Feminist philosophy

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Feminist philosophy is an approach to philosophy from a feminist perspective and also the employment of philosophical methods to feminist topics and questions. [1] Feminist philosophy involves both reinterpreting philosophical texts and methods in order to supplement the feminist movement and attempts to criticise or re-evaluate the ideas of traditional philosophy from within a feminist framework. [2]

Contents

Main features

Feminist philosophy is united by a central concern with gender. It also typically involves some form of commitment to justice for women, whatever form that may take. [3] Aside from these uniting features, feminist philosophy is a diverse field covering a wide range of topics from a variety of approaches. Feminist philosophers, as philosophers, are found in both the analytic and continental traditions, and a myriad of different viewpoints are taken on philosophical issues within those traditions. Feminist philosophers, as feminists, can also belong to many different varieties of feminism. [2]

Feminist philosophy can be understood to have three main functions:

  1. Drawing on philosophical methodologies and theories to articulate and theorize about feminist concerns and perspectives. This can include providing a philosophical analysis of concepts regarding identity (such as race, socio-economic status, gender, sexuality, ability, and religion) and concepts that are very widely used and theorised within feminist theory more broadly. Feminist philosophy has also been an important source for arguments for gender equality.
  2. Investigating sexism and androcentrism within the philosophical tradition. This can involve critiquing texts and theories that are typically classified as part of the philosophical canon, especially by focusing on their presentation of women and women's experience or the exclusion of women from the philosophical tradition. Another significant trend is the rediscovery of the work of many female philosophers whose contributions have not been recognised.
  3. Contributing to philosophy with new approaches to existing questions as well as new questions and fields of research in light of their critical inquiries into the philosophical tradition and reflecting their concern with gender. [3]

Feminist philosophy existed before the twentieth century but became labelled as such in relation to the discourse of second-wave feminism of the 1960s and 1970s. An important project of feminist philosophy has been to incorporate the diversity of experiences of women from different racial groups and socioeconomic classes, as well as of women around the globe.

Subfields

Feminist philosophers work within a broad range of subfields, including:

Major figures

Influential feminist philosophers include: [ citation needed ]

Critics

Critics of feminist philosophy are not generally critics of feminism as a political or cultural movement but of the philosophical positions put forth under the title "feminist philosophy". [ citation needed ]

Writers and thinkers who have criticised aspects of feminist philosophy include:

See also

Related Research Articles

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Analytic philosophy is a tradition of philosophy that began around the turn of the 20th century and continues to today. Like any philosophical tradition it includes many conflicting thinkers in a broad umbrella with its own particular lineage and history and so is resistant to a clean-cut summary. Some aspects generally found are a fascination with modern scientific practices, an attempt to focus philosophical reflection on smaller problems that lead to answers to bigger questions, and valuing clarity and rigor in one's philosophical thoughts and arguments.

Feminist theory is the extension of feminism into theoretical, fictional, or philosophical discourse. It aims to understand the nature of gender inequality. It examines women's and men's social roles, experiences, interests, chores, and feminist politics in a variety of fields, such as anthropology and sociology, communication, media studies, psychoanalysis, home economics, literature, education, and philosophy.

Sandra G. Harding is an American philosopher of feminist and postcolonial theory, epistemology, research methodology, and philosophy of science. She taught for two decades at the University of Delaware before moving to the University of California, Los Angeles in 1996. She directed the UCLA Center for the Study of Women from 1996 to 2000, and co-edited Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society from 2000 to 2005. She is currently a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Education and Gender Studies at UCLA and a Distinguished Affiliate Professor of Philosophy at Michigan State University. In 2013 she was awarded the John Desmond Bernal Prize by the Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S).

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to philosophy:

Marilyn Frye is an American philosopher and radical feminist theorist. She is known for her theories on sexism, racism, oppression, and sexuality. Her writings offer discussions of feminist topics, such as: white supremacy, male privilege, and gay and lesbian marginalization. Although she approaches the issues from the perspective of justice, she is also deeply engaged with the metaphysics, epistemology, and moral psychology of social categories.

The ethics of care is a normative ethical theory that holds that moral action centers on interpersonal relationships and care or benevolence as a virtue. EoC is one of a cluster of normative ethical theories that were developed by feminists in the second half of the twentieth century. While consequentialist and deontological ethical theories emphasize generalizable standards and impartiality, ethics of care emphasize the importance of response to the individual. The distinction between the general and the individual is reflected in their different moral questions: "what is just?" versus "how to respond?". Carol Gilligan, who is considered the originator of the ethics of care, criticized the application of generalized standards as "morally problematic, since it breeds moral blindness or indifference".

Although men have generally dominated philosophical discourse, women philosophers have engaged in the discipline throughout history. Ancient examples include Hipparchia of Maroneia and Arete of Cyrene. Some women philosophers were accepted during the medieval and modern eras, but none became part of the Western canon until the 20th and 21st century, when some sources indicate that Susanne Langer, G.E.M. Anscombe, Hannah Arendt and Simone de Beauvoir entered the canon.

Linda Martín Alcoff is a Latin-American philosopher and professor of philosophy at Hunter College, City University of New York. Alcoff specializes in epistemology, feminism, race theory and existentialism. She is the author of Visible Identities: Race, Gender, and the Self (2006) and The Future of Whiteness (2015).

Philosophy Study of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct

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Feminist epistemology is an examination of epistemology from a feminist standpoint. Elizabeth S. Anderson describes feminist epistemology as being concerned with the way in which gender influences our concept of knowledge and "practices of inquiry and justification". It is generally regarded as falling under the umbrella of social epistemology.

Feminist political theory is a diverse subfield of feminist theory working towards three main goals:

  1. To understand and critique the role of gender in how political theory is conventionally construed.
  2. To re-frame and re-articulate conventional political theory in light of feminist issues.
  3. To support political science presuming and pursuing gender equality.

Feminist ethics is an approach to ethics that builds on the belief that traditionally ethical theorizing has undervalued and/or underappreciated women's moral experience, which is largely male-dominated, and it therefore chooses to reimagine ethics through a holistic feminist approach to transform it.

Analytical feminism is a line of philosophy that applies analytic concepts and methods to feminist issues and applies feminist concepts and insights to issues that have traditionally been of interest to analytic philosophers. Like all feminists, analytical feminists insist on recognizing and contesting sexism and androcentrism.

Virginia Held American feminist philosopher

Virginia Potter Held is a leading moral, social/political and feminist philosopher whose work on the ethics of care sparked significant research into the ethical dimensions of providing care for others and critiques of the traditional roles of women in society.

Joan Callahan was a Professor Emerita of Philosophy at the University of Kentucky, an institution where she taught for more than twenty years and served in a variety of roles, including as director of the Gender and Women's Studies Program. Callahan's research has focused on feminist theory, critical race theory, ethics, social and political philosophy, the philosophy of law, and on the junctions of these topics.

Feminist aesthetics first emerged in the 1970s and refers not to a particular aesthetic or style but to perspectives that question assumptions in art and aesthetics concerning gender-role stereotypes, or gender. Feminist aesthetics has a relationship to philosophy. The historical philosophical views of what beauty, the arts, and sensory experiences are, relate to the idea of aesthetics. Aesthetics looks at styles of production. In particular, feminists argue that despite seeming neutral or inclusive, the way people think about art and aesthetics is influenced by gender roles. Feminist aesthetics is a tool for analyzing how art is understood using gendered issues. A person's gender identity affects the ways in which they perceive art and aesthetics because of their subject position and the fact that perception is influenced by power. The ways in which people see art is also influenced by social values such as class and race. One's subject position in life changes the way art is perceived because of people's different knowledge's about life and experiences. In the way that feminist history unsettles traditional history, feminist aesthetics challenge philosophies of beauty, the arts and sensory experience.

Diana Meyers is a philosopher working in the philosophy of action and in the philosophy of feminism. Meyers is Professor Emerita of Philosophy at the University of Connecticut.

Eva Feder Kittay is an American philosopher. She is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy (Emerita) at Stony Brook University. Her primary interests include feminist philosophy, ethics, social and political theory, metaphor, and the application of these disciplines to disability studies. Kittay has also attempted to bring philosophical concerns into the public spotlight, including leading The Women's Committee of One Hundred in 1995, an organization that opposed the perceived punitive nature of the social welfare reforms taking place in the United States at the time.

Feminist philosophy of science means of interpreting scientific evidence through a feminist lens

Feminist philosophy of science is a branch of feminist philosophy that seeks to understand how the acquirement of knowledge through scientific means has been influenced by notions of gender and gender roles in society. Feminist philosophers of science question how scientific research and scientific knowledge itself may be influenced and possibly compromised by the social and professional framework within which that research and knowledge is established and exists. The intersection of gender and science allows feminist philosophers to reexamine fundamental questions and truths in the field of science to reveal any signs of gender biases. It has been described as being located "at the intersections of the philosophy of science and feminist science scholarship", and has attracted considerable attention since the 1970s.

References

  1. "Feminist Philosophy - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy". www.iep.utm.edu.
  2. 1 2 Gatens, M., Feminism and Philosophy: Perspectives on Difference and Equality (Indiana University Press, 1991)
  3. 1 2 3 Kittay, Eva Feder & Linda Martín Alcoff, "Introduction: Defining Feminist Philosophy" in The Blackwell Guide to Feminist Philosophy, Blackwell Publishing, 2007. ISBN   0470695382
  4. Gilligan, Carol (1982). In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development. Harvard University Press. ISBN   978-0674970960.
  5. Bowdon, M., Pigg, S., & Pompos Mansfield, L. (2014). Feminine and Feminist Ethics and Service Learning Site Selection: The Role of Empathy. Feminist Teacher, 24(1/2), 57–82.
  6. Oksala, J. (2011). Sexual Experience: Foucault, Phenomenology, and Feminist Theory. Hypatia, 26(1), 207–223.
  7. Schües, C., Olkowski, D. E., & Fielding, H. A. (2011). Time in Feminist Phenomenology. Bloomington, UNITED STATES: Indiana University Press.
  8. Fedorivna, B.-D. L. (2015). Philosophical aspects of understanding the trend of feminist aesthetics. Studia Humanitatis, 3.
  9. Felski, R. (1989). Beyond feminist aesthetics: Feminist literature and social change. Harvard University Press.
  10. Sider, T. (2017). Substantivity in feminist metaphysics. Philosophical Studies, 174(10), 2467-2478.
  11. Always/Already Podcast (November 23, 2014) Always/Already Podcast: Episode 12-LIVING ALTERITIES: PHENOMENOLOGY, EMBODIMENT, AND RACE [Audio Podcast] Retrieved from: https://alwaysalreadypodcast.wordpress.com/2014/11/23/ep-12-living-alterities-phenomenology-embodiment-and-race/
  12. Mikkola, M. (2017). On the apparent antagonism between feminist and mainstream metaphysics. Philosophical Studies, 174(10), 2435–2448
  13. Barnes, E. (2014). XV-Going Beyond the Fundamental: Feminism in Contemporary Metaphysics. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society (Paperback), 114(3pt3), 335–351.
  14. Longino, H. E., & Hammonds, E. (1990). Conflicts and tensions in the feminist study of gender and science. In M. Hirsch & E. F. Keller (Eds.), Conflicts in feminism. New York: Routledge
  15. Richardson, S. S. (2010). Feminist philosophy of science: history, contributions, and challenges. Synthese, 177(3), 337–362.

Further reading