On conceptual dichotomies and social oppression

Philosophy and Social Criticism 34 (5):515-535 (2008)
Ramat Gan Academic Center of Law and Business, Israel This article aims to expose the philosophical and cultural mechanisms, which allow some forms of western religion (in this case mainstream Christianity) to join hands with western capitalism in the oppression of women and of the needy. Focusing on the example of the USA, this article claims that both mainstream Christian religion and capitalism perpetuate and entrench discrimination against women and the oppression of the needy through the use of the cultural/philosophical dichotomy between love and justice and its corollary dichotomy between private and public. Against this background, the second part of the article examines several notions of love and justice, and offers a philosophical alternative to the dichotomous understanding of the two which is based on our claim that neither love nor justice is complete without the other and suggests a combined understanding of these concepts. Finally, the article examines the practical implications of such a theoretical alternative for the social and cultural structures of the capitalist state, religion and the family. Key Words: capitalism • family • feminist ethics • justice • love • private • public • religion • United States • welfare state.
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DOI 10.1177/0191453708089197
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