Though many pioneering feminists were deeply influenced by American pragmatism, their contemporary followers have generally ignored that tradition because of its marginalization by a philosophical mainstream intent on neutral analyses devoid of subjectivity. In this revealing work, Charlene Haddock Seigfried effectively reunites two major social and philosophical movements, arguing that pragmatism, because of its focus on the emancipatory potential of everyday experiences, offers feminism its most viable and powerful philosophical foundation. With careful attention to their interwoven histories and contemporary concerns, (...) _Pragmatism and Feminism_ effectively invigorates both traditions, opening them to new interpretations and appropriations and asserting their timely philosophical relevance. This foundational work in feminist theory simultaneously invites and guides future scholarship in an area of rapidly emerging significance. (shrink)
: I argue that the experimental method, like the corporeality of the body and the permeability of skins, links John Dewey and Friedrich Nietzsche. I raise questions about referring to bodies rather than body-minds, emphasizing hypothetical construction and the body rather than mutual responsiveness and situatedness, and whether Nietzsche's elitism is comparable to Dewey's democratic ideal of inclusiveness. With Naomi Zack, I argue for substituting ethnicity for race, and also develop Jane Addams as a model for recognizing and dismantling privilege.
This work is organized into five sections on overcoming nihilism and skepticism, interpretive structures of human experience, hermeneutic methods, knowledge and truth, and overcoming the tradition. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc.
Unlike our counterparts in Europe who have rewritten their specific cultural philosophical heritage, American feminists have not yet critically reappropriated our own philosophical tradition of classical American pragmatism. The neglect is especially puzzling, given that both feminism and pragmatism explicitly acknowledge the material or cultural specificity of supposedly abstract theorizing. In this article I suggest some reasons for the neglect, call for the rediscovery of women pragmatists, reflect on a feminine side of pragmatism, and point out some common features. The (...) aim is to encourage the further development of a feminist revisioning of pragmatism and a pragmatist version of feminism. (shrink)
This is the first collection of essays to evaluate John Dewey's pragmatist philosophy from a feminist perspective. The variety of feminist interpretations offered here ranges from Jane Addams's praise for his collegial efforts to resolve the problems of the inner city to contemporary comparisons of his approach with Addams's own critique of capitalism as patriarchal. In between are essays assessing Dewey's contributions to feminist theory and practice both in his lifetime and in regard to contemporary feminist approaches to education, subjectivity, (...) objectivity and truth, and social and political philosophy. At a time when feminists are questioning and developing alternatives to the scientistic value-free inquiry advocated by logical positivism, the myth of detached observation informing the epistemological turn, rationalistic ethics, and the model of an unattached, nonrelational subject, this book reminds us of Dewey's early and passionate opposition to the same assumptions and his reconstruction of philosophy as a "method of moral and political diagnoses and prognosis." It has often been remarked that Dewey's pragmatism provides a genuine alternative to the usual masculinist biases of Western philosophy, and the various essays in this book develop this claim more extensively. Contributors, besides the editor, are Jane Addams, Ana M. Martínez Alemán, Paula Droege, Marilyn Fischer, Eugenie Gatens-Robinson, Judith M. Green, Lisa Heldke, Ellen Condliffe Lagemann, Erin McKenna, Marjorie C. Miller, Elizabeth Kamarck Minnich, and Shannon Sullivan. (shrink)
Since I think that an inability to recognize and respect the dignity of human beings because of perceived differences is at the center of the most intense disputes that we face in the twenty-first century, we have a particularly pressing duty as philosophers to develop and demonstrate principled beliefs that at the same time value beliefs contrary to one’s own. One of the most troubling developments in the discipline of philosophy over the course of the twentieth century, therefore, was its (...) increasing insulation from cultural, social, and political issues as it sought to emulate the presumed value neutrality of the sciences. As a first step toward a more principled and thoughtful approach to the value of diversity, we need to openly address the divisions in our own ranks as to what constitutes philosophyand how it ought to be carried out, and I use feminist and pragmatist approaches as cases in point. (shrink)
I argue that the experimental method, like the corporeality of the body and the permeability of skins, links John Dewey and Friedrich Nietzsche. I raise questions about referring to bodies rather than body-minds, emphasizing hypothetical construction and the body rather than mutual responsiveness and situatedness, and whether Nietzsche's elitism is comparable to Dewey's democratic ideal of inclusiveness. With Naomi Zack, I argue for substituting ethnicity for race, and also develop Jane Addams as a model for recognizing and dismantling privilege.
The author argues that the contributions of Jane Addams and the women of theHull House Settlement to pragmatist theory, particularly as formulated by JohnDewey, are largely responsible for its emancipatory emphasis. By recoveringAddams's own pragmatist theory, a version of pragmatist feminism is developedthat speaks to such contemporary feminist issues as the manner of inclusionin society of diverse persons, marginalized by gender, ethnicity, race, andsexual orientation; the strengths and limitations of standpoint theory; and theneed for feminist ethics to embrace the social (...) nature of morality. The model ofsocial democracy that informs the pragmatist shift from a detached theory ofknowing to an engaged theory of understanding differentiates it from both liberalindividualism and communitarianism. Dewey's repeated attacks on theincoherence of the model of classical liberal individualism, for example, areeven more persuasive when seen in the context of the model of the intersubjectiveconstitution of the individual that Addams develops from examining therelation of personal development to social interaction among the women residentsof Hull House. (shrink)
This essay introduces some of the many interests, methodologies, and goals that the philosophical tradition of classical American philosophy, usually referred to as pragmatism, shares with feminist theories. Because pragmatism developed along with the emergence of departments of philosophy in the United States, it also begins recovering the shared history of some of the first women to receive philosophy degrees. It claims that women in and out of the academy influenced pragmatism and shows how contemporary feminist philosophers continue to challenge (...) and appropriate it. (shrink)
Despite her busy life as a social activist, Jane Addams still managed to write ten books and over a hundred articles.2 These often had their origins in the many lectures she gave as the primary spokesperson for the Hull House settlement and indefatigable public speaker for social reform. When she organized these lectures for publication, often adding new material or rearranging old content, her prefaces and introductions allowed her to explain to the reader her intentions in doing so and to (...) focus their attention on the issues she thought were most important. By isolating them from their texts and reading them in chronological order, her basic commitments and methodology stand out more clearly. From first to last .. (shrink)
Why may not our acts be "the workshop of being, where we catch fact in the making?"1I find it difficult to respond to Peter H. Hare's writings because we come from different universes of discourse and have presumably different intentions. Whereas Peter translates James's writings into traditional philosophical issues as expressed through analytic discourse, I tend to follow James's quirky re-working of these issues to see where they lead and use his own vocabulary rather than translating it into another one. (...) We bring our intellectual backgrounds with us, though, and my way of understanding James—or Dewey or Addams, for that matter—is no more a transparent reading than is his. Although I choose to read and .. (shrink)
My exploration of the nature of and importance of place will focus on two women: Jane Addams and Margaret Preston.1 As far as I know, Jane Addams never met Margaret Preston, who was Australia’s foremost woman painter between the two world wars, nor did they influence each other in any way. However, they partially overlap in time: Jane Addams 1860–1935, Margaret Preston 1875–1963. They also share similar approaches to the ties that bind us to the countries in which we live (...) and work. They both encouraged and contested the popular myths of homeland and worked to reform and redefine the meaning of nationalism. In their lives, they ran up against similar obstacles. Ironically, these and other significant similarities .. (shrink)
with her usual concern with accuracy and clarity, Marilyn Fischer’s explanations are exemplary models of the value of historical scholarship. Concern with context in its many forms is integral to pragmatist philosophy, but the range and depth of Fischer’s research make her papers especially valuable. She helps us understand the extent to which the horizon of understanding is bounded by the particularities of time and place. Careful elucidation of less familiar concrete horizons can give us a better understanding of unfamiliar (...) beliefs and values and illuminate our own pre-suppositions.Such concreteness cuts two ways. It can re-invigorate current debates by challenging our assumptions of what particular texts mean .. (shrink)
This essay introduces Jessie Taft's pragmatist feminist dissertation, which was written under the guidance of George Herbert Mead at the University of Chicago in 1913 and published in 1915. It gives a brief biography of Taft and summarizes the four chapters of her dissertation, the second of which is reprinted below.
In "the principles of psychology" james both claimed to be putting psychology on a firm foundation as a natural science in the positivist sense and argued that the positivist program was untenable. this inconsistency is partially the result of the transitional character of the "principles" but, more fundamentally, a reflection of the traditional division between science as objective knowledge of an independent reality and the subjective moral realm of human agency. this paper explains why james was as yet unable to (...) integrate scientific and moral-aesthetic views and in so doing indicates the fundamental shift involved in his developing philosophical pragmatism. (shrink)