kaum ständig noch 
(barely still standing)
Phenomenology of Masculinity

Michael Eldred

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Abstract (in English)


    A German treatise on masculinity as 'being a named somebody'. Both masculinity and femininity are thought phenomenologically from the standing-ness of being in a dimension of whoness or quissity (as distinct from the traditional metaphysical category of whatness or quiddity, i.e. essence). An alternative to philosophical feminist discourse to date is offered by proposing a shift of location to the thinking of being. Such a shift enables the standard alternative of nature (biology, genetics, etc.) on the one hand or society ('nurture', social practices, discourse, culture, etc.) on the other to be skirted, opening up another view of what human being could be 'in between'.


    Does the thinking of being have something to offer to feminist discourse? This treatise is based on the premise that it does. Instead of proceeding from the facticity of gender, it asks the question concerning the historical essencing of masculinity and femininity. Both of these are modes of being and thus have to be investigated from the understanding of being that has prevailed latently in the metaphysical tradition.

    The treatise concentrates on masculinity and attempts to think it as being-a-named-somebody. The existential category of whoness is developed in contrast to the traditional category of whatness, i.e. essence, quidditas. The guiding thread for this development is the standing character of the being of beings which has been transferred reflexively in the metaphysical tradition from beings in the third person to the first person. This translation of standingness to the first person is put into question, thus revealing the insecure standing of masculinity conceived as whoness.

    Towards the end of the treatise, the phenomenon of femininity is developed in the attempt to find words for the scarcely disclosed dimension of the second person, which has likewise been submerged beneath the whatness of the third person in the metaphysical tradition.

    The final chapter thinks the phallus as the hidden god of standingness in the Western history of being. The phallus and the logos have been covertly in cahoots since the ancient Greeks.

    ME Cologne, July 1996

      Copyright (c) 1985-2009 by Michael Eldred, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of U.S. copyright law, and it may be archived and redistributed in electronic form, provided that the author is notified and no fee is charged for access. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the consent of the author.

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