Philosophy in a Feminist Voice: Critiques and Reconstructions

Philosophy in a Feminist Voice: Critiques and Reconstructions

Philosophy in a Feminist Voice: Critiques and Reconstructions

Philosophy in a Feminist Voice: Critiques and Reconstructions

Synopsis

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.

Excerpt

This book has grown out of a number of concerns: that philosophy as we know it today in the West is largely the product of the work of misogynist men of the past, men who were either unresponsive to the needs and interests of women, or whose ideas were downright antithetical to those needs and interests; that feminist philosophy, which is responsive to the needs and interests of women, has been largely ignored by this same philosophical tradition; that the same kind of feminist critical and reconstructive work that has been largely ignored by philosophy in recent times has been transformative of other fields (like history and theology and biology and psychology and English literature); that these other fields attract large—and, indeed, ever growing—numbers of women to them; and that philosophy, by contrast, has yet to attract significant numbers of women to it

Our aim, of course, is to change all this. To that end we offer a clear understanding, free of jargon or specialized presuppositions, of what feminist philosophy is about, why it is important, and what it offers to philosophy. More specifically, we offer a comprehensive feminist critique of most of the major areas of philosophy, written by distinguished contributors to these areas, together with a sketch of some of the new directions in which work is proceeding in these areas, and also some of the new directions in which philosophical work can and ought to proceed. We hope thereby to promote informed dialogue between so-called feminist philosophers and mainstream philosophers, and thereby bring about much-needed change in philosophy.

Many people have added immeasurably to this project, whether with suggestions, advice, or encouragement. Foremost among them are Sandra Bartky, Paddy Blanchette, Phil Quinn, and especially Jim Sterba, to whom the book is dedicated. Ann Wald, Helen Hsu, and Karen Verde of Princeton University Press showed immense patience and fortitude through an avalanche of problems and delays. Finally, my daughter, Sonya, contributed the love and support needed to see the project through to its completion.

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