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Feminist Philosophy

2014

Helen A Fielding

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The Poetry Of Habit: Beauvoir And Merleau-Ponty On Aging Embodiment, Helen A. Fielding Dec 2013

The Poetry Of Habit: Beauvoir And Merleau-Ponty On Aging Embodiment, Helen A. Fielding

Helen A Fielding

As people age their actions often become entrenched—we might say they are not open to the new; they are less able to adapt; they are stuck in a rut. Indeed, in The Coming of Age (La Vieillesse) Simone de Beauvoir writes that to be old is to be condemned neither to freedom nor to meaning, but rather to boredom (Beauvoir 1996, 461; 486). While in many ways a very pessimistic account of ageing, the text does provide promising moments where her descriptions do capture other possibilities for aged existence. In particular, I turn to Beauvoir’s suggestion that habit ...