Contents of spoon-archives/french-feminism.archive/Lubbock.abstracts/switala

ABSTRACT FOR THE 1997 FRENCH FEMINISM ACROSS THE DISCIPLINES CONFERENCE AT TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY "Cixous and Chawaf: Moving Beyond Philosophical Ethics Towards a Philosomy" by Kristin Switala University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Contemporary French Feminism has made a concerted effort to move beyond traditional, masculine, absolutist ethics towards something different by introducing the feminine into language. This can clearly be seen in the works of Helene Cixous and Chantal Chawaf. Both writers refrain from recourse to abstract principles or to ethics based on reason and rationality when considering how one should act in a given situation. Instead, Cixous and Chawaf concentrate on the body and its desires as a way of understanding three things: why humans act in particular ways, what effects these actions have on the self and on other human beings, and how a praxis based on bodily care could improve our ethical relations with each other. This strategy results ina new understanding of ethical action, one which emerges from physical causes and events, such as birth, sexual relations, and maternity. The term which I use to identify this new type of ethics is "philosomy," from the Greek words "philo" (love) and "soma" (body). Philosomy, a loving of the body, is the strategy used by these French feminist writers to renew the importance of the body in ethical considerations, which can help renew ethics in general. As I will show in this paper, philosomy means respecting, valuing, taking care of, and not harming one's own body or the bodies of others. in general terms, philosomy is a praxis, a way of conducting oneself in relation to the world. In this paper I will show how such a philosomy emerges out of the writings of Cixous and Chawaf and discuss how such a strategy of ethical action could help us today.

Driftline Main Page


Display software: ArchTracker © Malgosia Askanas, 2000-2005