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The Feminine SymptomAleatory Matter in the Aristotelian Cosmos$
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Emanuela Bianchi

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823262182

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823262182.001.0001

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The Physics of Sexual Difference in Aristotle and Irigaray

The Physics of Sexual Difference in Aristotle and Irigaray

Chapter:
(p.114) Chapter Four The Physics of Sexual Difference in Aristotle and Irigaray
Source:
The Feminine Symptom
Author(s):

Emanuela Bianchi

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823262182.003.0005

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

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