In Thom Brooks (ed.), New Waves in Ethics. Palgrave-MacMillan (2011)

Mari Mikkola
University of Amsterdam
Martha Nussbaum endorses a kind of humanist feminism, which (for her) involves articulating the notion of human being as a normative ethical concept: once this normative concept is articulated, it can be employed to pick out those modes of treating women that are inappropriate with the view to developing corrective public policies. Contra Nussbaum, Louise Antony argues that human being cannot be defined in a normative sense. For Antony, the only plausible human universals are biological or genetic traits, which lack the required ethical component. This, in Antony’s view, undermines humanist feminism because the prospects of cashing out an ethically normative concept of human being are not good. However, I argue this doesn’t undercut humanist feminism. Instead, feminists can single out inappropriate modes of treating women by developing a politically useful notion of dehumanization. My strategy takes rape to be a paradigm case of dehumanizing treatment and examines what key features make it dehumanizing. These key features, then, can be used to develop a general account of dehumanization.
Keywords Dehumanization  humanist feminism
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How Essential is Gender Essentialism?Mari Mikkola - 2012 - Symposia on Gender, Race and Philosophy.
Symposia on Gender, Race and Philosophy.Anne Cudd - 2012 - Symposia on Gender, Race, and Philosophy 8 (2).

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