Phenomenal Gender: What Transgender Experience Discloses

By Ephraim Das Janssen | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3
HEIDEGGER TROUBLE: GENDERED DASEIN
AND EMBODIMENT

ONE COMMON CRITICISM of Heidegger’s fundamental ontology is its failure to provide a robust account of Dasein’s embodiment.1 While he does give a robust critique of Descartes’s res extensa in section 19 of Being and Time, and while he does examine Dasein’s spatiality, he never goes into detail about how being an embodied entity is constitutive of Dasein itself.2 I reply that this is not a mistake or a failing but rather a demonstration of how Heidegger’s challenge of mind-body dualism operates. The characterization of Dasein is a challenge to traditional metaphysics that breaks down the “I” into various discrete parts (body, soul, and spirit) in order to get at the nature of human Being.3 Contra the tradition, Heidegger asserts, “man’s ‘substance’ is not spirit as a synthesis of soul and body; it is rather existence.”4 It would be a mistake to think of Dasein as a compound or combination of body and mind/soul; Dasein is a whole unto itself, and its existence is what is relevant to Heidegger’s fundamental ontology. The question “What is body?” would already presuppose dualism and the abstraction of the idea of body from the idea of self. But it is possible to think Dasein without having to abstract the idea of body from the idea of Dasein, and Heidegger does so throughout Being and Time when he describes Dasein

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Phenomenal Gender: What Transgender Experience Discloses
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • Chapter 1 - The Question of Gender 1
  • Chapter 2 - Gender in Its Historical Situation 43
  • Chapter 3 - Heidegger Trouble- Gendered Dasein and Embodiment 67
  • Chapter 4 - Gender and Individuation 97
  • Chapter 5 - Gender, Technology, and Style 125
  • Bibliography 139
  • Index 147
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