Penelope Lisa Deutscher | Sexual difference and the critique of critique

By Penelope Lisa Deutscher

Irigaray attributes to Nietzsche the dream of one who neither wants to have been born, nor to continue being born, at every instant, of a female other’ ( Marine Lover, 26) . But what does that mean for the possibilities of dialogue between Irigaray and Nietzsche in particular? On the one hand, Nietzsche is taken to repudiate and appropriate sexual difference and to deny maternal origins. In this respect, Irigaray directs at him a critique also directed at a large number of other philosophers.  On the other hand, Irigaray considers sexual difference to be, Nietzsche’s real abyss. When eternal recurrence loses its status as the most abyssal thought, it takes on a double status. It is converted by Irigaray to a symptom, but also to a candidate for replacement. This response makes a case for retaining more of the singularity of Irigaray’s response to Nietzsche when she  introduces an ethical field into a philosophical framework that can only repudiate it. In so doing Irigaray offers us the curious confrontation between  different works of innovations in the very form of critique. How, then,  do their  conflicting  gestures of “critique of critique” impact, positively, or negatively,  the ethics of sexual difference Irigaray sees as plausibly emerging from her reading of Nietzsche?

NB: This intervention will focus mostly on these passages from Irigaray.