Towards a Feminist Logic: Val Plumwood’s Legacy and Beyond

In Dominic Hyde (ed.), Noneist Explorations II: The Sylvan Jungle - Volume 3 (Synthese Library, 432). Dordrecht: pp. 424-448 (2020)
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Val Plumwood’s 1993 paper, “The politics of reason: towards a feminist logic” (hence- forth POR) attempted to set the stage for what she hoped would begin serious feminist exploration into formal logic – not merely its historical abuses, but, more importantly, its potential uses. This work offers us: (1) a case for there being feminist logic; and (2) a sketch of what it should resemble. The former goal of Plumwood’s paper encourages feminist theorists to reject anti-logic feminist views. The paper’s latter aim is even more challenging. Plumwood’s critique of classical negation (and classical logic) as a logic of domination asks us to recognize that particular logical systems are weapons of oppression. Against anti-logic feminist theorists, Plumwood argues that there are other logics besides classical logic, such as relevant logics, which are suited for feminist theorizing. Some logics may oppress while others may liberate. We provide details about the sources and context for her rejection of classical logic and motivation for promoting relevant logics as feminist.



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Maureen Eckert
University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth

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