What does the study of Plato’s dialogues tell us about the modern meaning of ‘sex’? How can recent developments in the philosophy of sex and gender help us read these ancient texts anew? _Plato and Sex _addresses these questions for the first time. Each chapter demonstrates how the modern reception of Plato’s works Ð in both mainstream and feminist philosophy and psychoanalytical theory Ð has presupposed a ‘natural-biological’ conception of what sex might mean. Through a critical comparison between our current (...) understanding of sex and Plato’s notion of genos, Plato and Sex puts this presupposition into question. With its groundbreaking interpretations of the Republic, the Symposium and the Timaeus, this book opens up a new approach to sex as a philosophical concept. Including critical readings of the theories of sex and sexuation in Freud and Lacan, and relating such theories to Plato’s writings, _Plato and Sex_ both questions our assumptions about sex and explains how those assumptions have coloured our understanding of Plato. What results is not only an original reading of some of the most prominent aspects of Plato’s philosophy, but a new attempt to think through the meaning of sex today. (shrink)
This chapter discusses translators’ efforts to render the grammatical gender of Plato’s Greek in passages of the Republic, and to translate his terms noting differences between men and women with terms associated with the identity-defining concepts of sex and gender. It argues that the translation of 'genos' as 'sex' reveals less about the source text than about the role of the concept of sex in the translating culture. A discussion of a similar controversy in contemporary translation shows how debates over (...) the French translation of 'gender' as genre are embroiled in issues of national identity. The chapter demonstrates how translation and its analysis may simultaneously express and contest cultural assumptions about sex and gender. (shrink)
This chapter examines the apparent proximity between Schopenhauer’s and Freud’s views on the nature and importance of what is called, amongst other things, ‘sexuality’, the ‘sexual impulse’, the ‘sexual instinct’ or ‘the ‘sexual drive’. It argues, against the idea that Freud's conception is basically borrowed from Schopenhauer, for the originality of Freud’s early theory of sexuality and suggest that the significance of this theory, apart from its obvious psychiatric and social import, lies in its possible contribution to a philosophical anthropology. (...) The chapter returns to the first, 1905 edition of the Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality to argue for the originality of Freud’s conception of the sexual drive, in relation to both his philosophical and his psychiatric predecessors. It argues that Freud’s terminological shift in the Three Essays from the Geschlechtstrieb to the Sexualtrieb, both of which Strachey translates as ‘sexual instinct’ is evidence of a theoretical shift. Examining the notion of the Geschlechtstrieb in Freud’s predecessors and its relation to presumptions about the difference between the sexes allows the distinctiveness of Freud’s conception of the Sexualtrieb and thus his theory of sexuality to stand out. After examining the claims in the literature concerning the relation between Schopenhauer and Kant on the question of sexuality, it lays out the conception of the Geschlechtstrieb in Freud’s immediate psychiatric predecessors and its connection to the treatment of the same topic in Kant, Schopenhauer and Hartmann. It then demonstrates, with reference to Freud’s shift to the use of the term Sexualtrieb, how Freud develops a conception of the sexual drive and of sexuality that is quite different to the conception of the Geschlechtstrieb in Schopenhauer et al. The chapter ends by suggesting how Freud’s theory of sexuality is a contribution to a philosophical anthropology based on considerations quite foreign to his predecessors. (shrink)
This interdisciplinary article takes a philosophical approach to The Interpretation of Dreams, connecting Freud to one of the few philosophers with whom he sometimes identified - Immanuel Kant. It aims to show that Freud's theory of dreams has more in common with Bion's later thoughts on dreaming than is usually recognized. Distinguishing, via a discussion of Kant, between the conflicting 'epistemological' and 'anthropological' aspects of The Interpretation of Dreams, it shows that one specific contradiction in the book - concerning the (...) relation between dream-work and waking thought - can be understood in terms of the tension between these conflicting aspects. Freud reaches the explicit conclusion that the dream-work and waking thought differ from each other absolutely; but the implicit conclusion of The Interpretation of Dreams is quite the opposite. This article argues that the explicit conclusion is the result of the epistemological aspects of the book; the implicit conclusion, which brings Freud much closer to Bion, the result of the anthropological approach. Bringing philosophy and psychoanalysis together this paper thus argues for an interpretation of The Interpretation of Dreams that is in some ways at odds with the standard view of the book, while also suggesting that aspects of Kant's 'anthropological' works might legitimately be seen as a precursor of psychoanalysis. (shrink)
Written for an introductory series, this book contains the outcome of research into the disputed place of Beauvoir's work within the French philosophical tradition, and the philosophical significance of various of her particular works.
This is a critical evaluation of the feminist philosophical literature on the work of Emmanuel Levinas. It brought to a close Sandford's research on Levinas, the main outcome of which was her "The Metaphysics of Love : Levinas and Transcendence".
This chapter examines the relationship between feminist theory and critical theory in Gillian Howie’s Between Feminism and Materialism, and the relation of both to philosophy. The chapter suggests that the relation between feminist theory and critical theory is a contradictory one in which the partners are at the same time close and yet estranged. It examines how Howie characterises this state of affairs and affirms her aim of 'putting Critical Theory to work for feminist theory’, explaining how her return to (...) a set of revivified Marxist categories does this. However, it also argues that Howie’s specific attempt to bring a certain aspect of critical theory to bear on the understanding of sex and gender is limited by its relation to feminist philosophy. But it ends by suggesting that the work undertaken in Between Feminism and Materialism can be extended in another direction to begin the project of a critical theory of sex and a critique of the gender industry. (shrink)