Chapter

Introduction

Sonia Kruks

in Simone de Beauvoir and the Politics of Ambiguity

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780195381443
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979165 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195381443.003.0000

Series: Studies in Feminist Philosophy

Introduction

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The introduction overviews Simone de Beauvoir's original contributions to political theory and philosophy while offering a survey of her life and works. The development of her key philosophical concept of “ambiguity” is elaborated. For Beauvoir, ambiguity arises from our paradoxical condition as at once embodied, material existences and free consciousnesses. For the materiality of our existence both enables us to engage with others and makes us vulnerable to harm from them. The implications of such ambiguity for politics include the ubiquitous presence of contingency, conflict, and even violence in politics; limits to rationalism; and the impossibility of morally pure political action. The introduction also overviews the topics of the subsequent chapters, in which Beauvoir's philosophy of ambiguity is brought to bear on a range of contemporary political issues, including humanism and posthumanism; modes of oppression; privilege; political judgment; and revenge and reconciliation after atrocity.

Keywords: ambiguity; Beauvoir; contingency; humanism; judgment; materiality; oppression; posthumanism; privilege; revenge

Chapter.  10524 words. 

Subjects: Feminist Philosophy

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