The Virtue of Feminist Rationality

Continuum (2012)
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Abstract

In The Virtue of Feminist Rationality the author develops a specifically feminist account of rationality, an account which treats reason as a virtue concept. Contrary to some feminists claims that reason is inherently and irredeemably masculine, Heikes argues that the coherence of feminism demands a rational ground and that feminists must be willing to challenge the masculine connotations that have been historically linked to reason. While acknowledging contemporary philosophy’s vehement rejections of Enlightenment accounts of rationality, the author develops an understanding of rationality that relies on premodern roots that circumscribe the concept much less narrowly. As Heikes argues, a virtue account of rationality not only rejects many of what feminists hold to the be most objectionable aspects of philosophical accounts of reason, it is also capable of bridging the divide between several deeply ingrained philosophical dichotomies. Because philosophical dichotomies become most deeply polarized and entrenched during the modern era, the undermining of modern assumptions concerning reason and rationality also undermines the polarizing thinking that has defined rationality for the past several centuries.

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Deborah Heikes
University of Alabama, Huntsville

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