Woman’s eclipse: The silenced feminine in Nietzsche and Heidegger

Philosophy and Social Criticism 31 (2):165-184 (2005)
Abstract
Nietzsche and Heidegger both challenge the metaphysical conception of the cosmos based on the principles of reason. They argue that the unspeakable, material and non-rational should be imbued with a renewed significance. In so doing, they make it possible to grant the ‘feminine’, which had been traditionally associated with these realms, philosophical importance. However, as Irigaray points out, woman is not an interlocutor in their philosophical dialogues but rather a silent foil against whom masculine self-creation takes place. Furthermore, if woman is associated too closely with the mysterious powers of the cosmos, she is denied a voice and the overestimation of her powers leads to her dehumanization. She is thus stripped of the agency that makes her a human subject. Key Words: critique of metaphysics • feminism • Heidegger • Irigaray • Nietzsche.
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