Continental Philosophy Review

, Volume 40, Issue 4, pp 353–364 | Cite as

Beyond totem and idol, the sexuate other

  • Luce Irigaray
  • Karen I. Burke


The author interprets idolatry, totemism, sacrilege and taboo through her theory of sexual difference and her study of Eastern spirituality. She argues that the taboo on spirituality in Western culture has cancelled difference, resulting in our current forms of idolatry. Preserving difference, however, would allow the transcendence of the human other to exist. The task of learning to respect difference is central to human spirituality and spiritual progression. The article is a translation of “La transcendance de l’autre” in Autour d’idôlatrie: figures actuelles de pouvoir et de domination, Ed. Bernard Van Meenen, Publications des Facultés Universitaires Saint-Louis, Brussels: 2003.


Difference Idolatry Other Taboo Totem Transcendence 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CNRSParisFrance
  2. 2.Stony Brook UniversityStony BrookUSA

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