Between Bodies and Pleasures: A Territory Without a Domain

  • Laura Hengehold Case Western Reserve University


Foucault’s debt to Kant is usually examined with respect to his ethos of critique. In fact, Kant’s writings on aesthetic judgment, teleological judgment, and anthropology constitute an important, if implicit, object of Foucault’s genealogical efforts to free Western culture from a scientia sexualis that oppresses sexual minorities. Comparing Foucault’s use of Kant to the use made by psychoanalytic theorists of sexual difference, this paper argues that the concept of non-teleological pleasure found in Kant’s critique of aesthetic judgment may provide grounds for queer thinkers to resist and reconfigure associations between death, knowledge, and sexuality as a function of organisms—associations inherited from the post-Kantian philosophical anthropology and biological medicine of the nineteenth century.

Author Biography

Laura Hengehold, Case Western Reserve University
Laura Hengehold is author of The Body Problematic: Political Imagination in Kant and Foucault and other articles on Michel Foucault, Simone de Beauvoir, and feminist and postcolonial philosophy with French antecedents. She teaches feminist philosophy and political philosophy at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.