In the last decade, the importance of Simone de Beauvoir’s contribution to 20th-century French philosophy has been beyond debate. However, it can be tempting to read her contributions as the dated beginnings of feminist philosophy, and to believe that her work is only interesting from the perspective of the history of philosophy. To the contrary, this article claims that contemporary philosophers can and should take Beauvoirian philosophy as a source of fruitful insights on contemporary issues in political and moral philosophy by showing the limited scope of two classic critiques of Beauvoir and by defending the relevance of her work for thinking about female submission and the importance of erotic experience.
This paper argues that The Second Sex can be read as a compelling philosophical exploration of masculinity: Beauvoir proposes to understand masculinity as a situation which is historically, socially, and economically defined. It is an impasse as men are stuck in a position where they seek recognition from women but they construct women in such a way that the recognition women can give them is always incomplete and unsatisfying. Showing that masculinity is an impasse is important in itself, and it’s also crucial for Beauvoir’s feminist emancipatory agenda: it shows that men have non- altruistic reasons to take part in the movement of women’s emancipation.
BDSM is no longer treated as a manifestation of the darkest twists of the human soul but rather as a sexual activity like many others. Moreover, the philosophy of sex and much of popular culture has come to embrace BDSM for its models of consent, exploration, and freedom. Yet celebrating BDSM without deeper reflection can obscure some serious moral issues. In this chapter, I present an overview of the moral issues raised by BDSM, and I argue that it is reductive to see BDSM as a simple or straightforward model for how to practice egalitarian sex. Yet, BDSM communities grapple with issues of consent, autonomy, and power in important ways, which can help us think through broader issues in sexual ethics. Either way, BDSM must be understood in its full complexity.
« De l’oppression à l’indépendance. La philosophie de l’amour dans Le Deuxième Sexe » [“From Oppression to Independence : Beauvoir’s Philosophy of Love in The Second Sex”], Philosophie, n° 144, Jan. 2020, pp. 48-63
Translated in Portuguese (Plural, 28(2), 2021, pp.184-202) and in Italian (Philosophy Kitchen, Rivista di filosofia contemporanea, n°16, 2022, pp.139-153)
Beauvoir’s philosophy of love has been studied in a few papers but these papers focus mainly on a description of the forms of love that are analyzed in The Second Sex without questioning the role that Beauvoir’s philosophy of love plays in her general argument on women’s oppression. Although one could think that philosophy of love plays a minor role in The Second Sex, this paper argues that for Beauvoir the transformation of heterosexual love may well be the main way to convert oppression in emancipation at the individual level. Beauvoir’s philosophy of love is this crucial to link her analysis of women’s oppression with her proposing paths towards emancipation.
This paper seeks to remedy the lack of philosophical analyses of the philosophical dimension of Beauvoir’s autobiographical work in using the existentialist link Beauvoir establishes between life and philosophy to make three points: first, her Memoirs constitute a crucial documentary resource to understand Beauvoir’s essays and the original philosophical stance she defends in them. Second, Memoirs show a two-way relationship between philosophy and life, on an epistemic and on a practical level. Third, autobiography is a way to overcome the inherent flaws of philosophy when it’s written in 3rd person: only a literary account allows to make appear a singular universal that displays the tension between situation and freedom in an authentic way.