Finitude and woman

Resistances. Journal of the Philosophy of History 4 (8):e230131 (2023)
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Abstract

This article explores the connection among woman, sex, and finitude. In stuying finitude, the argument follows the articulation of finitude with woman. In a first part, it discusses three “women” writers—Virginia Woolf, Simone De Beauvoir, and Hélène Cixous—to establish their thoughts on woman in terms of finitude. The three of them are identified as women and yet they problematized what to be a woman is. In tracing their thoughts on finitude and woman, sexual difference –the body as enjoying emerges as an issue. Thus, in a second part, it discusses two seemingly opposed positions—Lacanian psychoanalysis, with Joan Copjec, and deconstruction, with Derrida—to think further about the question of woman, sexual difference, the “two,” and finitude. This study compares the Lacanian feminine side with the movement of deconstruction and establishes the necessity of thinking a “two” beyond the binary of phallogocentrism. My thesis is that thinking finitude with woman leads us to a non-oppositional two that correlates with sexual difference. The Lacanian feminine side, and Derrida’s deconstruction aim to think these two logics, delineating two sides: a male one (comparable with phallogocentrism) and a feminine side (comparable with the movement of deconstruction). If the male side considers finitude (death) as the limit of life, the feminine side opens to death and life, and the in-finitude of the undetermined and undecidable. In thinking finitude with woman, the knowledge of what to be a woman is, becomes undetermined and undecidable.

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