Thesis title: The Mimetic Feminine: Examining the Role of Sexual Difference in Philosophy
My research revolves around feminist philosophy, understood as the transformation of philosophy into a feminist praxis. My thesis critically investigates the concept of sexual difference as an implicit and yet enduring category within the Western philosophical canon.
My primary contention is that the dichotomy between genders (as traditionally conceptualised) and the unfavourable perception of women subtly influence various canonical philosophical frameworks that, on the surface, appear neutral. This acknowledgment forms the basis of my research questions: (1) how can sexual difference be destabilised as a philosophical principle? And (2) how can philosophy become less patriarchal?
By working through these questions, my research carries out three key philosophical interventions. Firstly, it sheds light on the role patriarchal conceptions of gender play within Western philosophy, underscoring the importance of investigating the foundational pillars that sustain patriarchal thought rather than exclusively addressing its symptomatic manifestations. Secondly, I explore and flesh out the conditions of existence of a genuinely feminist form of philosophy: whether and how philosophy can distance itself from its patriarchal underpinnings. Thirdly, this work serves as a critical examination of proposals that have emerged in the wake of ‘philosophies of difference,’ which have gained prominence in contemporary continental and feminist discussions. Particularly, by problematising their reliance on the notion of ‘constitutive exclusion,’ my thesis urges for a more nuanced response to established philosophical narratives.
My research is funded by the Midlands4Cities branch of the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Before the PhD, I obtained a BA in Philosophy from the University of Essex and an MA in Continental Philosophy from the University of Warwick. I also worked as a paid researched for the Essex Autonomy Project and the Ethics of Powerlessness—research projects conducted within the department of philosophy at the University of Essex.
Pitton, Camilla. 2023. "The Limitations of Duality: Reexamining Sexual Difference in Feminist Philosophies of Nature," Feminist Philosophy Quarterly, vol. 9, issue 4. (forthcoming in December 2023).
Batho, David and Camilla Pitton. 2018. "What is Moral Distress? Experiences and Responses," Green Paper, The Ethics of Powerlessness, University of Essex. https://powerlessness.essex.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/MoralDistressGreenPaper1.pdf
‘The re-constitution of negation in feminist politics and contemporary French thought’, at “The History of Political Thought and Contemporary Philosophy Symposium”, 2023, University of Warwick.
‘Re-examining Irigaray’s philosophy of nature: objections to the ‘duality’ interpretation’, at the “Society for European Philosophy Conference”, 2022, Newcastle University.
‘The mimetic negative: negative determination and meta-philosophical plurality’, at “The London Conference of Critical Thought”, 2022, Birkbeck University.
‘Reconfiguring feminine negativity: from repression to affirmative production’, at the “Unlearning Nihilism” conference, 2022, New Centre for Research and Practice and Royal Holloway University of London.
‘Mimesis as a feminist technology: from Irigaray’s copying woman to simulation’, at “The Mimetic Turn: Final International Conference on Homo Mimeticus”, 2022, KU Leuven.
'The (lost) Futures of Techno-Feminism’, at “The Futures of Feminism” workshop, 2021, Tilburg University.
Organisation of conferences
“Posthuman Bodies and Embodied Posthumanisms” conference, University of Warwick and Nottingham Trent University, 2022.
“Continental Philosophy and Global Challenges: Historical Perspectives through Practical Engagements”, University of Warwick, 2022.
“Continental Philosophy and its Histories”, University of Warwick, 2021.
“What is Philosophy? Past, Present and Future”, University of Warwick, 2019.
“Essex Transform: Rediscovering the Demos inside Academia”, University of Essex, 2018 (single workshop organiser).
 In my research, I favour the expression ‘sexual difference’ over gender, without reducing the former to ‘sex’. I define sexual difference as a category organising symbolic structures, and thus as reducible to neither sex nor gender. I advance, moreover, that the duality of sexual difference in not insurmountable.