Philosophy and Social Criticism 35 (4):391-410 (2009)

A large number of feminist philosophers and social critics accept that Simone de Beauvoir's conception of transcendence in The Second Sex relies on masculinist ontology. In contrast with feminist interpretations that see Beauvoir claiming the success of masculinist ontology, this article argues that transcendence as masculinist ontology does not succeed in The Second Sex because it requires a relation of domination, something contrary to its own definition of freedom-producing relations. The Second Sex obliquely reveals this failure, but Beauvoir does not ruminate upon it. Instead, Beauvoir turns to imagine freedom-producing gender relations in the future where the body and consciousness are already emancipated from constitutive domination. This is a future that resonates with G. W. F. Hegel's `Stoic Consciousness'. The significance of this finding is that the location of freedom neither resides in the intertwinement of the male body and consciousness previously argued to be the case, for Beauvoir, nor does it reside in the intertwinement of the female body and consciousness. Rather, freedom resides in the intertwinement of male and female bodies and consciousness where domination is already absent, that is, a place outside of history. Thus, the conclusion of The Second Sex can be read as a consolation and an escape from the inescapable limits of the present
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DOI 10.1177/0191453708102092
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The Politics of Reproduction.Mary O'Brien - 1981 - Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1981.

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