A highly original work in history and theory, this survey considers major themes including identity, class and sexual difference, weaves them into debates on the nature and point of history, and arrives at new ways of doing history that – very unusually – consider non-Western history and feminist approaches. Using wide range of historical and cultural contexts, the study draws extensively on feminist scholarship, both feminist history and postcolonial feminism.
Feminist work in the history of philosophy has come of age as an innovative field in the history of philosophy. This volume marks that accomplishment with original essays by leading feminist scholars who ask basic questions: What is distinctive of feminist work in the history of philosophy? Is there a method that is distinctive of feminist historical work? How can women philosophers be meaningfully included in the history of the discipline? Who counts as a philosopher? This (...) collection is a unique collaboration among philosophers from North America and the Nordic Countries, including papers written from both analytic and continental philosophical perspectives and discussing both ancient and modern philosophers. Feminist Reflections on the History of Philosophy will be of interest to historians of philosophy, feminist theorists, women's studies faculty and students, and humanists interested in canon formation and transformation. (shrink)
This new collection of essays by leading feminist critics highlights the fresh perspectives that feminism can offer to the discussion of past philosophers. Rather than defining itself through opposition to a "male" philosophical tradition, feminist philosophy emerges not only as an exciting new contribution to the history of philosophy, but also as a source of cultural self-understanding in the present.
: This essay offers a short overview of feminist history of science and introduces a new project into that history, namely feminist history of colonial science. My case study focuses on eighteenth-century voyages of scientific discovery and reveals how gender relations in Europe and the colonies honed selective collecting practices. Cultural, economic, and political trends discouraged the transfer from the New World to the Old of abortifacients (widely used by Amerindian and African women in the West Indies).1.
The past twenty five years have seen an explosion of feminist writing on the philosophical canon, a development that has clear parallels in other disciplines like literature and art history. Since most of the writing is, in one way or another, critical of the tradition, a natural question to ask is: Why does the history of philosophy have importance for feminist philosophers? This question assumes that the history of philosophy is of importance for feminists, an assumption that (...) is warranted by the sheer volume of recent feminist writing on the canon. This entry explores the different ways that feminist philosophers are interacting with the Western philosophical tradition. (shrink)
Yielding Gender explores and reconsiders the tensions that deconstruction poses for feminist philosophy. Emphasizing the important role of deconstruction in revealing the ambiguity and unstable nature of gender, Penelope Deutscher asks the crucial question: does the very instability of gender mean that we can no longer talk of a man or a woman of reason in the history of philosophy? Using the work of Judith Butler, Jacques Derrida and Luce Irigaray, Deutscher explores this question by examining the issue of (...) gender as "trouble", deconstruction and feminist criticism of the history of philosophy. She then considers and challenges feminist interpretations of some key figures in the history of philosophy. Deutscher sketches how Rousseau, St. Augustine and Simone de Beauvoir have described gender and argues that their readings of gender are in fact empowered by gender's own contradiction and instability rather than limited by it. (shrink)
This paper explores the thought of Paul Ricœur from a feminist point of view. My goal is to show that it is necessary to narrate differently the history of our culture – in particular, the history of philosophy – in order for wommen to attain a self-representation that is equal to that of men. I seek to show that Ricoeur’s philosophy – especially his approach to the topics of memory and history, on the one hand, and the (...) human capacity for initiative, on the other hand– can support the idea that it is possible and legitimate to tell our history otherwise by envisioning a more accurate truth about ourselves. (shrink)
This paper analyzes the claim that the Left Vienna Circle (LVC) offers a theoretical and historical precedent for a politically engaged philosophy of science today. I describe the model for a political philosophy of science advanced by LVC historians. They offer this model as a moderate, properly philosophical approach to political philosophy of science that is rooted in the analytic tradition. This disciplinary-historical framing leads to weaknesses in LVC scholars' conception of the history of the LVC and its contemporary (...) relevance. In this light, I examine the claim that there are productive enrichments to be gained from the engagement of feminist philosophy of science with the LVC, finding this claim ill-formulated. The case of LVC historiography and feminist philosophy of science presents a revealing study in the uses and ethics of disciplinary history, showing how feminist and other perspectives are misconceived and marginalized by forms of disciplinary self-narrativizing. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. (shrink)
This paper examines five groups of women that were instrumental in the emergence of the category of "feeblemindedness" in the United States. It analyzes the dynamics of oppression and power relations in the following five groups of women: "feeble-minded" women, institutional caregivers, mothers, researchers, and reformists. Ultimately, I argue that a feminist analysis of the history of mental retardation is necessary to serve as a guide for future feminist work on cognitive disability.
: Some feminist epistemologists make the radical claim that there are varieties of epistemically valid warrant that agents access only through having lived particular types of contingent history, varieties of epistemic warrant to which, moreover, the confirmation-theoretic accounts of warrant favored by some traditional epistemologists are inapplicable. I offer Aristotelian virtue as a model for warrant of this sort, and use loosely Aristotelian vocabulary to express, and begin to evaluate, a range of feminist epistemological positions.
In this essay, I utilize the concept of the echo, as formulated in the historical and methodological work of Michel Foucault and Joan W. Scott, to help theorize the historical relationship between health feminism and AIDS activism. I trace the echoes between health feminism and AIDS activism in order to present a more complex history of both movements, and to try to think through the ways that the coming together of these two struggles in a particular place (...) and time—New York City in the 1980s—created particular practices that might be effective in other times and places. The practice that I focus on here is one that I call 'doing queer love'. As I hope to show, 'doing queer love' both describes a particular history of health activism and opens up the possibility of bringing into being a different future than the one a conventional history of AIDS seems to predict. It is an historical echo that I believe we must try to hear now, not just in order to challenge a particular history of AIDS activism in the United States, but also in order to provide a model that can be useful for addressing the continuing problem of AIDS across the globe. (shrink)
Feminist philosophy of science has led to improvements in the practices and products of scientific knowledge-making, and in this way it exemplifies socially relevant philosophy of science. It has also yielded important insights and original research questions for philosophy. Feminist scholarship on science thus presents a worthy thought-model for considering how we might build a more socially relevant philosophy of science—the question posed by the editors of this special issue. In this analysis of the history, contributions, and challenges faced (...) by feminist philosophy of science, I argue that engaged case study work and interdisciplinarity have been central to the success of feminist philosophy of science in producing socially relevant scholarship, and that its future lies in the continued development of robust and dynamic philosophical frameworks for modeling social values in science. Feminist philosophers of science, however, have often encountered marginalization and persistent misunderstandings, challenges that must be addressed within the institutional and intellectual culture of American philosophy. (shrink)
This essay is a case study of the self-destruction that occurs in the work of a social-constructionist historian of science who embraces a radical philosophy of science. It focuses on Thomas Laqueur's Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud in arguing that a history of science committed to the social construction of science and to the central theses of Kuhnian, Duhemian, and Quinean philosophy of science is incoherent through self-reference. Laqueur's text is examined in detail in (...) order to make the main point; a similar phenomenon in the work of the feminist historian of science Evelyn Fox Keller is then briefly discussed. (shrink)
From the historical roots of second-wave feminism to current debates about feminist theory and politics. This introduction to Anglo-American feminist thought provides a critical and panoramic survey of dominant trends in feminism since 1968. Feminism is too often considered a monolithic movement, consisting of an enormous range of women and ideologies, with both similar and different perspectives and approaches. The book is divided into two parts, the first of which takes a close look at the most influential (...) strands of feminism: liberal feminism, Marxist/socialist feminism, radical feminism, lesbian feminism, and black feminism. In later chapters, Whelehan ties these complexities of, and conflicts within, feminism. The role and relationship of men to feminism, and feminism's often thorny relationship to postmodernism, are also the subject of chapter length treatment. Concluding with a provocative discussion of the much-heralded advent of post-feminism and the rise of the new feminist superstars such as Camille Paglia, Naomi Wolf, Susan Faludi, and Katie Roiphe, Modern Feminist thought is an ideal text for students and a book no feminist teacher or activist should be without. (shrink)
This book is a study of post World War II feminist theory from the viewpoint of intellectual history. The key theme is that the social construction of gender has its origins in the feminist theorists of this period. This paradigm is a key foundational element to both second and third wave feminist thought. It will focus on the five key scholars of the period: Komarovsky, de Beauvoir, Mead, Klein and Herschberger. This has been a somewhat overlooked period in the (...) development of feminist theory and philosophy and Tarrant makes a compelling case for it (the fifties) being the turning point in the study of gender. (shrink)
Philosopher, theologian, educational theorist, feminist and political pamphleteer, Mary Astell was an important figure in the history of ideas of the early modern period. Among the first systematic critics of John Locke's entire corpus, she is best known for the famous question which prefaces her Reflections on Marriage: 'If all men are born free, how is it that all women are born slaves?' She is claimed by modern Republican theorists and feminists alike but, as a Royalist High Church Tory, (...) the peculiar constellation of her views sits uneasily with modern commentators. Patricia Springborg's study addresses these apparent paradoxes, recovering the historical and philosophical contexts to her thought. She shows that Astell was not alone in her views; rather, she was part of a cohort of early modern women philosophers who were important for the reception of Descartes and who grappled with the existential problems of a new age. (shrink)
This set reprints a wide range of key articles exploring the role of feminists in the development of post-Enlightenment thought. Including groundbreaking work from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, with pieces by Sandra Harding, Julia Kristeva, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Elizabeth Spelman, and other internationally-esteemed scholars, the collection features an original introduction and comprehensive index, making this an invaluable resource for women's studies students in a wide range of subject areas. For a full listing of contents, visit www.routledge-ny.com and type the (...) isbn into the search engine. (shrink)
Drawing parallels between gender essentialism and cultural essentialism, I point to some common features of essentialist pictures of culture. I argue that cultural essentialism is detrimental to feminist agendas and suggest strategies for its avoidance. Contending that some forms of cultural relativism buy into essentialist notions of culture, I argue that postcolonial feminists need to be cautious about essentialist contrasts between "Western" and "Third World" cultures.
A History of Women Philosophers, Volume I: Ancient Women Philoophers, 600 B.C. - 500 A.D., edited by Mary Ellen Waithe, is an important but somewhat frustrating book. It is filled with tantalizing glimpses into the lives and thoughts of some of our earliest philosophical foremothers. Yet it lacks a clear unifying theme, and the abrupt transitions from one philosopher and period to the next are sometimes disconcerting. The overall effect is not unlike that of viewing an expansive landscape, (...) illuminated only by a few tiny spotlights. (shrink)
This paper situates Lynne Huffer’s recent queer-feminist Foucaultian critique of reason within the context of earlier feminist debates about reason and critically assesses Huffer’s work from the point of view of its faithfulness to Foucault’s work and its implications for feminism. I argue that Huffer’s characterization of Enlightenment reason as despotic not only departs from Foucault’s account of the relationship between power and reason, it also leaves her stuck in the same double binds that plagued earlier feminist critiques of (...) reason. An appreciation of the profoundly ambivalent nature of Foucault’s critique of reason offers feminists some insights into how to navigate those double binds. What feminists should learn from the early Foucault is precisely his commitment to engage in a rational critique of reason that highlights reason’s dangerous entanglements with power while resisting the temptation to reject or refuse reason altogether. (shrink)
This collection of essays, first published two decades ago, presents central feminist critiques and analyses of natural and social sciences and their philosophies. Unfortunately, in spite of the brilliant body of research and scholarship in these fields in subsequent decades, the insights of these essays remain as timely now as they were then: philosophy and the sciences still presume kinds of social innocence to which they are not entitled. The essays focus on Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hobbes, Rousseau, and Marx; on (...) the 'adversary method' model of philosophic reasoning; on principles of individuation on philosophical ontology and philosophy of language; on individualistic assumptions in psychology; functionalism in sociological and biological theory; evolutionary theory; the methodology of political science; and conceptions of objective inquiry in the sciences. In taking insights of both Liberal and Marxian women's movements into the purportedly most abstract and value-free areas of Western thought, these essays chart sexist and androcentric assumptions, claims and practices in the cognitive, technical cores of Western sciences and their philosophies. They begin to identify the distinctive aspects of women's experiences and locations in male-supremacist social structures which can provide resources needed for the creation of post-androcentric thinking in research, scholarship, and public policy. Such uses of feminist insights remain controversial today, and even among some feminists. These authors were all junior researchers and scholars two decades ago; today many are among the most distinguished senior scholars in their fields. Their work here provides a splendid opportunity for upper-level undergraduate and graduate students in philosophy and the social sciences to explore some of the most intriguing and controversial challenges to disciplinary projects and to public policy today. (shrink)
This paper examines recent feminist work on Spinoza and identifies the elements of Spinoza’s philosophy that have been seen as promising for feminist naturalism. I argue that the elements of Spinoza’s work that feminist theorists have found so promising are precisely those concepts he derives from Hobbes. I argue that the misunderstanding of Hobbes as architect of the egoist model of human nature has effaced his contribution to Spinoza’s more praised conception of the human individual. Despite misconceptions, I argue that (...) the model of human nature, the view on human emotions and the conception of individual power that Hobbes created and Spinoza developed is an uncommonly useful one for feminist political theory. Through reexamining Hobbes’ model of human nature and the emotions I will argue that Hobbes’ theory of the internal weighing of emotions provides an important mechanism for understanding how the individuals’ affects can be reformed. I will show how we can use this naturalistic model of the human individual to answer contemporary theoretical and practical questions of how to empower women and how to effectively identify, challenge and change social categories, norms and institutions which are disempowering. In particular, I will argue that feminist projects of empowerment need a way to measure empowerment and a way to understand how to understand the power of harmful norms and customs. Understanding the way certain norms and practices disempower women while forming their affects and self‐conceptions provides the first step to reform of these practices. Spinoza and Hobbes provide us with a further tool to reform, and that is their understanding of the role of emotions in human action and power, and the need to reform and reorganize the emotions of individuals in order to escape harmful patterns of behavior. (shrink)
A book of tremendous influence when it first appeared, A Mind of One's Own reminded readers that the tradition of Western philosophy-- in particular, the ideals of reason and objectivity-- has come down to us from white males, nearly all of whom are demonstrably sexist, even misogynist. In this second edition, the original authors continue to ask, What are the implications of this fact for contemporary feminists working within this tradition? The second edition pursues this question about the value of (...) reason and objectivity in new directions using the fresh perspectives and diverse viewpoints of the new generation of feminist philosophers. A Mind of One's Own is essential reading and an essential reference for philosophers and for all scholars and students concerned about the nature of knowledge and our pursuit of it. (shrink)
The Unfinished Revolution compares the post-Second World War histories of the American and British gay and lesbian movements with an eye toward understanding how distinct political institutional environments affect the development, strategies, goals, and outcomes of a social movement. Stephen M. Engel utilizes an electic mix of source materials ranging from the theories of Mancur Olson and Michel Foucault to Supreme Court rulings and film and television dialogue. The two case study chapters function as brief historical sketches to elucidate further (...) the conclusions on theory and whilst being politically-oriented, they also examine gay influence and expansion into mainstream popular culture. The book also includes an appendix that surveys and assesses the analytical potential of five critical understandings of social movements: the classical approach, rational choice, resource mobilization, new social movement theories, and political opportunity structures. It will be of value to academics and students of sociology, political science, and history. (shrink)
Twelfth-century ethics is commonly thought of as following a stoic in fl uence rather than an Aristotelian o ne. It is also assumed that these two schools are widely different, in particular with regards to the social aspect of the virtuous life. In this paper I argue that this picture is misleading and that Heloise of Argenteuil recognized that stoic ethics did not entail isolation but could be played out in a social context. I argue that her philosophical contribution does (...) not end there, but that she departs from both the stoics and her teacher, Abelard, in her defence of the ideal of moderation. By insisting that virtue must strike a mean between two extremes, she shows that Aristotelian virtue ethics were present in the intellectual life of the twelfth century. (shrink)
An important part of making philosophy as a discipline gender equal is to ensure that female authors are not simply wiped out of the history of philosophy. This has implications for teaching as well as research. In this context, I reflect on my experience of teaching a text by medieval philosopher Christine de Pizan as part of an introductory history of philosophy course taught to Turkish students in law, political science, and international relations. I describe the challenges I (...) encountered, the ways in which I dealt with them, and draw some conclusions based on my observations and feedback obtained at the end of the course. (shrink)
Fox-Genovese, Kaminer, and Riley all write the history of feminism as a history of conflict between feminists who desire to deny difference in favor of equality and those who desire to celebrate difference. And they all ask what this contradiction lying at the heart of feminist theory implies for the practice of feminist politics. These works reveal the need for feminists who engage this debate to be self-conscious in their formulations.