Feminism and Philosophy: Essential Readings in Theory, Reinterpretation, and Application

Feminism and Philosophy: Essential Readings in Theory, Reinterpretation, and Application

Feminism and Philosophy: Essential Readings in Theory, Reinterpretation, and Application

Feminism and Philosophy: Essential Readings in Theory, Reinterpretation, and Application

Synopsis

The past twenty years have seen an explosion of work by feminist philosophers and several surveys of this work have documented the richness of the many different ways of doing feminist philosophy. But this major new anthology is the first broad and inclusive selection of the most important work in this field. There are many unanswered questions about the future of feminist philosophy. Which of the many varieties of feminist philosophy will last, and which will fade away? What kinds of accommodations will be possible with mainstream non-feminist philosophy? Which will separate themselves and flourish on their own? To what extent will feminists change the topics philosophers address? To what extent will they change the very way in which philosophy is done?However these questions are answered, it is clear that feminist philosophy is having and will continue to have a major impact on the discipline of philosophy. This volume is the first to allow the scholar, the student, and other interested readers to sample this diverse literature and to ponder these questions for themselves. Organized around nine traditional "types" of feminist philosophy, Feminism and Philosophy is an imaginatively edited volume that will stimulate readers to explore many new pathways to understanding. It marks a defining moment in feminist philosophy, and it will be an essential text for philosophers and for feminist theorists in many other fields.

Excerpt

Our anthology has three fundamental goals. Its first and foremost goal is to enable readers to understand what differentiates each of the feminist perspectives we have chosen for discussion, if only to better appreciate the diversity of feminist thought. Liberal, Marxist, radical, socialist, psychoanalytic, ecological, phenomenological, postmodern, and anarcha feminists provide a number of distinct as well as intersecting explanations for women's personal, professional, and political conditions. They also provide a variety of differing recommendations for improving or transforming those conditions. Feminists disagree about which aspects of women's lives—work, sexual relations, or family relations—best explain women's oppression, repression, and suppression under patriarchy. They also disagree about which legal remedies, job opportunities, sexual experiments, reproductive technologies, and linguistic revisions are most likely to liberate women. Finally, they disagree about which forms of oppression other than gender oppression feminists must address: racism, classism, homophobia, ageism, or any and all forms of systematic discrimination.

The second basic aim of our anthology is to help readers challenge traditional philosophy with as many feminist perspectives as possible. As we see it, each feminist perspective sheds light on what is absent as well as what is present in traditional philosophy. All too often, traditional philosophers have neglected so-called women's issues: child care, housework, sexual relations, and family problems. In addition, traditional philosophers have embraced a metaphysics that dichotomizes reality into oppositional dyads such as culture/nature, mind/body, reason/emotion, self/other, male/female and that privileges the first member of each of these dyads over the other. Uncovering this metaphysic has enabled feminist philosophers to realize that it will not be sufficient to simply add women's concerns to the subject matter of traditional philosophy but that the very categories of traditional philosophy themselves are gender-marked and must therefore be reconceptualized.

The third and final goal of our anthology is to persuade readers that feminist philosophers make the kinds of distinctions that matter in women's everyday lives. Feminist philosophers do not simply engage in thought for thought's sake. They are committed to major social changes—to achieving equality between men and women— and they see their theories as contributing to such a fundamental transformation. Thus, feminist analyses of a wide range of personal, professional, and political issues not only reveal, for example, the uses, abuses, and misuses of power to which traditional philosophical analyses remain oblivious; they also prompt women and men to change themselves, others, and their mutual environment.

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