Much of feminist philosophy of language so far can be described as critical—critical either of language itself or of philosophy of language, and calling for change on the basis of these criticisms. Those making these criticisms suggest that the changes are needed for the sake of feminist goals — either to better allow for feminist work to be done or, more frequently, to bring an end to certain key ways that women are disadvantaged. In this entry, I examine these criticisms. (...) I also examine work by feminists that seems to suggest some of the criticisms are misplaced: that, for example, philosophy of language is better able to help in feminist projects than critics suppose. My focus in this entry will generally be on the analytic tradition. For continental approaches, see the entries on feminist approaches to the intersection of analytic and continental philosophy , feminist approaches to the intersection of pragmatism and continental philosophy. (shrink)
Substitution and simple sentences -- Simple sentences and semantics -- Simple sentences and implicatures -- The enlightenment problem and a common assumption -- Abandoning (EOI) -- Beyond matching propositions -- App. A : extending the account -- App. B : belief reporting.
[Sally Haslanger] In debates over the existence and nature of social kinds such as 'race' and 'gender', philosophers often rely heavily on our intuitions about the nature of the kind. Following this strategy, philosophers often reject social constructionist analyses, suggesting that they change rather than capture the meaning of the kind terms. However, given that social constructionists are often trying to debunk our ordinary (and ideology-ridden?) understandings of social kinds, it is not surprising that their analyses are counterintuitive. This article (...) argues that externalist insights from the critique of the analytic/synthetic distinction can be extended to justify social constructionist analyses. /// [Jennifer Saul] Sally Haslanger's 'What Good Are Our Intuitions? Philosophical Analysis and Social Kinds' is, among other things, a part of the theoretical underpinning for analyses of race and gender concepts that she discusses far more fully elsewhere. My reply focuses on these analyses of race and gender concepts, exploring the ways in which the theoretical work done in this paper and others can or cannot be used to defend these analyses against certain objections. I argue that the problems faced by Haslanger's analyses are in some ways less serious, and in some ways more serious, than they may at first appear. Along the way, I suggest that ordinary speakers may not in fact have race and gender concepts and I explore the ramifications of this claim. (shrink)
Catharine MacKinnon has claimed that pornography is the subordination of women. Rae Langton has defended the plausibility and coherence of this claim by drawing on speech act theory. I argue that considering the role of context in speech acts poses serious problems for Langton's defence of MacKinnon. Langton's account can be altered in order to accommodate the role of context. Once this is done, however, her defence of MacKinnon no longer looks so plausible. Finally, I argue that the speech act (...) approach (adapted to account for context) offers an appealing way to make sense of disagreements over pornography; but also that this will probably not be so appealing to most proponents of the speech acts approach. (shrink)
: This article discusses recent feminist arguments for the possible existence of an interesting link between treating things as people (in the case of pornography) and treating people (especially women) as things. It argues, by way of a historical case study, that the connection is more complicated than these arguments have supposed. In addition, the essay suggests some possible general links between treatment of things and treatment of people.
Filling a gap in the textbook market, Feminism: Issues & Arguments provides an accessible and stimulating introduction to feminist philosophy that assumes no background in the subject. Drawing on both philosophical thought and up-to-date empirical research, Jennifer Mather Saul provides lucid arguments for a variety of feminist positions but avoids advocating any particular position so that students will be motivated to think critically. The chapters are organized around key topics including pornography, abortion, sexual harassment, and the politics of work and (...) family. By focusing on real-world applications of feminist philosophy, this text brings the subject to life for students because it deals with issues that they care about. Feminism: Issues & Arguments is ideal for courses in feminism, feminist philosophy/philosophy of women, and sociology of women. (shrink)
A stimulating and accessible introduction to feminist philosophy. The chapters are organised around key issues of practical significance, such as pornography, abortion and sexual harassment. Clear arguments are provided for a variety of feminist positions, drawing upon up-to-date empirical research. No background in feminism or philosophy is needed, and the clarity of the narrative ensures that Feminism: Issues and Arguments will appeal to a wide audience.
Many competent speakers initially judge that (i) is true and (ii) isfalse, though they know that (iii) is true. (i) Superman leaps more tallbuildings than Clark Kent. (ii) Superman leaps more tall buildings thanSuperman. (iii) Superman is identical with Clark Kent. Semanticexplanations of these intuitions say that (i) and (ii) really can differin truth-value. Pragmatic explanations deny this, and say that theintuitions are due to misleading implicatures. This paper argues thatboth explanations are incorrect. (i) and (ii) cannot differ intruth-value, yet (...) the intuitions are not due to implicatures, but ratherto mistakes in evaluating (i) and (ii). (shrink)
[First Paragraph] Unlike so many other distinctions in philosophy, H P Grice's distinction between what is said and what is implicated has an immediate appeal: undergraduate students readily grasp that one who says 'someone shot my parents' has merely implicated rather than said that he was not the shooter . It seems to capture things that we all really pay attention to in everyday conversation'this is why there are so many people whose entire sense of humour consists of deliberately ignoring (...) implicatures. ('Can you pass the salt?' 'Yes.') Unsurprisingly, it was quickly picked up and put to a wide variety of uses in not only in philosophy but also in linguistics and psychology. What is surprising, however, is that upon close inspection Grice's conception of implicature turns out to be very different from those at work in the literature which has grown out of his original discussion. This would not be much of a criticism of this literature were it not for the fact that discussions of implicature explicitly claim to be using Grice's notion, not some other one inspired by him (generally going so far as to quote one of Grice's characterisations of implicature). This still would not be terribly interesting if the notion Grice was actually carving out had little theoretical or practical utility. But I will argue here that Grice's own notion of implicature, one quite different from the ones most of us have come to work with, is in fact far more interesting and subtle than that which has been attributed to him. (shrink)