In Search of a Feminist Theory of Expression


  • Luz Ascarate Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne



Expression, Feminism, Wittgenstein, Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology, Language


In the Tractactus Logico Philosophicus, Wittgenstein concludes that what cannot be spoken about is better left unsaid, which would correspond to everything that is not scientific language susceptible of being formalized in the propositional framework. It is not until Philosophical Investigations that he will find the formula of the “expression” taken in an encompassing sense with its notion of “seeing aspects”.  For his part, in his course “Le problème de la parole”, Merleau-Ponty, elaborates a reflection on language that begins with the consideration of the scientific and logical naivety of language, in relation to Saussure's linguistics, and ends with the comparison between Proust and Stendhal. In this last part, he proposes that literature, as a creative language and an expressive operation, is both true life, connected with the ontological foundation of what exists, and phenomenology that shows the institution of that life. In both authors, the logical consideration is overwhelmed by the expressive power of language. Our contribution will make a comparison between Wittgenstein's and Merleau-Ponty's reflections on language and expressiveness. With this, we will seek to propose the bases of a feminist theory of expression, that is, a theory that seeks to show the particularity of female expressiveness.

Author Biography

Luz Ascarate, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

Luz Ascarate is a non-tenured lecturer and researcher (ATER) on philosophy at the
University of Franche-Comté and holds a PhD in philosophy and social sciences from the
EHESS in Paris. Her PhD dissertation focused on imagination and emancipation according to Paul Ricoeur. She is currently working on a second PhD dissertation, on the phenomenology of the possible, under the supervision of Renaud Barbaras, at the University Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne. She is the author of the book "Imaginer selon Paul Ricoeur. La phénoménologie à la rencontre de l'ontologie sociale (Hermann, 2022)".


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