In this paper, I present a new reading of Simone de Beauvoir’s first major work, L’Invitée ( She Came to Stay ), in order to reveal the text as a vital place of origin for feminist phenomenological philosophy. My reading of L’Invitée departs from most scholarly interpretations of the text in three notable respects: (1) it is inclusive of the “two unpublished chapters” that were excised from the original manuscript at the publisher’s request, (2) it takes seriously Beauvoir’s claim that (...) phenomenological philosophy is often better expressed in novels than essays or treatises, and (3) it views the novel’s main characters, Françoise and Xavière, as one woman who has multiple, contradictory, excessive selves. Thus approached, L’Invitée provides us with a thick description of one woman’s embodied consciousness and thereby shows us with specificity what a consciousness whose underlying structures reflect sexual difference looks like. This consciousness not only experiences itself as being both gendered, categorized, disciplined, and defined and in excess of these genders, categories, disciplines, and definitions at the same time, but also experiences its own self-relation through the presence of multiple selves who are each simultaneously attracted to and negating of the other. As such, the defining features of this consciousness involve experiences that I have respectively labeled “ontological multiplicity” and “auto-jealousy.”. (shrink)
This paper strengthens the theoretical ground of feminist analyses of anger by explaining how the angers of the oppressed are ways of knowing. Relying on insights created through the juxtaposition of Latina feminism and Zen Buddhism, I argue that these angers are special kinds of embodied perceptions that surface when there is a profound lack of fit between a particular bodily orientation and its framing world of sense. As openings to alternative sensibilities, these angers are transformative, liberatory, and deeply epistemohgical.
The idea of a philosophical Other as comparativists have often historically used it to signify radical alterity, although sometimes a remedy and correction for the erroneous generalizations which originate from a presupposition of human sameness, merely shifts the center of philosophy's unchallenged assumptions in at least two ways. First, the notion of a philosophical Other avoids an explicit characterization of how one recognizes that one is philosophizing in the sphere of this Other and of what "otherness" is philosophically interesting. Second, (...) the notion of a philosophical Other is unable to capture and describe the dynamic, ever-changing relations that serve to demarcate philosophical traditions or spatio-temporal webs of thinkers in the first place. For the sake of the comparative project of exposing the comparativist's own culturally-embedded assumptions, comparative methodology should allow for the possibility of analyzing more than one place where similarities and differences can present themselves at the same time. In short, comparativists would serve their own interests better if they began to approach their projects in recognition of a complex, limitless, and dynamic array of sameness and difference, instead of with premature assumptions of radical alterity. (shrink)