Heidegger and Ecofeminism

cause its essence ‘‘already contains a primordial bestrewal [Streuung], which is in a quite definite respect a dissemination [Zerstreuung]’’ (FL, 138/GA 26, 173). Heidegger claims that this dissemination of Dasein is what makes being-with other Dasein possible in a ‘‘species-like unification’’ (FL, 139/GA 26, 175). The language of bestrewal and dissemination here is not overly helpful, and certainly the claims to potency and origin beg a womanly metaphoric, however unintended by Heidegger. Can sense be made of these claims such that a useful notion of gender transcendence can be developed, one that does not transcend gender as a prelude to misogyny, that does not erase gender in order to reduce the other to the self in a logic of the same that Irigaray has diagnosed as phallic?

Heidegger suggests that Dasein is not indifferent to gender, but that it is logically prior to any gendering. It contains the possibility of gender, which is therefore not yet determined.Were gender determined, it should be so in confinement to a gender at the exclusion of the opposite gender. Heidegger holds that Dasein always lives factically, that is, in its existence it is always of a determined gender. In other words, Dasein’s possibility for gender is always disseminated into an existent gender. But insofar as Dasein is the questioner, for whom its own existence is an issue, it is not yet reduced to a gender. Hence ‘‘it’’ rather than ‘‘she’’ or ‘‘he.’’ Heidegger is suggesting that Dasein’s existence can be an issue for it prior to its gender being an issue.

Dasein always thinks from a concrete historical situation; as Heidegger has shown incontrovertibly in Being and Time, Dasein is first and foremost being-in-a-world. This world is very much informed by gender. To think transcendently, then, in a gender-neutral way, would be precisely to transcend the world, to be worldless. This is, in Heidegger’s own terms from Being and Time, impossible. In 1928, Heidegger has not yet overcome the metaphysics of subjectivity that informs his own thinking. He struggles with Kant over a series of texts from 1925 to 1935 in exactly that overcoming of idealism. The implications of his insight into Dasein’s worldliness have not been thought through in 1928: there in no transcendence in the sense of worldlessness. Hence there can be no Dasein that is not always already situated in a world, and subsequently there can be no gender-neutral thinker, and no thinking that is not either phallological or gynological. Thinking is first and foremost in a world, and therefore it must be gendered.

Yet both Woolf and Du Bois describe a freedom in which gender or race is a confinement that has in a sense been left behind. To borrow