Toward a Feminist Philosophy of Economics

Toward a Feminist Philosophy of Economics

Toward a Feminist Philosophy of Economics

Toward a Feminist Philosophy of Economics

Synopsis

Feminist economists have demonstrated that questioning implicit assumptions about gender results in an economics that is less biased and more faithful to empirical evidence than are mainstream accounts. This rigorous and comprehensive book describes, analyzes and criticizes all of the main issues of feminist economics including: neoclassical economics, post-colonial theory and evolutionary economics.

Excerpt

Toward a Feminist Philosophy of Economics is an anthology of essays that sketch the contours of feminist economics and examine the ways in which it can contribute to new and better ways of understanding and practicing economics. By historicizing, theorizing, and critically reflecting on feminist economics, we intend to participate in moving feminist economics out of the margin and into the center: to become economics, unmodified.

Feminist economics is uniquely situated at the intersection of economics, feminism, and philosophy. Scholars are reconceptualizing what economics is, what methodologies are appropriate for feminist research in economics, and what the relationship is between feminist theory and economics. In doing so they inherit both the strengths and the weaknesses of these fields. Feminist economics inherits the prestige and subject matter of economics, along with the problems and paradoxes associated with the scientific aspirations of the discipline. Debates over the truth of assumptions, the importance of statistical evidence, and the role of mathematical reasoning are not eliminated by the introduction of feminist theory. Feminism contributes the powerful tool of gender analysis, along with the contemporary debates in feminist theory regarding the primacy of gender as an analytic category and its relationship to other categories of identity, such as race, class, and sexual orientation. The framework for addressing questions of epistemology and ontology is part of the philosophical heritage of feminist economics, a heritage that includes postmodern and postcolonial thinkers who call into question the very possibility of such concepts. These issues are, broadly speaking, part of the purview of a feminist philosophy of economics.

We understand feminism to be a theoretical and ethical position. The social construction of gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, nation, and other categories of identity is at the heart of contemporary feminist theorizing. Systems of hierarchy and privilege based on them are ethically suspect. Since women’s lives differ dramatically depending on various and sometimes contradictory social locations, positing an essentialized, universal subordination of women is no longer tenable. Unstable and shifting as the category “women” is, it nonetheless remains . . .

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