Becoming Undone: Darwinian Reflections on Life, Politics, by Elizabeth Grosz

By Elizabeth Grosz

In turning into Undone, Elizabeth Grosz addresses 3 comparable concepts—life, politics, and art—by exploring the results of Charles Darwin’s account of the evolution of species. tough characterizations of Darwin’s paintings as a kind of genetic determinism, Grosz indicates that his writing unearths an insistence at the distinction among average choice and sexual choice, the rules that control survival and popularity, respectively. Sexual choice complicates common choice by means of introducing aesthetic components and the expression of person will, wish, or excitement. Grosz explores how Darwin’s conception of sexual choice transforms philosophy, our figuring out of humanity in its female and male varieties, our principles of political family, and our strategies of paintings. Connecting the naturalist’s paintings to the writings of Bergson, Deleuze, and Irigaray, she outlines a postmodern Darwinism that knows all of existence as kinds of competing and coordinating modes of openness. even though feminists were suspicious of the suggestions of nature and biology primary to Darwin’s paintings, Grosz proposes that his writings are a wealthy source for constructing a extra politicized, radical, and far-reaching feminist figuring out of subject, nature, biology, time, and becoming.


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Extra resources for Becoming Undone: Darwinian Reflections on Life, Politics, and Art

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Either it has been construed as comparative, an external di√erence between complete entities or things, which can be measured or represented according to a third or extrinsic term, a metric which determines relations of more or less. Or it has been understood as constitutive, an internal relation to terms or entities which structures them according to their negative relations to other entities. For example, within feminist theory, egalitarian feminism, which seeks to provide women with positions equal to and directly comparable with those of men, represents women in terms of their sameness or equivalence to men.

Bergson is careful to distinguish his position from vitalism, the claim that there is a special substance, force, or form that distinguishes life from nonlife, although his concept of the élan vital is commonly regarded as a form of vitalism. Vitalism itself, of course, takes many forms. But in his sense, in the sense of a special force distinguishable from other natural or material forces, Bergson cannot be regarded as a vitalist. He is interested in the vitality of life rather than in some supervening quality that all forms of life share.

It is the vital indeterminacy of the material world that enables life and that life exploits for its own self-elaboration. ∞π All individuals and species are thus connected, not only through a common genealogy or filiation, but above all through a common struggle, a common power of the conversion of the smallest fragment of the indeterminacy of matter into the contingency, or freedom, of life: they are connected by the transformation of matter, through incorporation into the behavior, movement, or action of forms of life.

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