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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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Sexual Difference in Potentiality and Actuality

Sexual Difference in Potentiality and Actuality

(p.183) Chapter Six Sexual Difference in Potentiality and Actuality
The Feminine Symptom

Emanuela Bianchi

Fordham University Press

In this chapter, Aristotle’s understanding of being in terms of potentiality (dunamis) and actuality (energeia or entelecheia) in Metaphysics IX is analyzed in relation to sexual difference, and juxtaposed with the usage of dunamis in Generation of Animals. In dialogue with Heidegger’s reading, the relationship between matter and dunamis is outlined, and the relationship between dunamis and the feminine symptom explored especially in relation to passive dunamis. In Generation of Animals the feminine is associated less with potentiality than with impotentiality or impotence (adunamia), and Aristotle’s account of heredity is examined, as is the relationship among femininity, lack, and castration in Aristotle’s texts. The chapter concludes with a consideration of Aristotle’s rendering of actuality in relation to the feminine symptom.

Keywords:   Potentiality, Actuality, Sexual difference, Heidegger, Castration, Impotency, Passivity, Heredity, Aristotle, Metaphysics

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