The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 2000:11-20 (2000)
This essay examines the feminist literature on ‘eros’ inspired primarily by Audre Lorde’s essay, “Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power.” The central argument of this literature is that “our erotic knowledge empowers us” by guiding and inspiring us to pursue what we truly value in life. This literature is useful in emphasizing a human quality that is often overlooked, even by other feminists. Yet it is plagued by the prevailing assumption that our deepest passions and desires will necessarily lead to ethical choices. The underlying assumption is that there is a core, ‘pure’, good eros—which is in turn an expression of a core, pure, good self. This is a form of essentialism. Specifically, it is an attribution of a ‘true’, natural property to women that does little more than reverse the valuation of the traditional attribution of natural ‘emotionality’ to women
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