Sexual Difference

Andrea Hurst

in Derrida Vis-à-vis Lacan

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print May 2008 | ISBN: 9780823228744
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235179 | DOI:

Series: Perspectives in Continental Philosophy

Sexual Difference

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A Lacanian account of sexual difference exemplifies the logic of différance. This chapter addresses a trouble that both Lacan and Derrida persistently grapple with: that of understanding difference in terms of binary oppositions. Some thinkers argue that this binary is a fundamental, undeconstructible bottom line that one cannot get beyond. The opposing view is that this binary opposition is as deconstructible as any other and should give way to an unregulated proliferation of differences. The former is assumed to be the Lacanian position (but not, of course, by Lacanians); the second is supposed to be the Derridean (but, again, not by Derrideans). There is, in other words, mutual misrecognition on both sides of this equation. Contrary to the aforementioned reading, it seems clear enough that Lacan's infamous claim concerning the sexual relation — namely, that it does not exist — offers a deconstruction of any conception of sexual difference as binary.

Keywords: Jacques Lacan; Jacques Derrida; sexual difference; différance; binary oppositions; deconstruction

Chapter.  10401 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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