Chapter

The Physics of Sexual Difference in Aristotle and Irigaray

Emanuela Bianchi

in The Feminine Symptom

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print September 2014 | ISBN: 9780823262182
Published online May 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780823266449 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fordham/9780823262182.003.0005
The Physics of Sexual Difference in Aristotle and Irigaray

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Irigaray reads Aristotle on place in the Physics as giving a conception of sexual difference in which woman is resigned to a placeholder or container for man. This chapter deepens her analysis. Aristotle reduces Plato’s chôra (space) to place and matter, And yet desire in the heavens is homoerotic, seeking the impassive masculine prime mover rather than feminine place. Place appears as an earthly supplement to the masculine prime mover, and this complicates the gendering of place as feminine. Indeed in De Caelo proper place, with regard to the upward and downward motion of the elements, is also finally figured as form. Aleatory matter disturbs the notion of a proper or final teleological place, and also disturbs a binary conception of gender, feminine container and masculine contained, showing the operation of the feminine symptom and opening up the possibility of a queer topology of gender.

Keywords: Aristotle; Irigaray; Physics; De Caelo; Place; Topos; Form; Gender; Matter; Queer

Chapter.  10778 words. 

Subjects: Feminist Philosophy

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