By Morny Joy
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Additional resources for Divine Love: Luce Irigaray, Women, Gender, and Religion
It is this mind/soul, whose existence is immortal, however, that constitutes for Descartes the essence of a person’s being. ‘I can infer correctly that my essence consists solely in the fact that I am a thinking thing’ (1984: 54). This last quotation is from the Sixth Meditation where Descartes elaborates at some length on both a mind/body interaction and the distinction between them. This builds on a differentiation he has made in the Fifth Meditation between innate ideas – such as that of God’s existence – and sensory experiences (1984: 44–6).
36 Perhaps these remarks have been made by Cavarero with Irigaray in mind, for she does seem to be drawing a distinction between herself and Irigaray’s primordial pursuits. Because her concerns are pragmatic, Cavarero concentrates, as does Braidotti, on those aspects of Irigaray’s work that are most useful for political recognition. 37 Neither woman discusses in any detail Sexes and Genealogies (1993b), the work where Irigaray speculates about a primal gynocracy and reveals her advocacy of particular ‘feminine’ traits as constitutive of women’s identity.
The conundrum of sexual difference Irigaray declares that the western tradition, in its obsession with sameness, ‘knows nothing of sexual difference, in the sense of the difference between men and women’ (1993b: 45). indd 29 29 12/5/06 14:01:39 Divine love lished, it must affirm, on Irigaray’s account, a ‘physiological and morphological complementarity between the sexes’ (107). In her attempts to describe this sexual difference, Irigaray is initially preoccupied with the significance of a naturalised biological distinctiveness for women (108), as she does not want them to be remain neutralised by a dominant male gender.