Authors
Natalie Stoljar
McGill University
Abstract
The terms “essentialism” and “antiessentialism” have rhetorical, metaphysical, and political force in feminist philosophical literature. This paper develops the relation between the metaphysics and the politics of essentialism. I argue that there are broadly two metaphysical conceptions of essentialism implicit in the literature: the idea that there is a universal womanness that all women share, and the idea that each individual woman has certain essential properties. The first conception is false because it is incompatible with the existence of “multiple identities” pointed out by proponents of the “politics of identity.” The second conception, while it may be true, is politically innocuous. In order to explain the observations of the politics of identity, we need a “metaphysics of diversity.” This paper argues that adopting a kind of resemblance nominalism will provide the required metaphysics of diversity
Keywords Conference Proceedings  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 978-1-889680-19-4
DOI wcp202000866
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Feminist Perspectives on Sex and Gender.Mari Mikkola - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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