical analysis of this view.

You will have to read her books to learn how she uses this method, which she also calls 'strategic essentialism', which may mean something like formulating a stereotypical essence of the woman, just as a strategic move with the only purpose to show that this stereotype doesnt hold.

The ultimate dream of Luce Irigaray is that we will live in a world of a true independent male and female (sexual) identity as two indepentent subjects. The bridge between these subjects will be created by love. From the love for yourself should develop the love for the other.

It is unclear whether or not Irigaray is suggesting that the heterosexual couple is the model for ethical relationships. This means that the questions stays unanswered in what way her ideas apply to other than man - woman (love) relations.

I leave it to you to find out what the importance is of these philosophical ideas. What I regard as an important contribution to understanding the position of women in our culture is her analysis of language and making us aware of how the man - woman relation is embedded in our culture.

The Discussion

herman Bergson: Sofar Luce Irirgaray :-)
Gemma Cleanslate: what did you not like of her writing?? since she was a linguist also???
Gemma Cleanslate: i have not read her work at all
Gemma Cleanslate: just about her philosophy which i liked
herman Bergson: Well she is critizes on her style of writing...and I tried to read one chapter myself
herman Bergson: To understand it I had to read it backwards....
Gemma Cleanslate: lololol
Alarice Beaumont: ?
herman Bergson: reading the last paragraph...understanding the conclusion...
Gemma Cleanslate: maybe it was the translation????
Gemma Cleanslate: ah i see
Cruella Muggins: well she got the love part right
herman Bergson: then go back one paragraph to figure out how she came to that conslusion and so on :-)
Cruella Muggins: well she said if I understood
Gemma Cleanslate: ah well i have done that lots of times to be honest
herman Bergson: Yes it was in English....French would have been even more difficult
Cruella Muggins: love yourself then you can love others
herman Bergson: Yes....
Cruella Muggins: which is correct
Cruella Muggins: start backwards
Cruella Muggins: yes
herman Bergson: her basic idea is that you first have to develop your own identity woman ..and as man too
Cruella Muggins: halleluyah
Cruella Muggins: is my belief
Cruella Muggins: but she uses lots of big words
Alarice Beaumont: but isn'tr it true? you cannot love someone else if you don't love yourself
herman Bergson: And in her idea of this relation between man and woman she is a kind of dialectic..
Cruella Muggins: yes*
Gemma Cleanslate: most philosophers do
Cruella Muggins: what love themselves
herman Bergson: Yes Alarice....that is true and even in then ten commandments
Cruella Muggins: is that true Herman
Gemma Cleanslate: the simple words make a philosopher sound like they do not know what they aer talking about
herman Bergson: What should be true Cruella
Cruella Muggins: That one should love oneself
Cruella Muggins: primo
Rentboy Benoir: i love myself every night
herman Bergson: Well...I think it is a basic insight...
Rentboy Benoir: no kidding
Alarice Beaumont: lol
herman Bergson: I mean....if you cant handle yourself, dont accept yourself as a will you relate to another?
Cruella Muggins: If you don t love yourself how can you possibly grasp the meaning of love
Alarice Beaumont: yes.. that is a good question
Rentboy Benoir: what i mean is i think it doesnt just apply to heterosexual relationships
Cruella Muggins: me neither
Alarice Beaumont: one has to find oneself first..ohterwise one is never content with others
Rentboy Benoir: but to relationships
herman Bergson: no not at all...I agree...
Rentboy Benoir: any relationship
Cruella Muggins: love is asexual
Rentboy Benoir: it is
herman Bergson: It is just that Irigaray emphasizes the man - woman relation so much in hetr work
Samuel Okelly: what is love?
Alarice Beaumont: respect is perhaps the better word?!
Cruella Muggins: all encompassing
Cruella Muggins: lol
Rentboy Benoir: when did she write her work
herman Bergson: Well Samuel...that is exactly what I dont like that much in her philosophy...
Rentboy Benoir: ?
Alarice Beaumont: well.. i think because of the big difference Herman... man to man.. they accept each other
herman Bergson: Introducing a term like Love as an explanation how man and woman can relate
Cruella Muggins: lost me
Gemma Cleanslate: yesterday
Samuel Okelly: rather a cliché question in some eways but an important one none the less if we are to understand her i imagine?
Gemma Cleanslate: still living
herman Bergson: I dont get much excited about that part of her philosophy
herman Bergson: Waht really made sense to me is her linguistic analysis
herman Bergson: Maybe because that is the most empirical part of her philosophy :-)
herman Bergson: I am also not so interested in her psychoanalytic ideas
Cruella Muggins: so what makes her interesting to you
herman Bergson: Only in the sense that they express a real male thinking....Freud had no feeling for women
Samuel Okelly: i have always felt that the empricists only take us so far along the road but never the full distance
herman Bergson: As I showing how language shapes the relations between man and woman and designate her position
hope63 Shepherd: so who takes us all the way sam?
Cruella Muggins: oh
Cruella Muggins: or his
Samuel Okelly: another great question hope ;)
herman Bergson: yes...or his position :-)
Rentboy Benoir: could you think of a specific example of language use
Cruella Muggins: yes
hope63 Shepherd: would need a profound knowledge oh history of humaity to get close to an answer..
Cruella Muggins: because why does a womans position have to be designated
Cruella Muggins: and a mans never
herman Bergson: Luce Irigaray did language experiments herself...
Alarice Beaumont: yes.. for example the names of professions.... they used only to be in male language
Alarice Beaumont: they changed the endings... so the same job now works with men and women
Rentboy Benoir: ok
Cruella Muggins: if only that
Alarice Beaumont: at least in germany
herman Bergson: She gave little assignments to formulate certain sentences...
Samuel Okelly: why should we assign a greater value for equality over and at the expense of difference?
Cruella Muggins: who takes us all the way
herman Bergson: almost everyone, male and female students used the word He where they easily could have used the word SHE
Cruella Muggins: nobody takes us
Laila Schuman: yes Samuel
herman Bergson: in their sentences
Cruella Muggins: we go it alone
Cruella Muggins: male female
Cruella Muggins: same difference
Cruella Muggins: yes but we can t change history
Cruella Muggins: but we can evolve
herman Bergson: It is not about equality, I would say
Alarice Beaumont: yes
Cruella Muggins: no
Gemma Cleanslate: :-)
Cruella Muggins: not really
herman Bergson: In the first place it is about fully respect the sexual identity of the other
Gemma Cleanslate: :-)
Laila Schuman: or is it about power...
Cruella Muggins: that is the word
Cruella Muggins: RESPECT
herman Bergson: without for instance associating female with motherhood by definition so to speak
Alarice Beaumont: power.. might no be so wrong
herman Bergson: and then putting the woman in a specific role
Cruella Muggins: it defines so much last time icqme we talked about
Laila Schuman: i contend that those in power are afraid of losing it...
Cruella Muggins: the concept of rudeness
Samuel Okelly: listening to feminist writers we would certainly be forgiven for thinking that is precisely what the feminists movement wants for women in society "equality"
Samuel Okelly: we can equally respect "difference"
Laila Schuman: right again Samuel.... i personally want fairness and justice
Rentboy Benoir: i wonder how much of this is social conditioning and how much of it is nature?
herman Bergson: I prefer to focus on ethics here.
Gemma Cleanslate: it is a difficult thing universally
herman Bergson: It is not eqaulity but equal rights for all human beings, male or female
Gemma Cleanslate: very true
herman Bergson: and I think that that is her point too
herman Bergson: And that is also the reason that the emphasizes the sexual difference between man and woman
Cruella Muggins: what are they?
herman Bergson: That is for a biology class to explain, Cruella ^_^
Cruella Muggins: lol
Samuel Okelly: clearly as there are physical differences it is reasonable to assume there will be social and cultural differences pertaining to the sexes but as laila pointed out i would prefer the focus to be on the ethics of fairness and justice
herman Bergson: But philosophically I cant think of differences between men and women
Alarice Beaumont: i think that's just what she wanted
Cruella Muggins: no essential ones anyway
herman Bergson: I cant think of any :-)
Alarice Beaumont: respect for all... no different treatment in thinking
herman Bergson: Yes Alarice
Laila Schuman: it seems the female philosophers have an historical thread
Laila Schuman: of being interested in ethics
Cruella Muggins: want to be recognised
Cruella Muggins: first
herman Bergson: I think it is dangerous to say that Laila...
hope63 Shepherd: females act like a minority group.. not knowing what po
Laila Schuman: why
hope63 Shepherd: power they could have..
Cruella Muggins: I dont believe that
herman Bergson: We have seen a number of woman thinkers that were interested in metaphysics, epistemology, logic
Cruella Muggins: that is patronizing
Laila Schuman: of course... i did not mean exclusively ethics
Samuel Okelly: there are biological differences regarding childbirth that will influence cultural and social attitudes...
Laila Schuman: but i do see a thread
Samuel Okelly: personally i think it is too simplistic to say "once the child is born then anyone can just do the same job"
Gemma Cleanslate: i agree laila
Laila Schuman: Samuel you are on a roll! i agree again!
herman Bergson: There is no reason why it has to be a rule that everyone should be able to do the same job...
Rentboy Benoir: but anyone can rear a child
Laila Schuman: ahem
herman Bergson: You can do any job you are talented for, I would say
Gemma Cleanslate: oh i am not so sure rentboy
Laila Schuman: yes
Gemma Cleanslate: it is not like raising a puppy
herman Bergson: There are good parents and bad there are good mechanics and bad mechanics
Samuel Okelly: i think parents are by necessity muti-talented
Laila Schuman: there are women who should not be caring for children... so it is not a feminist thing
Rentboy Benoir: it makes little diffeence if the child is reared by a single father or a single mother
Gemma Cleanslate: should be
Cruella Muggins: anyone can put on a pampers
Rentboy Benoir: am i on the right track here
Gemma Cleanslate: welll
Gemma Cleanslate: i have to disagree
Gemma Cleanslate: there are differences
Laila Schuman: no Rentboy...i truely believe the child will be affected
Alarice Beaumont: yes.. i would agree with gemma
Gemma Cleanslate: it can be done
herman Bergson: First of all...educating kids is the work of amateurs :-)
Samuel Okelly: the demands of parenting are great and require many skills that give rise to different "roles"
Laila Schuman: my father died when i was three
Rentboy Benoir: well
Alarice Beaumont: you need both parents for a balanced raising of a child
herman Bergson: you dont need a certificate or licence to educate children
Rentboy Benoir: what is balanced
Cruella Muggins: well I raised mine alone
Cruella Muggins: they ok
Alarice Beaumont: i did not say they wouldn't be ok... ,-))
Gemma Cleanslate: balanced is the different types of nurturing that help development
Alarice Beaumont: it's hard job to do it alone... to find the right balance
Rentboy Benoir: i know a single dad whos daughter is the most inteeligent "balanced", and adorable girl ever
herman Bergson: I think we can end this discussion on educational theory ^_^
Gemma Cleanslate: great
Gemma Cleanslate: lol
Gemma Cleanslate: ok
Laila Schuman: yes
Alarice Beaumont: :-)
herman Bergson: Of little philosophical importance
Gemma Cleanslate: once a teacher always a teacher
herman Bergson: I hope you now have some idea about the philosphy of Luce Irigaray...
Gemma Cleanslate: :-)
Cruella Muggins: love
Cruella Muggins: is what i retained herman
herman Bergson: Her Linguistic philosophy, her psychoanalytical approach
herman Bergson: and yes..her final solution between the sexes being love
herman Bergson: But there she had specific ideas too
Laila Schuman: God is love
Samuel Okelly: :)
herman Bergson: Love was not a union between man and woman....
Cruella Muggins: see
Cruella Muggins: got it right
herman Bergson: in her opinion yoiu have the love for the other....and what comes into being is something new
herman Bergson: the love between two persons
herman Bergson: as I said..kind of dialectics
Alarice Beaumont: hmm
Samuel Okelly: greeks spoke of agape love as opposed to "eros" or "philia"
Laila Schuman: nods
herman Bergson: Yes..Samuel..maybe you could compare it with that idea
herman Bergson: Well...then I would end this class by wishing LOVE to you all ^_^
hope63 Shepherd: agape.. isn't that diving without oxygen?
hope63 Shepherd: until you faint?
Cruella Muggins: in abundance
Gemma Cleanslate: oh Hope
Ze Novikov: :))
Gemma Cleanslate: you are truely hopeless
Cruella Muggins: apne Hope
Ze Novikov: lol
Rentboy Benoir: kiss kiss
Samuel Okelly: cheerio for now every1:)
herman Bergson laughs
Laila Schuman: baiee Sam
Cruella Muggins: bye all
herman Bergson: Bye Samuel
Cruella Muggins: before you go
Laila Schuman: Baiee Cru
Ze Novikov: ty herman see you next time everyone
herman Bergson: Bye Gemma :-)
Laila Schuman: ZE!
Alarice Beaumont: bye samuel
Alarice Beaumont: bye gemma :-)
hope63 Shepherd: bye sam..
Rentboy Benoir: thanks
Cruella Muggins: Bye Herman
Rentboy Benoir: and bye
Rentboy Benoir: sir
Cruella Muggins: and thankyou
herman Bergson: Be well Cruella ^_^
Cruella Muggins: will try
herman Bergson: We missed Ariostotle today :-)
herman Bergson: Hi Laila
Laila Schuman: hi
hope63 Shepherd: b ad..
herman Bergson: Didnt see you enter the class
Alarice Beaumont: yes.. he is very busy this week...hoped he would make it..
Laila Schuman: i had to pry people off the computer to get here
hope63 Shepherd: aristoteles and his commentaries on love could have been something:)
Laila Schuman: now i must give it baci
Alarice Beaumont: lol Laila ;-)
Laila Schuman: baiee all
herman Bergson: A pitty ..:-(
Laila Schuman: yeah
Alarice Beaumont: bye Laila
herman Bergson: Bye Laila
hope63 Shepherd: bye alila..
Laila Schuman: bye Al... bye Hope
Cruella Muggins: bye
Laila Schuman: baiee prof.
Cruella Muggins: civilised place here You can smoke
Cruella Muggins: you
herman Bergson: yes you can Cruella..:-)
Cruella Muggins: :)))))))

Posted by herman_bergson on 2009-04-21 15:12:15

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