For many, Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex has only historic significance. The aim of this article is to show on the contrary that Beauvoir's philosophy already contains all the elements of contemporary feminism-so much so that it can be taken as its paradigm. Beauvoir's ideas about the self are extremely relevant today. Feminist themes such as the logic of "equality and difference" and identity are interwoven in her thinking in ways that can offer solutions to what seem to (...) be insurmountable dilemmas in modern feminism. The attack on all kinds of essentialism can be reconciled with feminist identity-politics when the latter presents itself as "arts of living.". (shrink)
Helen Macfarlane, revolutionary social critic, feminist and Hegelian philosopher was the first English translator of Karl Marx and Fredrich Engel's theCommunist Manifesto. Her original translation is included in this edition. Marx publicly admired her as a rare and original thinker and journalist. This book recreates her intellectual and political world at a key turning point in European history.
Feminist economists have demonstrated that interrogating hierarchies based on gender, ethnicity, class and nation results in an economics that is biased and more faithful to empirical evidence than are mainstream accounts. This rigorous and comprehensive book examines many of the central philosophical questions and themes in feminist economics including: · History of economics · Feminist science studies · Identity and agency · Caring labor · Postcolonialism and postmodernism With contributions from such leading figures as Nancy Folbre, Julie (...) Nelson and Sandra Harding, Toward a Feminist Theory of Economics looks set to become the book on feminist economics for some time to come and will be greatly appreciated by all those interested in gender studies, economic methodology and social theory. (shrink)
In this volume we situate the future directions of feminist phenomenology in the here and now. We contend that in this moment feminist phenomenology is well positioned to take a leading role, not simply in terms of consolidating existing feminist methodologies but also in engaging the difficult task of thinking through the actual in the fullness of its relational, agential, ontological, experiential, and fleshly being, thereby opening up future possibilities. We also think there is some urgency to (...) this claim. For many, faith in the rational human subject has been shattered by the events of twentieth and twenty-first centuries’ worldwide conflicts and increasing sectarianism. The concept of the subject as such is either obsolete or needs to be dynamically rethought. The current options appear to include resuscitating the rational liberal subject or agent, acknowledging limited agency in the performativity of language and gesture, or recognizing the agency of matter. We want to argue instead for a feminist phenomenological approach that begins with multiple, meaningful points of view on relational being. (shrink)
This is a revised edition of Walker's well-known book in feminist ethics first published in 1997. Walker's book proposes a view of morality and an approach to ethical theory which uses the critical insights of feminism and race theory to rethink the epistemological and moral position of the ethical theorist, and how moral theory is inescapably shaped by culture and history. The main gist of her book is that morality is embodied in "practices of responsibility" that express our identities, (...) values, and connections to others in socially patterned ways. Thus ethical theory needs to be empirically informed and politically critical to avoid reiterating forms of socially entrenched bias. Responsible ethical theory should reveal and question the moral significance of social differences. The book engages with, and challenges, the work of contemporary analytic philosophers in ethics. Moral Understandings has been influential in reaching a global audience in ethics and feminist philosophy, as well as in tangential fields like nursing ethics; research ethics; disability ethics; environmental ethics, and social and political theory. This revised edition contains a new preface, a substantive postscript to Chapter 1 about "the subject of moral philosophy"; the addition of a new chapter on the importance of emotion in practices of responsibility; and the addition of an afterword, which responds to critics of the book. (shrink)
Grosz gives a critical overview of Lacan's work from a feminist perspective. Discussing previous attempts to give a feminist reading of his work, she argues for women's autonomy based on an indifference to the Lacanian phallus.
This article offers a feminist perspective on contract theories in law,economics and law-and-economics. It identifies masculine traits presentcontract theories in all three disciplines. It then describes andassesses some developments that appear to be ‘feminising’: Therecognition of the importance of social norms in contract theory andtheories of contract as relationship. The article's main claim is that amasculine model of decision-making persists even within the less overtlymasculine models of contract. The problem of sexually transmitted debtresulting from a surety contract is analysed (...) in detail as a specificexample supporting the article's general argument. The article concludesthat the way forward is to be found in a recognition of other ways ofmaking decisions. (shrink)
This article considers, from a feminist perspective, the introduction of the European Equal Treatment Amendment Directive (E.T.A.D.) and its impact on the law of sexual harassment in the United Kingdom. Since feminists identified sexual harassment as a problem for women in the 1970s, feminist legal scholars have focused their attention on the law as a means of redressing it. Bringing claims in the U.K. has been difficult because of the absence of a definition of sexual harassment and reliance (...) in the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 on a comparator approach. These problems are illustrated by the recent House of Lords decision in Pearce v. Governing Body of Mayfield Secondary School(2003). The failure of the House of Lords in Pearce to understand sexual harassment as an issue of substantive equality for women makes the introduction of the European law all the more the pressing. The author discusses the implications of the changes embodied in the E.T.A.D. in the light of feminist theory. She argues that the changes envisaged constitute welcome developments which will make it easier to remedy workplace sexual harassment. However, it is also likely that problems will remain for women in establishing sexual harassment claims, particularly if concepts of reasonableness and unwelcome behaviour continue to form part of the legal definition. (shrink)
"The book’s contribution to feminist philosophy of religion is substantial and original.... It brings the continental and Anglo-American traditions into substantive and productive conversation with each other." —Ellen Armour To what extent has the emergence of the study of religion in Western culture been gendered? In this exciting book, Grace Jantzen proposes a new philosophy of religion from a feminist perspective. Hers is a vital and significant contribution which will be essential reading in the study of religion.
Moral distress has been written about extensively in nursing and other fields. Often, however, it has not been used with much theoretical depth. This paper focuses on theorizing moral distress using feminist ethics, particularly the work of Margaret Urban Walker and Hilde Lindemann. Incorporating empirical findings, we argue that moral distress is the response to constraints experienced by nurses to their moral identities, responsibilities, and relationships. We recommend that health professionals get assistance in accounting for and communicating their values (...) and responsibilities in situations of moral distress. We also discuss the importance of nurses creating “counterstories” of their work as knowledgeable and trustworthy professionals to repair their damaged moral identities, and, finally, we recommend that efforts toward shifting the goal of health care away from the prolongation of life at all costs to the relief of suffering to diminish the moral distress that is a common response to aggressive care at end-of-life. (shrink)
"The location of the author’s investigations, the body itself rather than the sphere of subjective representations of self and of function in cultures, is wholly new.... I believe this work will be a landmark in future feminist thinking." —Alphonso Lingis "This is a text of rare erudition and intellectual force. It will not only introduce feminists to an enriching set of theoretical perspectives but sets a high critical standard for feminist dialogues on the status of the body." —Judith (...) Butler Volatile Bodies demonstrates that the sexually specific body is socially constructed: biology or nature is not opposed to or in conflict with culture. Human biology is inherently social and has no pure or natural "origin" outside of culture. Being the raw material of social and cultural organization, it is "incomplete" and thus subject to the endless rewriting and social inscription that constitute all sign systems. Examining the theories of Freud, Lacan, Merleau-Ponty, Foucault, Deleuze, Derrida, etc. on the subject of the body, Elizabeth Grosz concludes that the body they theorize is male. These thinkers are not providing an account of "human" corporeality but of male corporeality. Grosz then turns to corporeal experiences unique to women—menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth, lactation, menopause. Her examination of female experience lays the groundwork for developing theories of sexed corporeality rather than merely rectifying flawed models of male theorists. (shrink)
In this book, Janet Kourany offers an antidote to the pervasive and pernicious strains in Western philosophy that discount women. Most areas of Western philosophy tend not only to ignore women, but also to perpetuate long-standing antifeminine biases of the society as a whole. It does not have to be this way. Rather than be part of the problem, philosophy can be a powerful force for much needed social change. In this collection of essays by some of the most noted (...)feminist philosophers, Kourany showcases ideas on the newest work of Western philosophy that is benefiting women as well as men. Included here are articles by Eileen O'Neill, Louise Antony, Virginia Held, Susan Okin, Carolyn Korsmeyer, Nancy Frankenberry, Lorraine Code, Janet Kourany, Andrea Nye, and Susan Bordo, all of whom show further directions in which philosophy ought to proceed.This book demonstrates that feminist philosophy is not a separate area of philosophy that can safely be ignored by philosophers not "in" it. Rather, it relates to at least most of the major areas of philosophy, and its gains will stand to benefit all philosophers, no matter what their field. (shrink)
In this essay, I attempt to outline a feminist philosophical approach to the current debate concerning (allegedly) false memories of childhood sexual abuse. Bringing the voices of feminist philosophers to bear on this issue highlights the implicit and sometimes questionable epistemological, metaphysical, and ethical-political commitments of some therapists and scientists involved in these debates. It also illuminates some current debates in and about feminist philosophy.
Our universities are the locus of ongoing debates over the politics of gender, of class, of disadvantage and disability—and over the issue of “political correctness.” In _A Feminist I_ Christine Overall offers wide-ranging reflections from a first-person point of view on these issues, and on the politics of the modern university itself. In doing so she continually returns to underlying epistemological concerns. What are our assumptions about the ways in which knowledge is constructed? To what degree are our perceptions (...) shaped by our social roles and identities? In the past generation feminists have led the way in recognising the importance of such questions, and recognising too the ways in which personal experience may be an invaluable reference point in academic theory and practice. But reliance on personal experience is fraught with problems; how is one to deal with tensions between the autobiographical and the analytic? This book points the way to resolving some of those tensions, and to fruitfully sustaining others. It is a book of considerable insight, warm humanity, and genuine importance. (shrink)
Cosmopolitanism and statism represent the two dominant liberal theoretical standpoints in the current debate on global distributive justice. In this paper, I will develop a feminist argument that recommends that statist approaches be rejected. This argument has its roots in the feminist critique of liberal theories of social justice. In Justice, Gender, and the Family Susan Moller Okin argues that many liberal egalitarian theories of justice are inadequate because they assume a strict division between public and private spheres. (...) I will argue that this inadequacy is replicated in statist approaches to global justice. To demonstrate this, I will show how an analogue of Okin's critique of Rawls's A Theory of Justice can be extended to his The Law of Peoples. I will conclude that statist theories inevitably assume a strong divide between public and private spheres and that by doing so they allow for situations marked by gross injustice which anyone concerned with the welfare of the world's most vulnerable should find unacceptable. (shrink)
Book synopsis: The feminist movement has challenged many of the unstated assumptions on which ethics as a branch of philosophy has always rested - assumptions about human nature, moral agency, citizenship and kinship. The twenty-six readings in this book express the discontent of a succession of fiercely articulate women writers, from Mary Wollstonecraft to the present day, with the masculine bias of `morality'. The editors have contributed an overall introduction, which discusses ethics, feminism and feminist themes in ethics, (...) and have provided introductions to each of the readings, designed to situate in their historical and intellectual context. They have also compiled two lists for further reading: `Ethics: a Feminist Bibliography' and `The Male Tradition'. Ethics: A Feminist Reader is an essential resource for students and teachers of philosophy, political theory and women's studies. For anyone with a stake in progressive sexual politics it is an inspirational guide. (shrink)
Contemporary philosophical discourse on global responsibility has sustained a nearly unwavering focus on justice. In response, I investigate an underrepresented element in global justice discussions: insights from feminist philosophy, and more specifically, from the ethics of care. I assess current theories of cosmopolitanism, criticizing the shortcomings of cosmopolitan justice from the perspective of cosmopolitan care. Through the concepts of dependence, vulnerability, and need, I develop a feminist global obligation--the global duty to care--and explore the distinctive vision it offers (...) as the ground and content of a feminist theory of global responsibility. (shrink)
Is it possible for one and the same person to be a feminist and a logician, or does this entail a psychic rift of such proportions that one is plunged into an endless cycle of self-contradiction? Andrea Nye's book, Words of Power (1990), is an eloquent affirmation of the psychic rift position. Although eloquent, I believe it is mistaken in certain serious ways, which I shall address in this paper.Nye advances this position in her concluding essay to Words of (...) Power (Ibid.). In brief, her position is that the logical enterprise is inherently self-contradictory for feminist thinkers. Feminists who attempt to use logic to demonstrate its shortcomings are doomed to failure; arguing against logical claims is self-defeating, for the critic will be sucked into the maelstrom of logical tradition. Hydra-headed, the logical monster will thrive rather than perish under the sharpened edge of argument; hence the critic succeeds only in strengthening the very endeavour whose shortcomings she attempts to expose. This is guaranteed to happen, according to Nye, because in entering the debate, one is thereby committed to the terms of the debate. The critic herself will be devoured in the process, for logic was constructed to eliminate the voices and concerns of women. ‘The feminist logician speaks from a script in which the master always wins' (Ibid., p. 180).If feminists cannot use logic itself to attack the arrogant and unsupportable assumptions of logic, what are our alternatives? Nye sketches two alternatives - one is to simply turn our backs on logic, ignoring it in all of its masculine arrogance, and talk among ourselves in our own women's language about our own concerns. Nye does not recommend this alternative, for although it escapes the criticism of arrogance, it does so at the price of impotence. What she does recommend is the second alternative, that as feminists we direct our energy towards reading other people's work, including that of the logicians, and responding to it in ways ‘that can mortally wound’ (Ibid., p. 184) the authors; women, Nye believes, are particularly adept at reading. ‘It is a skill we have perfected’ (Ibid.) in the course of our oppression.In what follows, I shall discuss Nye's proscription of logic as well as her perceived alternatives of a woman's language and reading. This will be followed by a discussion more sharply focused on Nye's feminist response to logic, namely, her claim that feminism and logic are incompatible. I will end by offering a sketch of a class in the life of a feminist teaching logic, a sketch which is both a response to Nye (in Nye's sense of the word) and a counter-example to her thesis that logic is necessarily destructive to any genuine feminist enterprise. (shrink)
Linda LeMoncheck introduces a new way of thinking and talking about women's sexual pleasures, preferences, and desires. Using the tools of contemporary analytic philosophy, she discusses methods for mediating the tensions among apparently irreconcilable feminist perspectives on women's sexuality and shows how a feminist epistemology and ethic can advance the dialogue in women's sexuality across a broad political spectrum. She argues that in order to capture the diversity and complexity of women's sexual experience, women's sexuality must be examined (...) from two equally compelling perspectives: that of women's sexual oppression under conditions of individual and institutional male dominance; and that of women's sexual liberation, both in terms of each woman's pursuit of sexual agency and self-definition, and in terms of women's sexual liberation as a class. Loose Women, Lecherous Men sheds crucial new light on such much-debated topics as promiscuity, adultery, sexual deviance, prostitution, pornography, sexual harassment, and sexual violence against women. Her book supports a dialogue that encourages both women and men to take up a feminist perspective in exploring the meaning and value of sexuality in their lives. (shrink)
There is a sense in which antidepressants are feminist drugs, liberating and empowering …A lot of things have been said about Prozac.1 We have been instructed both to "listen" and to "talk back" to Prozac (Kramer 1993; Breggin 1994), Prozac has been called a wonder drug (Schumer 1989; Cowley 1990), it has been described as capable of dramatically changing selves and dramatically changing our conception of what a self is (Kramer 1993), it has been accused of dulling our artistic (...) drive (Berlin 2008), of diminishing our authenticity (Elliott 2000) and has been called a modern-day Soma, à la Brave New World (Weisberger 1995, 72; PCBE 2003, 258). It has also been called a "feminist drug." It is this last claim that we .. (shrink)
"An eloquent work. Somer Brodribb not only gives us a feminist critique of postmodernism with its masculinist predeterminants in existentialism, its Freudian footholdings and its Sadean values, but in the very form and texture of the critique, she literally creates new discourse in feminist theory. Brodribb has transcended not only postmodernism but its requirement that we speak in its voice even when criticizing it. She creates a language that is at once poetic and powerfully analytical. Her insistent and (...) compelling radical critique refuses essentialism-from both masculinist thinkers and their women followers. She demystifies postmodernism to reveal that it and its antecedents represent yet another mundane version of patriarchal politics. Ultimately Brodribb returns us to feminist theory with the message that we must refuse to be derivative and continue to originate theory and politics from the condition of women under male domination." -Kathleen Barry, author of Female Sexual Slavery An iconoclastic work brilliantly undertaken . . . Nothing Mat(T)ers magnificently shows that postmodernism is the cultural capital of late patriarchy. It is the art of self- display, the conceit of masculine self and the science of reproductive and genetic engineering in an ecstatic Nietzschean cycle of statis." -Andre Michel Nothing Mat(T)ers encapsulates in its title the valuelessness of the current academic fad of postmodernism. Somer Brodribb has written a brave and witty book demolishing the gods and goddesses of postmodernism by deconstructing their method and de-centering their subjects and, in the process, has deconstructed deconstructionism and decentered decentering! This is a long-awaited and much-needed book from a tough- minded, embodied, and unflinching scholar." -Janice Raymond. (shrink)
The Confucian family, not only in its historical manifestations but also in the imagination of the Confucian founders, was the locus of misogynist norms and practices that have subjugated women in varying degrees. Therefore, advancing women’s well-being and equality in East Asia may seem to require radically transforming the Confucian family to approximate alternative ideal conceptions of the family in the West. This article opposes such a stance by arguing that (1) Western conceptions of the family may be neither plausible (...) nor feasible in traditionally Confucian societies and (2) the Confucian family, once reconstructed in line with Confucianism’s core ideas and values, can be conducive to a feminist future in East Asia that is uniquely Confucian. In order to support my position, not only influential contemporary Western ideal conceptions of the family from the justice perspective and care ethics, but also different interpretations of the Confucian family will be carefully examined. (shrink)
In this monograph, I offer feminist reasons to develop a multidimensional account of forgiveness as a moral, and therefore at least partially deliberative, action or set of actions, which functions as a remedy in responding to blame or condemnation, releasing offenders from the fullness of their blameworthiness, in relational contexts which therefore require considerations of power between relata. I rely on feminist philosophical account of the relational self in order to contextualise these power relations. I provide accounts of (...) forgiveness as a performative utterance, third-party forgiveness, and self-forgiveness based upon this feminist and multidimensional model of forgiveness. (shrink)
This paper explores a number of recent proposals regarding "feminist science" and rejects a content-based approach in favor of a process-based approach to characterizing feminist science. Philosophy of science can yield models of scientific reasoning that illuminate the interaction between cultural values and ideology and scientific inquiry. While we can use these models to expose masculine and other forms of bias, we can also use them to defend the introduction of assumptions grounded in feminist political values.
The mainstream literature on corporate governance is based on the premise of conflicts of interest in a competitive game played by variously defined stakeholders and thus builds explicitly and/or implicitly on masculinist ethical theories. This article argues that insights from feminist ethics, and in particular ethics of care, can provide a different, yet relevant, lens through which to study corporate governance. Based on feminist ethical theories, the article conceptualises a governance model that is different from the current normative (...) orthodoxy. (shrink)
In recent years feminist scholarship has increasingly focused on the importance of the body and its representations in virtually every social, cultural, and intellectual context. Many have argued that because women are more closely identified with their bodies, they have access to privileged and different kinds of knowledge than men. In this landmark new book, Paula Cooey offers a different perspective on the significance of the body in the context of religious life and practice. Building on the pathbreaking work (...) of Elaine Scarry in The Body in Pain, Cooey looks at a wide range of evidence, from the Argentine prison narrative of Alicia Partnoy, to the novels of Toni Morrison and the paintings of Frida Kahlo. Drawing on current social theory and critique, cognitive psychology, contemporary fiction and art, and women's accounts of religious experience, Cooey relates the reality of sentience to the social construction of reality. Beginning with an examination of the female body as a metaphor for alternative knowledge, she considers the significance of physical pain and pleasure to the religious imagination, and the relations between sentience, sensuality, and female subjectivity. Cooey succeeds in bringing forward a sophisticated new understanding of the religious importance of the body, at the same time laying the foundations of a feminist theory of religion. (shrink)
Efforts to introduce particular-focused and emotionally engaged storytelling into historiography have sparked intense debate. Stone-Mediatore argues that women and other under-represented groups have a particular interest in defending the epistemic value of storytelling, but that we can do so meaningfully -- not by endorsing all storytelling -- but only by articulating a metahistory that challenges the division between history and story as well as makes explicit the interrelated epistemic and ethical goals of historical inquiry. The author draws on Hannah Arendt (...) and Susan Griffin to begin to articulate such a feminist metahistory. She argues that such a metahistory throws light on the potential value of creative and engaged storytelling, not only for understanding historical events but also for building less violent worlds. (shrink)
Critiques social contract theory from the perspective of feminist psychoanalytic and psychological theory and develops an alternative feminist understanding of obligation as rooted in an epistemology of connection. Utilizes a feminist standpoint theory approach, and contains a discussion of the relevance of postmodernism to feminist philosophy in general and standpoint theory in particular.
In this timely, thoughtful book, which goes to the heart of feminist concerns in the context of larger social, ecological, and theological issues, Nancy R. Howell proposes an ecofeminist worldview based on the organic-relational philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. In particular, the book explores the ways in which Whitehead's philosophy can help to establish interrelationships among various women's communities, the relationship between humanity and nature, and the theological process of relating the world to God. Howell strives to develop principles (...) that are compatible with the wide spectrum of women's voices from different racial backgrounds and social strata. Specifically, she moves beyond mere acknowledgment of differing perspectives within the woman's movement and seriously engages criticisms of race-privileged white feminism by African American and Latin American activists. A Feminist Cosmology calls for a self-critical reformation of feminist thought based on a more inclusive framework, one that takes into account the diversity of relationships among women, the deep interdependence of humanity and the ecosystem, and ultimately the variety of theological perspectives relating the world to God. (shrink)
This paper examines recent feminist work on Spinoza and identifies the elements of Spinoza’s philosophy that have been seen as promising for feminist naturalism. I argue that the elements of Spinoza’s work that feminist theorists have found so promising are precisely those concepts he derives from Hobbes. I argue that the misunderstanding of Hobbes as architect of the egoist model of human nature has effaced his contribution to Spinoza’s more praised conception of the human individual. Despite misconceptions, (...) I argue that the model of human nature, the view on human emotions and the conception of individual power that Hobbes created and Spinoza developed is an uncommonly useful one for feminist political theory. Through reexamining Hobbes’ model of human nature and the emotions I will argue that Hobbes’ theory of the internal weighing of emotions provides an important mechanism for understanding how the individuals’ affects can be reformed. I will show how we can use this naturalistic model of the human individual to answer contemporary theoretical and practical questions of how to empower women and how to effectively identify, challenge and change social categories, norms and institutions which are disempowering. In particular, I will argue that feminist projects of empowerment need a way to measure empowerment and a way to understand how to understand the power of harmful norms and customs. Understanding the way certain norms and practices disempower women while forming their affects and self‐conceptions provides the first step to reform of these practices. Spinoza and Hobbes provide us with a further tool to reform, and that is their understanding of the role of emotions in human action and power, and the need to reform and reorganize the emotions of individuals in order to escape harmful patterns of behavior. (shrink)
Abstract This paper examines a convergence between Heidegger's reconceptualization of subjectivity and intersubjectivity and some recent work in feminist philosophy on relational autonomy. Both view the concept of autonomy to be misguided, given that our capacity to be self-directed is dependent upon our ability to enter into and sustain meaningful relationships. Both attempt to overturn the notion of a subject as an isolated, atomistic individual and to show that selfhood requires, and is based upon, one's relation to and dependence (...) upon others. The paper argues that Heidegger's notion of authentic Mitsein (being-with) rejects traditional notions of autonomy and subjectivity in favor of a relational model of selfhood. Ultimately, it provides a new point of entry into contemporary debates within feminist philosophy on Heidegger's thinking and defends Heidegger from certain feminist critiques. (shrink)
Obstetric violence has been analyzed from various perspectives. Its psychological effects have been evaluated, and there have been several recent sociological and anthropological studies on the subject. But what I offer in this paper is a philosophical analysis of obstetric violence, particularly focused on how this violence is lived and experienced by women and why it is frequently described not only in terms of violence in general but specifically in terms of gender violence: as violence directed at women because they (...) are women. For this purpose, I find feminist phenomenology most useful as a way to explain and account for the feelings that many victims of this violence experience and report, including feelings of embodied oppression, of the diminishment of self, of physical and emotional infantilization. I believe that the insights to be found in feminist phenomenology are crucial for explaining how and why this phenomenon is different in kind from other types of medical violence, objectification, and reification. Iris Marion Young’s description of feminine existence under patriarchy, as conformed by a perpetual oppressive “I cannot,” is at the center of my analysis. I argue that laboring bodies are at least potentially perceived as antithetical to the myth of femininity, undermining the feminine mode of bodily comportment under patriarchy and thereby seriously threatening the hegemonic powers. Violence, then, appears to be necessary in order to domesticate these bodies, to make them “feminine” again. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that a global bioethicsis possible. Specifically, I present the viewthat there are within feminist approaches tobioethics some conceptual and methodologicaltools necessary to forge a bioethics thatembraces the health-related concerns of bothdeveloping and developed nations equally. Tosupport my argument I discuss some of thechallenges that have historically confrontedfeminists. If feminists accept the idea thatwomen are entirely the same, then feministspresent as fact the fiction of the essential``Woman.'' Not only does ``Woman'' not exist,``she'' obscures important racial, (...) ethnic,cultural, and class differences among women. However, if feminists stress women'sdifferences too much, feminists lose the powerto speak coherently and cogently about genderjustice, women's rights, and sexual equality ingeneral. Analyzing the ways in which the ideaof difference as well as the idea of samenesshave led feminists astray, I ask whether it ispossible to avoid the Scylla of absolutism(imperialism, colonialism, hegemony) on the onehand and the Charybdis of relativism(postmodernism, fragmentation, Balkanization)on the other. Finally, after reflecting uponthe work of Uma Narayan, Susan Muller Okin, andMartha Nussbaum, I conclude that there is a wayout of this ethical bind. By focusing onwomen's, children's, and men's common humanneeds, it is possible to lay thefoundation for a just and caring globalbioethics. (shrink)
In Gendered Readings of Change, Clara Fischer develops a unique theory of change by drawing on American philosophy and contemporary feminist thought. Via a select history of ancient Greek and Pragmatist philosophies of change, she argues for a reconstruction of transformation that is inclusive of women's experiences and thought. With wide-ranging analysis, this book addresses ontological, moral, epistemological, and political questions, and includes an insightful exploration of the philosophies of Parmenides, Aristotle, John Dewey, Iris Young, and Jane Addams.
Jean Baudrillard is a pivotal figure in contemporary cultural theory. Without doubt one of the foremost European thinkers of the last fifty years, his work has provoked debate and controversy across a number of disciplines, yet his significance has so far been largely ignored by feminist theorists.
In his (1994) "Feminism, Argumentation, and Coalescence", Michael Gilbert argues that the "Critical Thinking Industry" is antagonistic to women. Because the critical-logical skills in which the industry deals tend to be gender-specific. its adoption as the dominant mode of discourse disenfranchises women, making its overhaul a moral imperative. Following a variety offeminist epistemologists. this conclusion is reached by confiating "critical reasoning" with "communicating about ideas," as though the two were inseparable. In this paper it is argued that the inclusion of (...)feminist modes of communication and evaluating ideas are not at odds with the Critical-Logical model of reasoning. Rather, the very critical features embedded in the feminist approach would seem to represent the best means of arriving at the truth. (shrink)
This paper argues that AI follows classical versions of epistemology in assuming that the identity of the knowing subject is not important. In other words this serves to `delete the subject''. This disguises an implicit hierarchy of knowers involved in the representation of knowledge in AI which privileges the perspective of those who design and build the systems over alternative perspectives. The privileged position reflects Western, professional masculinity. Alternative perspectives, denied a voice, belong to less powerful groups including women. (...) class='Hi'>Feminist epistemology can be used to approach this from new directions, in particular, to show how women''s knowledge may be left out of consideration by AI''s focus on masculine subjects. The paper uncovers the tacitly assumed Western professional male subjects in two flagship AI systems, Cyc and Soar. (shrink)
In The Impossibility of Perfection, Michael Slote tries to show that the traditional Aristotelian doctrine of the unity of the virtues is mistaken. His argumentative strategy is to provide counterexamples to this doctrine, by showing that there are what he calls “partial virtues”—pairs of virtues that conflict with one another but both of which are ethically indispensible. Slote offers two lines of argument for the existence of partial virtues. The first is an argument for the partiality of a particular pair (...) of virtues: frankness and tact. The second is a kind of feminist critique. I argue that both of these lines of argument fail. In both cases, Slote fails to ask whether the apparent conflict between putatively partial virtues has arisen from a misunderstanding of the demands of those virtues. From this error I suggest we can learn an important lesson: whether in our studies thinking about the virtues or in our everyday lives trying to practice them, it is a serious mistake to focus on the relationships among virtues without considering precisely what each of these virtues demands. (shrink)
In this new book, Alessandra Tanesini demonstrates that feminist thought has a lot to offer to the study of Wittgenstein's philosophical work, and that -at the same time-that work can inspire feminist reflection in new directions. In Wittgenstein, Tanesini offers a highly original interpretation of several themes in Wittgenstein's philosophy. She argues that when we look at his work through feminist eyes we discover that he is not primarily concerned with providing solutions to technical problems in the (...) philosophy of mind, mathematics, and language. Instead, his remarks on these topics are intended to offer insights about human finitude, the loneliness of the modern autonomous self, and our relations to other human beings. Thus, the modern conception of the individual emerges as the critical target of Wittgenstein's philosophical work, both early and late. This conception has also been one of the dominant concerns of contemporary feminist philosophy. In this book, Wittgenstein's insights are deployed to further feminist debates on issues such as identity, difference, the masculine character of the modern self. (shrink)
In this article the author suggests that progress in philosophy can be conceived through contemporary French theories that propose a new, polysemantic way of thinking. Postmodern philosophy has tried to renew the meaning of the subject, of the subject's identity, and of language and communication. The author believes that the postmodern, feminist approach to those concepts represents significant progress in philosophy. It is, in fact, exactly in the context of feminism—conceived of not just as a women's sociopolitical or scientific (...) activity but as a broad theoretical approach to many areas—that Western philosophy has acquired its most explicit and adequate meaning. A crucial example here is the new historicophilosophical analysis of the concept of gender. The author appeals to Lipovetsky, Lacan, Derrida, Kristeva, and other thinkers to show how postmodern feminism helps to overcome the binary vision of the contemporary world and the dichotomic composition of earlier philosophical thought. (shrink)
Identifying a range of key concerns related to representation and difference, Representing the Other offers a provocative agenda for the future development of feminist theory and practice. The book's contributors, including many key international researchers in women's studies, draw on personal experiences of speaking "for" and "about" others in their research, professional practice, academic writing, or political activism. They highlight problems of representing the Other with an ethnic or cultural background different from one's own and extend discussions of "Othering" (...) to representations of children, prostitutes, infertile women, fat women, gay men with HIV/AIDS, and people with disabilities. The reader, which includes articles and discussions from four issues of the journal Feminism & Psychology, also features new pieces and an extensive editorial introduction. Representing the Other will be integral reading for students and academics in women's studies, gender studies, and feminist theory across a range of social science disciplines, including social psychology, sociology, anthropology, sociolinguistics, social policy, and political science. (shrink)
Asks what sorts and sources of knowing we should consider compelling as we seek to live morally responsible lives. Contends that Martin Luther's theology of the cross provides a solid theological and ethical basis for a surprisingly congenial conversation with feminist thought and scholarship on these issues.
This commentary was submitted to the World Medical Association on behalf of the International Network on Feminist Approaches to Bioethics. Our submission included (1) a description of feminist research ethics, (2) suggestions for specific revisions to the Declaration, and (3) elements found in other international research ethics codes that are important from a feminist perspective. Our goals were to encourage the WMA to craft a declaration that: (1) conceptualizes issues of vulnerability in richer and more nuanced ways, (...) (2) resists the influence of profit motives, and (3) extends the scope of responsibility for ethical research more broadly. (shrink)
I have been acutely aware, too much so, doubtless, of a tendency of other thinkers and writers to achieve a specious lucidity and simplicity by the mere process of ignoring considerations which a greater respect for the concrete materials of experience would have forced upon them. In her chapter of Disability, Difference, and Discrimination titled “A Feminist Standpoint,” Mary Mahowald looks to feminist standpoint epistemology as a method for identifying, voicing, and mitigating the ways in which people with (...) disabilities are dominated and oppressed by social structures.1 While I will remain uncommitted, for the purposes of this essay at least, to Mahowald’s or any of the other philosophic conceptions of .. (shrink)
it has recently been discovered that propranolol — a beta-blocker traditionally used to treat cardiac arrhythmias and hypertension — might disrupt the formation of the emotionally disturbing memories that typically occur in the wake of traumatic events and consequently prevent the onset of trauma-induced psychological injuries such as Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. One context in which the use of propranolol is generating interest in both the popufor and scientific press is sexual violence. Nevertheless, feminists have so far not weighed in on (...) propranolol. I suggest that the time is ripe for a careful feminist analysis of the moral and political implications of propranolol use in the context of sexual violence. In this paper, I map the feminist issues potentially raised by providing propranolol to victims of sexual assault, focusing in particufor on the compatibility of propranolol use and avaüability with an understanding of the social and systematic dimensions of rape s harms. I do not deliver a final verdict on propranolol; in fact, I show that we do not yet have enough information about propranolol's effects to do so. Rather, 1 provide a feminist framework for evaluating the possibilities and penis opened up by therapeutic memory manipuktion in the context of sexual violence against women. (shrink)
In Wilkinson v. Kitzinger, the petitioner (Susan Wilkinson) sought a declaration of her marital status, following her marriage to Celia Kitzinger in British Columbia, Canada in August 2003. The High Court refused the application, finding that their valid Canadian marriage is, in United Kingdom law, a civil partnership. In this note, I focus on Sir Mark Potter’s adjudication of the human rights issues under Articles 8, 12 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights (E.C.H.R.), highlighting his restatement of (...) the ideology of the ‹traditional’ family as natural, normative and desirable. I argue that this case shows that the exclusion of same sex couples from marriage is a feminist issue, because denying same sex couples access to marriage works to sediment patriarchal ideas and re-inscribe gender roles within the family. (shrink)