Vital forces, selves, and consent

responding to a philosophical love letter


  • Ann CAHILL



sex, gender, feminism, consent, postmodernism, the self, gender inequality, sexual assault


In this response to Helga Varden’s Sex, Love, and Gender: A Kantian Theory, I challenge Varden’s characterization of
postmodern approaches to sexual orientation and identity, arguing that it is mistaken to assume an opposition between social
constructionism and reality, or social constructionism and an experience of deep-seated identity. I also question whether, once
one takes into account the effects of hegemonic heterosexuality, consent can function effectively in the legal realm to identify
acts of sexual assault and hold perpetrators responsible. Throughout my discussion, I applaud Varden’s loving approach toward Kant’s theories.


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Biografia do Autor


Ann J. Cahill is professor of philosophy at Elon University, NC. Her research interests lie at the intersection of feminist philosophy and philosophy of the body, and are largely grounded in the continental tradition. Rethinking Rape (2001) argued that conceptualizing sexual assault as an embodied experience allowed for a better understanding of its harms and social and political meanings; Overcoming Objectification: A Carnal Ethics (2011) revisited a foundational concept in feminist theory, ultimately concluding that deploying the concept of objectification to analyze the ethical questions inherent in social phenomena such as sexual assault, sex work, and representation of femininely gendered bodies was both philosophically and politically problematic. Her most recent book, Sounding Bodies: Identity, Injustice, and the Voice (2021) is co-authored with Christine Hamel, and explores the ethical, political, and social meanings of voice as human generated sound. In addition to her book-length works, she has published journal articles and book chapters addressing topics such as miscarriage, beautification, pedagogy, and inequality in academia. Cahill holds a PhD in Philosophy from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.




Como Citar

CAHILL, A. (2022). Vital forces, selves, and consent: responding to a philosophical love letter. Estudos Kantianos [EK], 11(1), 141.



Autor encontra críticos / Author meets critics