Reclamation from Absence? Luce Irigaray and Women in the History of Philosophy

Hypatia 28 (3):483-498 (2013)
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Luce Irigaray's work does not present an obvious resource for projects seeking to reclaim women in the history of philosophy. Indeed, many authors introduce their reclamation project with an argument against conceptions, attributed to Irigaray or “French feminists” more generally, that the feminine is the excluded other of discourse. These authors claim that if the feminine is the excluded other of discourse, then we must conclude that even if women have written philosophy they have not given voice to feminine subjectivity; therefore, reclamation is a futile project. In this essay, I argue against such conclusions. Rather, I argue, Irigaray's work requires that philosophy be transformed through the reclamation of women's writing. She gives us a method of reclamation for the most difficult cases: those in which we have no record of women's writing. Irigaray offers this method through an engagement with the character of Diotima in Plato's Symposium. The method Irigaray demonstrates is reclamation as love
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