Non-ideal Theory and Gender Voluntarism in Against Purity

Apa Newsletter on Feminism and Philosophy 18 (1):1-5 (2018)
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In Against Purity, Alexis Shotwell takes up a multiplicity of tasks with respect to what I think of as non-ideal ethical theory. In what follows, I trace the relationship of her work to that of non-ideal theorists whose work influences mine. Then, more critically, I probe her analysis of gender voluntarism in Chapter 5, “Practicing Freedom: Disability and Gender Transformation,” partly to better understand what she takes it to be, and partly to advance a cautious defense of some of the moral functions of individualistic performances of gender voluntarism that non-ideal theory leads me to value. I conclude that my interest in retaining a positive account of individualistic gender voluntarism as a form of resistance to a hostile world is due to my tendency to take non-ideal theory as a recommendation for some pessimism, whereas Shotwell’s similar commitments turn out to inform her more optimistic philosophy.



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Kathryn J. Norlock
Trent University

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References found in this work

The atrocity paradigm: a theory of evil.Claudia Card - 2002 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Against Purity: Living Ethically in Compromised Times.Alexis Shotwell - 2016 - Minneapolis, MN, USA: University of Minnesota Press.
Trans*formative Experiences.Rachel McKinnon - 2015 - Res Philosophica 92 (2):419-440.

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