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Truth emerges more readily from error than from confusion.

                               —Francis Bacon

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2.1 GynAndromorpHermAphroditism

 Given the near­-total (or, if you prefer, ‘non-total’) extent to which sexual difference governs plant and animal kingdoms alike, we may take it as the paradigm for all imaginable differences. But how do we imagine sexual difference—namely, where do we locate it? We don’t—or rather, we dis­-locate it. A strictly formal constraint determines differences ‘in themselves’ (such as that between ‘near­-total’ and ‘non-total’) to be empirically unimaginable. Here, Lacan’s formula for “pure difference” applies with deceptive simplicity: to the extent that each individual person is identifiably male or female in sex, every conception of male/female difference is necessarily biased—more specifically, pure difference separates any male concept of male/female difference from any female concept of female/male difference. Despite this formal symmetry, Luce Irigaray (Lacan’s erstwhile pupil) protests that insofar as Western Culture was projected from a male perspective, Western Subjectivity eo ipso provides for no “female subject position.”

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