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CANCELLED Jennifer McWeeny, Beauvoir and Merleau-Ponty - The Early Works: Seeds of a Radical Ontology

Wednesday 15 April 2020
P.J. Veth
Nonnensteeg 1-3
2311 VJ Leiden

The Leiden Institute for Philosophy is pleased to announce a lecture by

Jennifer McWeeny (Worcester Polytechnic Institute)


Beauvoir and Merleau-Ponty - The Early Works: Seeds of a Radical Ontology


Only a handful of scholars to date have explored any of the numerous points of connection between the respective oeuvres of Simone de Beauvoir and Maurice Merleau-Ponty despite considerable textual evidence for a profound intellectual intimacy between them. This paper is a first step in this larger, vital project; it consists in a comparative examination of the two thinkers’ published and unpublished writings from the pre-war period. Beauvoir’s and Merleau-Ponty’s early writings display a parallel treatment of a number of themes that will become crucial to the subsequent trajectory of French phenomenology: Christianity, desire, sacrifice, flesh, subjectivity, structures of behavior. This study not only reveals philosophical seeds that anticipate the radical ontologies found in the post-War publications of these thinkers, notably, The Second Sex and The Visible and the Invisible, but also argues that the true import of these ontologies could only be understood in tandem: if being is fundamentally practical, historical, and embodied, then a method that considers different genres (genders) of embodiment is of great consequence to phenomenology.


Jennifer McWeeny is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Her research and teaching interests are in the areas of phenomenology, philosophy of mind, feminist philosophy, ontology, early modern philosophy, and decolonial theory. She is a recipient of the Fulbright National Research Award (2020), which she is currently pursuing as a visiting researcher at the Husserl Archives at the École normale supérieure, rue d’Ulm in Paris, France.

Professor McWeeny is co-editor with Pedro DiPietro and Shireen Roshanravan of Speaking Face to Face: The Visionary Philosophy of María Lugones (2019) and co-editor with Ashby Butnor of Asian and Feminist Philosophies in Dialogue: Liberating Traditions (2014). She has published more than 25 articles and book chapters that have appeared in Hypatia, Continental Philosophy Review, Chiasmi International, and Journal for Critical Animal Studies, among other venues. She has served as Executive Secretary for the Eastern Division of the Society for Women in Philosophy and as the Director of the Fortieth Annual Meeting of the International Merleau-Ponty Circle. She is currently Editor in Chief of Simone de Beauvoir Studies.

All are welcome!

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