The essay is an attempt to explain the basic figures of thought involved in Luce Irigaray's ethics of sexual difference. It views Irigaray's position not as essentialist but rather as suggesting a third way between essentialism and constructivism: the psychoanalytical way with its partly phenomenological, partly constructivist concept of the body. Irigaray's body is not a biological essence, but rather a site of metaphorical material, that is a provider of forms through which the subject experiences herself and the other. Irigaray's truly deconstructive method is one of detecting the male anatomy and fantasy hidden in the canonical texts of our philosophical tradition and at the same time opening those texts so that they might contain the other position, that is a position based on female anatomical metaphors. Thus Irigaray introduces sexual difference into a patriarchal culture defined by monosexuality. The ethical implication of sexual difference is the knowledge that there are always 2 positions. This insisting on the number of 2 is the basic structural figure in Irigaray's thinking, opposed to the basic numbers of patriarchy: 1 (monosexuality; imaginary unity) and 3 (teleological and oedipal triangles). The essay concentrates on Irigaray's readings of Plato and Aristotle in her Ethics of Sexual Difference.

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