Part I (chapters 2-5) focus on Daniel Waterland. This introductory chapter to Part I offers a sense of eighteenth-century orthodoxy’s doctrinal content and its modes of argument. It does so by sketching the lineaments of Daniel Waterland’s theological approach. It begins by considering Waterland’s 1710 Advice to a young student, a compulsory educational manual for eighteenth-century Magdalene College students. The bulk of the chapter anatomizes the arguments in a set of archidiaconal visitation charges. His message in them was clear: truth is constant; some doctrines are fundamental to Christianity; and those fundamentals are to be found in the primitive sources of the Christian past rightly interpreted. This chapter establishes which truths the eighteenth-century orthodox thought were constant and how they could be recovered in their original purity from the primitive Christian past.
This introductory chapter uses the Thomas Woolston and Thomas Rundle controversies of the 1720s and 1730s to introduce the book’s historiographical framework. This chapter argues that the eighteenth-century English saw themselves as living within the Reformation, which is why religion predominated the era’s print culture. The English Reformation spurred a long conversation, one which was fundamentally about what constituted truth. Eighteenth-century polemical divinity grappled both with what constituted truth and with the consequences of divisions over what constituted truth. For this reason, some during the eighteenth century feared that they lived in an unending Reformation.
Luce Irigaray's project is to make the case for sexually different subjects in philosophy, in psychoanalytic theory, and in Western culture generally. The logic of fluidity is indispensable to Irigaray's project as a whole, and nowhere more so than in Elemental Passions. Irigaray's use of the Greeks as reference points must be taken seriously, even though she prefers allusions and associations of ideas rather than direct reference or quotation. Even if logical systems have often been used as technologies of control, it remains the case that most people do want to think clearly and do not want to be deceived. In particular, it would be perverse to draw the conclusion that logic is of no interest to feminists, and even more perverse to fall into the patriarchal trap of ascribing unemotional rationality to man and irrational emotions to women.
The recognition of a female subject is relatively recent in Western philosophy, through Western intellectual history, it has been assumed to be normatively male. This book provides the first English commentary on Luce Irigaray's poetic text, Elemental Passions, setting it within its context within continental thought. It explores Irigaray's images and intentions, developing the gender drama that takes place within her book, and draws the reader into the conversation in the text between 'I-woman' and 'you-man'. In Irigaray's philosophy of sexual difference love is of ultimate significance for the development and mutual relationship of two subjects. The book explains how the lack of a subject position for women is related to the emergence of rigid binaries, and catches a hint of how subversive attention to fluidity is to the masculinist pattern. This emphasis on desire and sexual difference obviously intersects with the psychoanalytic theories of S. Freud and J. Lacan, theories which had enormous impact on French philosophers of the time. Irigaray has used vivid imagery from the very beginning of her writings. A few of her images, in particular that of the lips, have become famous in feminist writings. The development of mutually affirming sexual subjects, different but not oppositional, and thereby the destabilizing of traditional binary categories of oppositional logic, is simultaneously highly innovative and has far-reaching consequences. The book presents a critique of Irigaray's methods and contentions to critical scrutiny, revisiting the idea of fluidity in relation to logic.
Elemental Passions makes few concessions to the reader. Both in style and content it is elusive, open to various interpretations. The performative nature of the text is reinforced by elusive, poetic language which renders any interpretation even more tentative. The style of Elemental Passions reflects the fluidity and the motion of its female subject. Themes such as identity and difference in man's appropriation of woman, the philosophical categories of time and space, death and birth, and the formation of subjects through the love between man and woman occur repeatedly throughout Elemental Passions. They are revisited only partly in order to move events between man and woman or the argument about subjectivity forward; their more important function is to create awareness and understanding in the reader.
Elemental Passions has given us an insight into a new way of thinking, using images of fluidity which reconfigure sexual difference and thereby subvert the rigidity of the binary logic of traditional philosophy and psychoanalysis. The female subject who struggles to become in Elemental Passions is not a subject in isolation. Lips are characteristic of women for Luce Irigaray from early in her writings, and continue to play a central role in the imagery of Elemental Passions. The significance of Irigarayan lips lies in the fact that although two lips are not one, neither can they be neatly separated into two; they certainly cannot be construed as binary opposites. Irigaray suggests that the flower is an image with multiple resonances for woman in relation to man. Irigaray suggests that the flower is an image with multiple resonances for woman in relation to man.
This chapter presents interpretive synopsis of Luce Irigaray's Elemental Passions. Elemental Passions consist of fifteen chapters. It introduces key events in the relationship between you-man and I-woman. You-man has responded to I-woman's invitation to a mutually empowering love rather than a love which controls and consumes. Elemental Passions presents a meditation on the element of fire. It is full of references to flame, the sun, the sky, the clear horizon, flashes of lightning; and their contrasts: night, darkness, shadowy enclosure. In Speculum, Irigaray gives a reading of Plato's myth of the cave which reveals its implicit gender connotations. In language reminiscent of Speculum, Irigaray suggests that even when they come out of the cave, Plato's prisoners have to impose binary categories of thought in order to cope with reality. Elemental Passions offers a meditation on the nature of time, space, infinity and movement.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book focuses on sexual difference, the difference between men and women and argues that this difference has not been sufficiently recognized or acknowledged within Western thought. It considers the centrality of binary logic for Western philosophical thinking exemplified by Parmenides, and shows how Luce Irigaray appeals to Empe-docles to destabilize the hegemony of the binary system and to introduce the idea of a fluid logic. The book also considers the same binary system with its implicitly male subject in its psychoanalytic manifestation. It revisits the rigid binary systems of philosophy and psychoanalysis and also shows how these fields of thought could be enriched by intellectual and subjective formation that is forever fluid.
This chapter discusses Luce Irigaray's uneasy relationship with the psychoanalytic theory of Freud and Jacques Lacan, an uneasiness which mirrors her relationship with the trajectory of Western philosophy, which she both appropriates and tries to destabilize. In 'Female Sexuality', first published in 1931, Freud argues that boys and girls develop along the same lines until their third year. Irigaray criticizes Freud for making woman's reproductive capacity the most central aspect in his account of female sexuality. Like Freud, Lacan distinguishes various phases in the development of subjectivity. For Lacan woman's role is to enable man to experience oneness, self-recognition. The chapter presents Irigaray's critique of both Freud's and Lacan's interpretations of the Fort!Da! game and shows how she starts her development of a female language from their accounts.
This chapter presents a critique of Luce Irigaray's method and her claims regarding the development of a female subject. Irigaray argues in This Sex Which Is Not One that women are in a unique position on the borders of patriarchy. The question of difference among Irigaray's possible addressees is closely related to her choice of discussion partners. Moreover, it is not surprising that since Irigaray pays attention chiefly to male thinkers, the primary difference she sets up between herself and her dialogue partners is sexual difference. In terms of Irigaray's intentions, as evidenced both in Elemental Passions and throughout her other writings, there is little to indicate that she herself thought of 'I-woman' as a signifier for difference itself. The barriers that divide can be replaced by fluid boundaries that allow for mutuality between subjects with multiple differences.