Reflections on Feminist Merleau-Ponty Skepticism

Hypatia 15 (1):175-182 (2000)
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Abstract

Shannon Sullivan's critique of Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception is based on the argument that, due to his concept of the “anonymous body,” his theory of intersubjectivity omits the particularities of bodies, such as gender. I argue that Merleau-Ponty's “anonymous body” is not in fact “neutral” as Sullivan suggests, and moreover that he does not ignore differences but rather provides us with the idea of difference as a process of differentiation. Additionally, I argue that Sullivan's concept of “hypothetical construction,” which is introduced as an alternative to Merleau-Ponty, turns out to be a conscious construction, not reflecting upon its very conditions. Thus, Sullivan's account fails by presupposing what in fact needs to be explained: the particularities.

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References found in this work

Phenomenology of Perception.Maurice Merleau-Ponty - 1945 - New York: Routledge. Edited by Donald A. Landes.
Phénoménologie de la perception.M. Merleau-Ponty - 1949 - Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 5 (4):466-466.
Sexual Ideology and Phenomenological Description.Judith Butler - 1989 - In Jeffner Allen & Iris Marion Young (eds.), The Thinking Muse: Feminism and Modern French Philosophy. Indiana University Press. pp. 85-100.

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