Challenging the fundamental tenet of the multicultural movement -- that social struggles turning upon race, gender, and sexuality are struggles for recognition -- this work offers a powerful critique of current conceptions of identity and ...
Nel Noddings, one of the central figures in the contemporary discussion of ethics and moral education, argues that caring--a way of life learned at home--can be extended into a theory that guides social policy. Tackling issues such as capital punishment, drug treatment, homelessness, mental illness, and abortion, Noddings inverts traditional philosophical priorities to show how an ethic of care can have profound and compelling implications for social and political thought. Instead of beginning with an ideal state and then describing a (...) role for home and family, this book starts with an ideal home and asks how what is learned there may be extended to the larger social domain. Noddings examines the tension between freedom and equality that characterized liberal thought in the twentieth century and finds that--for all its strengths--liberalism is still inadequate as social policy. She suggests instead that an attitude of attentive love in the home induces a corresponding responsiveness that can serve as a foundation for social policy. With her characteristic sensitivity to the individual and to the vulnerable in society, the author concludes that any corrective practice that does more harm than the behavior it is aimed at correcting should be abandoned. This suggests an end to the disastrous war on drugs. In addition, Noddings states that the caring professions that deal with the homeless should be guided by flexible policies that allow practitioners to respond adequately to the needs of very different clients. She recommends that the school curriculum should include serious preparation for home life as well as for professional and civic life. Emphasizing the importance of improving life in everyday homes and the possible role social policy might play in this improvement, _Starting at Home_ highlights the inextricable link between the development of care in individual lives and any discussion of moral life and social policy. (shrink)
Critically engaging the work of Immanuel Kant, Hannah Arendt, Martin Heidegger, and Jacques Derrida together with her own observations on contemporary politics, environmental degradation, and the pursuit of a just and sustainable world, Kelly Oliver lays the groundwork for a politics and ethics that embraces otherness without exploiting difference. Rooted firmly in human beings' relationship to the planet and to each other, Oliver shows peace is possible only if we maintain our ties to earth and world. Oliver begins with Immanuel (...) Kant and his vision of politics grounded on earth as a finite surface shared by humans. She then incorporates Hannah Arendt's belief in plural worlds constituted through human relationships; Martin Heidegger's warning that alienation from the Earth endangers not only politics but also the very essence of being human; and Jacques Derrida's meditations on the singular worlds individuals, human and otherwise, create and how they inform the reality we inhabit. Each of these theorists, Oliver argues, resists the easy idealism of world citizenship and globalism, yet they all think about the earth against the globe to advance a grounded ethics. They contribute to a philosophy that avoids globalization's totalizing and homogenizing impulses and instead help build a framework for living within and among the world's rich biodiversity. (shrink)
Introduction: The role of animals in philosophies of man -- Part I: What's wrong with animal rights? -- The right to remain silent -- Part II: Animal pedagogy -- You are what you eat : Rousseau's cat -- Say the human responded : Herder's sheep -- Part III: Difference worthy of its name -- Hair of the dog : Derrida's and Rousseau's good taste -- Sexual difference, animal difference : Derrida's sexy silkworm -- Part IV: It's our fault -- The (...) beaver's struggle with species-being : De Beauvoir and the praying mantis -- Answering the call of nature : Lacan walking the dog -- Part V: Estranged kinship -- The abyss between humans and animals : Heidegger puts the bee in being -- Strange kinship : Merleau-Ponty's sensuous stickleback -- Stopping the anthropological machine : Agamben's tick-tocking tick -- Psychoanalysis and the science of kinship -- Psychoanalysis as animal by-product : Freud's zoophilia -- Animal abjects, maternal abjects : Kristeva's strays -- Conclusion: Sustainable ethics. (shrink)
"... both an excellent introduction and a thoroughgoing analysis of Kristeva’s writing." —Signs "The book is a brilliant combination of a recuperative and a critical reading of Kristeva’s work." —Changes: An International Journal of Psychology & Psychotherapy "... a thorough, detailed, and critical analysis of the writings of Julia Kristeva." —Elizabeth Grosz "... the most involved and engaging study of Julia Kristeva’s work to date..." —The Year’s Work in Critical and Cultural Theory This first full-scale feminist interpretation of Kristeva’s work (...) situates her within the context of French feminism. Oliver guides her readers through Kristeva’s intellectual formation in linguistics, Freud, Lacan, and poetics. This comprehensive introduction to Kristeva makes accessible her important contributions to philosophy, linguistics, and psychoanalytic feminism. (shrink)
The work of the distinguished philosopher Sarah Kofman has, since her tragic death in 1994, become a focus for many scholars interested in contemporary French philosophy. The first critical collection on her thought to appear in English, Enigmas evaluates Kofman's most important contributions to philosophy, psychoanalytic theory, feminism, and literary theory. These insightful essays range from analyses of Kofman's first book, L'Enfance de l'art, to her last, L'Imposture de la beauté. This unique volume represents the major themes in Kofman's scholarship: (...) literature and aesthetics; philosophy and metaphor; women, feminism, and psychoanalysis; and Jews and German nationalism. Selected essays explore and diagnose Kofman's personal struggles as they are reflected in her writing. (shrink)
In ____Womanizing Nietzsche,__ Kelly Oliver uses an analysis of the position of woman in Nietzsche's texts to open onto the larger question of philosophy's relation to the feminine and the maternal. Offering readings from Nietzsche, Derrida, Irigaray, Kristeva, Freud and Lacan, Oliver builds an innovative foundation for an ontology of intersubjective relationships that suggests a new approach to ethics.
This important new book explores the contemporary refugee crisis and the untold realities and experiences of refugees themselves. A team of top scholars offer a critical and necessary diagnosis of the challenges, complexities, and contradictions impacting our philosophical approaches to the contemporary figure of the refugee.
Family Values shows how the various contradictions at the heart of Western conceptions of maternity and paternity problematize our relationships with ourselves and with others. Using philosophical texts, psychoanalytic theory, studies in biology and popular culture, Kelly Oliver challenges our traditional concepts of maternity which are associated with nature, and our conceptions of paternity which are embedded in culture. Oliver's intervention calls into question the traditional image of the oppositional relationship between nature and culture, maternal and paternal. Family Values also (...) undercuts recent returns to the rhetoric of a "battle between the sexes" by analyzing the conceptual basis of these descriptions in biological research and the presuppositions of such suggestions in philosophy and psychoanalysis. By developing a reconception of maternity and paternity, Family Values offers hope for peace in the battle of the sexes. (shrink)
We are, Julia Kristeva writes, strangers to ourselves; and indeed much of contemporary theory describes the human condition as one of alienation. Eloquently arguing that we cannot explain the developement of individuality or subjectivity apart from its social context, Kelly Oliver makes a powerful case for recognizing the social aspects of alienation and the psychic aspects of oppression.
The pathologization of women’s depression covers over the social and institutional causes of that symptomology. Insofar as patriarchal values continue to devalue and debase women and mothers in ways that colonize psychic space, and depression becomes a cover for what I call ‘social melancholy.’ This is not the melancholy of traditional psychoanalysis, but a form of melancholy that results from oppression, domination, and the colonization of psychic space. Social melancholy differs from both Freud’s notion of melancholy in that it is (...) the result of social factors that constitute the depressed subject as ashamed and lacking agency. Crucial to my analysis is a distinction between shame and guilt missing from traditional psychoanalytic accounts of melancholy and depression. (shrink)
For at least the last twenty years, philosophers have attempted various strategies for reviving the Hegelian notion of recognition and redeploying it in discourses centered around social justice, including multiculturalism, feminism, race theory, and queer theory. Hegel’s master-slave dialectic may seem like an obvious place to start to analyze the oppression of one group by another. Given that Hegel is not literally talking about slaves, however, but a stage of consciousness, indeed the onset of self-consciousness, we might wonder why his (...) notion of recognition has become so important to these contemporary discourses on oppression. One reason is that the Hegelian model of recognition proposes that.. (shrink)
Editor's introduction -- Author's introduction -- Interrelational subjects and social sublimation -- The gestation of the other in phenomenology -- The look of love and ecological subjectivity -- Social melancholy, shame and sublimation -- Responsible subjects and witnessing -- Witnessing subjectivity and testimony -- Witnessing, recognition, and response ethics -- Between ethics and politics -- Response ethics and the nonhumans -- Animal ethics: toward an ethics of responsiveness -- Service dogs: between animal studies and disability studies -- Earth ethics and (...) creaturely cohabitation -- Witnessing in the age of spectacle -- Death as a penalty and instant death -- Rape as spectator sport and creepshot entertainment -- The spectacle of war -- Bibliography -- Index. (shrink)
In Subjectivity without Subjects, well-known philosopher and feminist theorist Kelly Oliver looks at aspects of popular culture, film, science, and law to examine contemporary notions of paternity and maternity. Oliver studies the roles of paternal responsibility, virility, and race in such events as the Million Man March and the Promise Keeper's movement and suggests alternative ways to conceive of self-other relations and the subjective identity at stake in them. In addition she offers a detailed analysis of particular works by such (...) well-known filmmakers as Polanski, Bergman, and Varda in developing a theory of identity that opens the subject to otherness and difference. (shrink)
As a linguist, Julia Kristeva has pioneered a revolutionary theory of the sign in its relation to social and political emancipation; as a practicing psychoanalyst, she has produced work on the nature of the human subject and sexuality, and on the "new maladies" of today's neurotic. _The Portable Kristeva_ is the only fully comprehensive compilation of Kristeva's key writings. The second edition includes added material from Kristeva's most important works of the past five years, including _The Sense and Non-Sense of (...) Revolt_, _Intimate Revolt_, and _Hannah Arendt_. Editor Kelly Oliver has also added new material to the introduction, summarizing Kristeva's latest intellectual endeavors and updating the bibliography. (shrink)
My essay is framed by Hypatia's first special issue on Motherhood and Sexuality at one end, and by the most recent special issue (as of this writing) on the work of Iris Young, whose work on pregnant embodiment has become canonical, at the other. The questions driving this essay are: When we look back over the last twenty-five years, what has changed in our conceptions of pregnancy and maternity, both in feminist theory and in popular culture? What aspects of feminist (...) debates from the 1970s and 1980s are still relevant today? And, how might what appear to be radical shifts in popular perceptions of pregnancy actually continue traditional values that objectify and “abjectify” the maternal body?Here, I will focus on three central elements of the revaluation of pregnancy and maternity as they show up in feminist philosophy and in popular culture: 1. The relationship between pregnancy and sexuality, both in terms of pregnant sexuality and in terms of the pregnant body as sexual object; 2. The “choice” to become a mother as a “feminist choice”; 3. The temporality of pregnancy and birth as marking something like “women's time.”. (shrink)
This essay critically engages the work of John Harris and Jürgen Habermas on the issue of genetic engineering. It does so from the standpoint of women's embodied experience of pregnancy and parenting, challenging the choice–chance binary at work in these accounts.
Nietzsche has the reputation of being a virulent misogynist, so why are feminists interested in his philosophy? The essays in this volume provide answers to this question from a variety of feminist perspectives. The organization of the volume into two sets of essays, "Nietzsche's Use of Woman" and "Feminists' Use of Nietzsche," reflects the two general approaches taken to the issue of Nietzsche and woman. First, many debates have focused on how to interpret Nietzsche's remarks about women and femininity. Are (...) all of Nietzsche's comments to be read literally, or is he being ironic, perhaps even parodying and subverting stereotypes about women? Second, is his philosophy useful to feminist theory? Can we separate his philosophy from his seemingly derogatory remarks about women? Can feminists use his criticisms of truth, objectivity, reason, and the autonomous subject to challenge the exclusion of women from the history of philosophy? Some view his critiques of dualism and essentialism as well as his perspectivism and social constructivism as adumbrating later feminist positions. Others find troubling his privileging of masculinity and paradigms of domination; they see Nietzsche's sexual dualism as countering otherwise transgressive themes. Contributors are Debra Bergoffen, Maudmarie Clark, Daniel Conway, Jacques Derrida, Jean Graybeal, Kathleen Higgins, Luce Irigaray, Sarah Kofman, Tamsin Lorraine, Kelly Oliver, David Owen, Marilyn Pearsall, Ofelia Schutte, Linda Singer, Lynne Tirrell, and Kathleen Wininger. (shrink)
The concepts of animal, human, and rights are all part of a philosophical tradition that trades on foreclosing the animal, animality, and animals. Rather than looking to qualities or capacities that make animals the same as or different from humans, I investigate the relationship between the human and the animal. To insist, as animal rights and welfare advocates do, that our ethical obligations to animals are based on their similarities to us reinforces the type of humanism that leads to treating (...) animals—and other people—as subordinates. But, if recent philosophies of difference are any indication, we can acknowledge difference without acknowledging our dependence on animals, or without including animals in ethical considerations. Animal ethics requires rethinking both identity and difference by focusing on relationships and responsivity. My aim is not only to suggest an animal ethics but also to show how ethics itself is transformed by considering animals. (shrink)
This essay argues that Hegel's discussion of the family in "The Ethical Order" section of Phenomenology of Spirit undermines the entire project of that text. Hegel's project demands that every element of consciousness be conceptualizable, and yet, woman, an essential unconscious element of consciousness, is in principle unconceptualizable. The end of the essay attempts to relate Hegel's discussion of the family to contemporary discussions of family values.
Using deconstruction, this book approaches contemporary problems raised by technologies of life and death from cloning to capital punishment; and thereby, provides new insights into current debates from a perspective outside of mainstream philosophy with its assumptions of individual and political sovereignty.
In this article, I argue that the liberal framework-its autonomous individuals with equal rights-allows judges to justify enforcing surrogacy contracts. More importantly, even where judges do not enforce surrogacy contracts, the liberal framework conceals gender and class issues which insure that the surrogate will lose custody of her child. I suggest that Marx's analysis of estranged labor can reveal the class and gender issues which the liberal framework conceals.
This collection of essays provides a reassessment of the question of sexual difference, taking into account important shifts in feminist thought, post-humanist theories, and queer studies. The contributors offer new and refreshing insights into the complex question of sexual difference from a post-feminist perspective, and how it is reformulated in various related areas of study, such as ontology, epistemology, metaphysics, biology, technology, and mass-media.
Our stereotypes of maternity and paternity as manifest in the history of philosophy and psychoanalysis interfere with the ability to imagine loving relationships. The associations of maternity with antisocial nature and paternity with disembodied culture are inadequate to set up primary love relationships. Analyzing the conflicts in these associations, I reformulate the maternal body as social and lawful, and I reformulate the paternal function as embodied, which enables imagining our primary relationships as loving.
: Our stereotypes of maternity and paternity as manifest in the history of philosophy and psychoanalysis interfere with the ability to imagine loving relationships. The associations of maternity with antisocial nature and paternity with disembodied cul-ture are inadequate to set up primary love relationships. Analyzing the conflicts in these associations, I reformulate the maternal body as social and lawful, and I re-formulate the paternal function as embodied, which enables imagining our primary relationships as loving.
My short essay on Irigaray’s relation to Nietzsche could be divided into the beginnings of six arguments: First, Nietzsche continues to hold a special place in Irigaray’s thinking. Second, Amante Marine is an important part of Irigaray’s elemental philosophy. Third, Irigaray’s insistence on depth over surface in Amante Marine points to two different ways Nietzsche has been taken up in French Philosophy, which could be characterized as the difference between surface and depth. Fourth, Irigaray’s Amante Marine anticipates the most recent (...) direction in Nietzsche scholarship, which focuses on plants and the earth. Fifth, following Nietzsche, Irigaray suggests that we can learn lessons about sharing the earth from plants. And, finally, Irigaray’s elemental philosophy resonates with my own conception of earth ethics as responsiveness to other earthlings and our environment, which I develop in my recent book Earth and World. (shrink)
Lack of consent is valorized within popular culture to the point that sexual assault has become a spectator sport and creepshot entertainment on social media. Indeed, the valorization of nonconsensual sex has reached the extreme where sex with unconscious girls, especially accompanied by photographs as trophies, has become a goal of some boys and men.
I challenge the age-old binary opposition between human and animal, not as philosophers sometimes do by claiming that humans are also animals, or that animals are capable of suffering or intelligence, but rather by questioning the very category of “the animal” itself. This category groups a nearly infinite variety of living beings into one concept measured in terms of humans—animals are those creatures that are not human. In addition, I argue that the binary opposition between human and animal is intimately (...) linked to the binary opposition between man and woman. Furthermore, I suggest that thinking through animal differences or differences among various living creatures opens up the possibility of thinking beyond the dualist notion of sexual difference and enables thinking toward a multiplicity of sexual differences. (shrink)
In this chapter, Kelly Oliver argues that while risk-benefit analysis may be necessary in a crisis situation such as the Covid-19 pandemic, that does not make it ethical. To the contrary, risk-benefit analysis is antithetical to ethics defined as responsibility to the singularity of each living being. Triage medicine, developed for the battlefield during wartime, relies on risk-benefit calculations. For example, calculations about which patient has the best chance for survival, or which patient has the best chance of quality of (...) life or continued longevity. In the current pandemic, these calculations were based on population categories of health such as diabetes, coronary disease, obesity, and age, along with assessments of the individual patient’s condition. While such assessments may meet practical policy demands, ultimately, they are not ethical. In the end, she argues for what she calls “response ethics” as an alternative to utilitarian risk-benefit analysis. (shrink)
Agamben maintains that Heidegger continues the work of the anthropological machine by defining Dasein as uniquely open to the closedness of the animal. Yet, Agamben’s own thinking does not so much open up the concept of animal as it attempts to save humanity from the anthropological machine that always produces the animal as the constitutive outside within the human itself. Agamben’s return to religious metaphors at best displaces the binary man-animal with the binary religion-science, and at worst returns us to (...) a discourse at least as violent as the one from which he is trying to escape. Merleau-Ponty’s reanimation of science provides an alternative. (shrink)
: I begin to suggest an alternative to the notion of vision based in alienation and hostility put forth by Jean-Paul Sartre, Sigmund Freud, and Jacques Lacan. I diagnose this alienating vision as a result of a particular alienating notion of space presupposed by their theories. I develop Irigaray's comments about light and air to suggest an alternative notion of space that opens up the possibility that vision connects us to others rather than alienates us from them.
In this essay, I argue that the contemporary notion of law has been reduced to regulations and disciplinary codes that do not and cannot give meaning to our emotional lives and moral sensibilities. As a result, we have increasing numbers of what I call “abysmal individuals” who suffer from a split between law—broadly conceived as that which gives form and structure to social life—and personal embodied sensations of pain and pleasure. My attempt to understand the place of Abu Ghraib within (...) American culture leads to an analysis of our valorization of innocence and ignorance that not only becomes the grounds on which we morally (if not legally) excuse abusive behavior as “fun,” but also becomes part of the justification for condoning some forms of violence while condemning others. In addition, I argue that the distinction between legitimate and illegitimate violence trades on underlying assumptions about the relationship between culture and nature, technology and bodies, wherein bodies are imagined as natural and outside of the realm of law. (shrink)
The images from wars in the Middle East that haunt us are those of young women killing and torturing. Their media circulated stories share a sense of shock. They have both galvanized and confounded debates over feminism and women's equality. And, as Oliver argues in this essay, they share, perhaps subliminally, the problematic notion of women as both offensive and defensive weapons of war, a notion that is symptomatic of fears of women's “mysterious” powers.
The images from wars in the Middle East that haunt us are those of young women killing and torturing. Their media circulated stories share a sense of shock. They have both galvanized and confounded debates over feminism and women's equality. And, as Oliver argues in this essay, they share, perhaps subliminally, the problematic notion of women as both offensive and defensive weapons of war, a notion that is symptomatic of fears of women's "mysterious" powers.
I argue that although in “The Gender/Science System,” Keller intends to formulate a middle ground position in order to open science to feminist criticisms without forcing it into relativism, she steps back into objectivism. While she endorses the dynamic-object model for science, she endorses the static-object model for philosophy of science. I suggest that by modeling her methodology for philosophy on her methodology for science her philosophy would better serve her feminist goals.
Julia Kristeva is known as rejecting feminism, nonetheless her work is useful for feminist theory. I reconsider Kristeva's rejection of feminism and her theories of difference, identity, and maternity, elaborating on Kristeva's contributions to debates over the necessity of identity politics, indicating how Kristeva's theory suggests the cause of and possible solutions to women's oppression in Western culture, and, using Kristeva's theory, setting up a framework for a feminist rethinking of politics and ethics.