More than sixty years ago, Simone de Beauvoir identified the importance of Maurice Merleau-Ponty's writings to feminist theory. His exploration of the relationship between the body and the space it inhabits is key to modern phenomenological thinking. But there has been little agreement on how Merleau-Ponty's ideas ultimately have an impact on feminist philosophy. Does his emphasis on physical subjectivity lend a certain agency to all bodies, regardless of sex? Or do Merleau-Ponty's specific descriptions of physical experience betray an intrinsic bias toward a male heterosexual point of view? The essays presented here by Olkowski and Weiss attempt to situate Merleau-Ponty in the larger context of feminist theory, while impartially evaluating his contributions, both positive and negative, to that theory.In addition to the editors, the contributors are Jorella Andrews, David Brubaker, Judith Butler, Laura Doyle, Helen Fielding, Vicki Kirby, Sonia Kruks, Ann Murphy, Johanna Oksala, and Beata Stawarska.
Dorothea Olkowski is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. Gail Weiss is Director of the Human Sciences Program and Assistant Professor of Philosophy at The George Washington University.