From Husserl to de beauvoir: Gendering the perceiving subject

Metaphilosophy 27 (1-2):53-62 (1996)


This paper breaks ranks with those philosophers and feminists who either ignore de Beauvoir or find her passé. It argues that de Beauvoir is fundamentally a philosopher; that one of her crucial contributions to philosophy was to identify the erotic as a philosophical category; and that we best understand de Beauvoir's place in the feminist and philosophical fields if we read her as a phenomenologist who reworks Husserl's theory of intentionality and who, in this reworking, steps out of Sartre's shadow to develop an ethic of erotic generosity. This argument depends on reading de Beauvoir's texts with an ear for her two voices. It develops the idea that de Beauvoir's muted voice, in speaking of the erotic, the gift and generosity, offers us a coherent and fruitful way of thinking through the questions of embodiment, the flesh, the other and the “we”.

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References found in this work

Phenomenology of Perception.Maurice Merleau-Ponty - 1962 - Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey: The Humanities Press.
Signs.Maurice Merleau-Ponty - 1964 - Evanston, USA: Northwestern University Press.

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