A book of tremendous influence when it first appeared, A Mind of One's Own reminded readers that the tradition of Western philosophy-- in particular, the ideals of reason and objectivity-- has come down to us from white males, nearly all of whom are demonstrably sexist, even misogynist. In this second edition, the original authors continue to ask, What are the implications of this fact for contemporary feminists working within this tradition? The second edition pursues this question about the value of (...) reason and objectivity in new directions using the fresh perspectives and diverse viewpoints of the new generation of feminist philosophers. A Mind of One's Own is essential reading and an essential reference for philosophers and for all scholars and students concerned about the nature of knowledge and our pursuit of it. (shrink)
when it is actually heating water; an object is perceptible only when it is actually being 1 perceived-- and so on. But, it is part of the notion of a causal power that it exists whether or not it is active. In order to respond to this challenge Aristotle draws a distinction between two ways of being a power; when it is active the power exists actually; when it is inactive it exists potentially. Contemporary writers have noted that we need (...) a way of understanding powers that includes their present but inactive existence, although Aristotle’s ontological response to this difficulty might seem wrong-headed or unnecessary. One objectionable aspect to his solution is the inherently teleological relationship between being x potentially and being x actually. Second, Aristotle does not draw an ontological distinction between those powers that operate with reason, and those that do not. He does provide different conditions of realization for the two kinds of powers, but those conditions are variants within the same ontology of causal powers. In this regard, Aristotle offers one possible realist framework of causal powers that sees human action on a continuum with the physical sciences rather than as categorically different from them, and therefore requiring an entirely different explanatory framework. It is important to note, however, that Aristotle’s paradigmatic physical science is biology and his framework for understanding natural living beings is teleological. Perhaps a better way to put this is that Aristotle’s understanding of the physical sciences is entirely different from ours, and it is a good question how relevant Aristotle’s unified framework of causal powers is given current conceptions of the physical sciences, and the centrality of physics and chemistry as models of the physical sciences. The common theme that unites both of these aspects of Aristotle’s ontology of causal powers is the central presence of teleology. (shrink)
There is a surprising number of deformed animal kinds mentioned in Aristotle’s biological works. The number is surprising because, according to the standard understanding of deformed animals in Aristotle, it should be zero. And the number is significant because there are just too many deformed kinds at too many classificatory levels mentioned in too many works to dismiss them as a minor aberration or as an infiltration of folk belief into biology proper. This paper has two goals. The first is (...) to develop an interpretation of deformed animal kinds in Aristotle, which focuses on the meaning of deformity applied to kinds. To my knowledge there is no adequate interpretation of the meaning of deformity applied to kinds in the scholarly literature. (shrink)
“How can it be that the female is both functional and a failure?”. Sophia Connell’s response comes in the form of a careful, thorough, and philosophically sensitive interpretation of Aristotle’s treatise on animal generation. By pursuing the topic of what Aristotle says about female animals and their role in reproduction, Connell casts light into many difficult corners of his theory: What does it mean to say that the male is the “hê archê [tês] kinêseos” of the generation? How should we (...) think of the motions in the semen that “construct” the embryo? Are these motions the same? According to Connell, they are not. The efficient cause of the generation is the male; he is the origin... (shrink)
The past twenty five years have seen an explosion of feminist writing on the philosophical canon, a development that has clear parallels in other disciplines like literature and art history. Since most of the writing is, in one way or another, critical of the tradition, a natural question to ask is: Why does the history of philosophy have importance for feminist philosophers? This question assumes that the history of philosophy is of importance for feminists, an assumption that is warranted by (...) the sheer volume of recent feminist writing on the canon. This entry explores the different ways that feminist philosophers are interacting with the Western philosophical tradition. (shrink)
The characters of tragedy are in some sense responsible for their errors. However, given their ignorance of the consequences of their actions, it seems that they ought not be held responsible by others for what they have done. This is a paradox. The way to resolve the paradox is to distinguish two kinds of agent responsibility: accountability and culpability. Being accountable is primarily a private affair, whereas being culpable entails the possibility of just punishment.
292 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 34:2 APRIL ~996 Huffman gives an excellent discussion of Philolaus' place in the development of Presocratic discussions of archai and hypotheses; and he reconstructs Philolaus' cosmogony and embryology, showing how Philolaus generates the cosmos and individ- ual living things within it from analogous principles, the central fire of the cosmos and the vital heat of an animal. Huffman places Philolaus' "literally eccentric world-view" in the context of this cosmogony, while at the same time (...) vindicating its mathematical good sense. Huffman's reconstruc- tion of Philolaus is an important contribution to understanding the Presocratic activity of writing peri phuseOs, both in reasoning to the arch~ and in explaining how the cosmos and living beings are generated from it. Restoring Philolaus to his place in the history of Presocratic philosophy helps us understand that history as a whole; though more remains to be said.. (shrink)