Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

Instructive video on implicit bias January 24, 2014

Filed under: academia,bias,politics — annejjacobson @ 10:31 pm

There are some good examples.  Most may be familiar to lots of our readers, but some were new to me.  One thing that emerges is the effects knowledge of sexual orientation can have on student evaluations.  bad news for mothers also.



“Where are the women?”

Filed under: bias,gender,politics — annejjacobson @ 4:01 pm




Really top men investigate the mind January 22, 2014

Filed under: bias,gender — annejjacobson @ 1:45 pm

I note the list of the really top men ends with a link that could conceivably reveal a top woman.


The Foundations of Mind

Thursday, March 6  &  Friday, March 7, 2014

International House • University of California at Berkeley 
2299 Piedmont Ave., Berkeley, CA 94720 • Front Desk: (510) 642-9490 • ihouse.berkeley.edu

The world’s top scholars and neuroscientists discuss cutting-edge issues related to cognition and consciousness. Topics include:

  • Does quantum mechanics have a role in our consciousness?
  • Can brain imaging in fMRI explain all that we are?
  • What is ecological consciousness?

Confirmed plenary speakers / panelists include:

  • Stuart Kauffman (University of Vermont)
  • Terry Deacon (University of California Berkeley)
  • Henry Stapp (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, UC Berkeley)
  • Ed Vul (UC San Diego)
  • Jacob Needleman (San Francisco State University)
  • Jerome Feldman (International Computer Science Institute—UC Berkeley)
  • Tom Griffiths (UC Berkeley)
  • Robert Campbell (Clemson University)
  • Mike Cole (UCSD)
  • José Acacio de Barros (SFSU / Stanford University)
  • Seán Ó Nualláin (University of Ireland)
  • Fr. Robert Spitzer (Magis Institute)
  • Tony Bell (UC Berkeley)
  • Stanley Klein (UC Berkeley)
  • Carlos Montemayor (SFSU)
  • … and more (see Schedule)
  Join the world’s leading cognitive scientists and consciousness scholars for this unique event as mind and consciousness are explored. The perspectives taken range from why the really hard problems like machine vision and translation have not yet been solved to whether a suitably reconstructed notion of consciousness that takes quantum mechanics into account can help save the environment.

 To register, click here now! 

Please send inquiries to
or phone 510-725-8877.

Proposed paper/poster presenters should send a 500-word abstract
to president@universityofireland.com by Feb. 1, 2014.
We already have offers to publish the proceedings from both a peer-reviewed journal and an academic book publisher.



“Am I dead?”

Filed under: academia,bias,gender,human rights,politics,women in philosophy — annejjacobson @ 12:28 am

I hope the quote marks manage to suggest the “I” does not necessarily refer to me!

A recent movie reminded me of a literary trope about death.  The actor is often first shown in some very dangerous or threatening situation.  In the next scene, the character is back in a familiar setting.  Still, no one seems to notice, even people very close to them.  Then they try to speak to someone, but no one hears and so no one replies.  Someone in the scene might get the sense that there’s something unusual in the environment, perhaps an odd wind or lowering of temperature, but the character’s presence is not understood.

How many times, I wondered, have I experienced this scene in philosophy?  It used, I think, to happen a great deal, when one didn’t get called on however often one’s hand went up in a question period until finally at the end one could say something and it was completely misunderstood and dismissed.  I might count the two experiences I’ve had recently of having my comments responded to at a conference by someone who didn’t recognize that I actually argued for the counter-claims I had made.  I could put in here a conviction I recently discovered was shared in a group a people; namely, nothing I did benefited my department or my college.  The latter might have at least asked for my opinion, if I existed.

Interestingly, the too often reported experience of having one’s comment in a question period attributed to someone else certainly fits the literary trope.  Here is a scene in which the character says something and it is heard, but everyone thinks it came from someone else who is visible to them.

I have also had much more perfect instances of the trope, one recent one taking the prize, though without the danger, unless one counts publishing as a woman in philosophy dangerous.

Enough about me!  What about you?


At least our seminars take breaks January 16, 2014

Filed under: academia,bias,gender,politics,women in philosophy — annejjacobson @ 8:34 pm

Below is a contribution from a recent Edge project.  And we thought philosophy was too often bad for women!

The question was, “What scientific idea is ready for retirement?”

My contribution:

The Way We Produce And Advance Science

Last year, I spearheaded a survey and interview research project on the experiences of scientists at field sites. Over sixty percent of the respondents had been sexually harassed, and twenty percent had been sexually assaulted. Sexual predation was only the beginning of what I and my colleagues uncovered: study respondents reported psychological and physical abuses, like being forced to work late into the day without being told when they could head back to camp, not being allowed to urinate, verbal threats and bullying, and being denied food. The majority of perpetrators are fellow scientists senior to the target of abuse, the target themselves usually a female graduate student. Since we started analyzing these data, I haven’t been able to read a single empirical science paper without wondering on whose backs, via whose exploitation, that research was conducted.

There is a lot more to this piece, which you can find by following the link above, which will take you to a very interesting blog.  The author is Prof. Kate Clancy, who was also features in another recent post on FemPhil., Welcome But Not Really.


Violence against women in Papua New Guinea

Filed under: bias,gender,human rights,race — annejjacobson @ 8:01 pm

Apologies for the commercials; the video is worth the VERY SHORT wait, I think.

Click here.


Men propose to classify enactivist theories of cognition January 14, 2014

Filed under: academia,bias,Uncategorized,women in philosophy — annejjacobson @ 6:52 pm

NOTE: I had a fight with Safari, which kept on insisting on “inactivist” for the title of the post. That may be the best comment here.


Varieties of Enactivism: A Conceptual Geography
A one-day symposium at AISB-50, 1st to 4th April 2014, London, UK

Keynote speakers

Xabier Barandiaran (University of the Basque Country)

Daniel Hutto (University of Wollongong / University of Hertfordshire)

J. Kevin O’Regan and Jan Degenaar (Université Paris Descartes)

Michael Wheeler (University of Stirling)


Since two of the speakers were involved with the publication of my very recent Keeping the World in Mind, which presents a very distinctive form of enactivism, I wrote to the conference organizers about being included in the conference, and opening it up. I also explained the concern about all male lineups, and sent references to APA papers. No response.

This post is part of the Gendered Conference Campaign


Is the US a racial democracy? January 13, 2014

Filed under: bias,discrimination,human rights,law,police,politics,social justice — philodaria @ 3:25 am

Jason Stanley and Vesla Weaver have a piece up on The Stone–very well worth a full read– arguing that the United States is a racial democracy, i.e., a democracy “that unfairly applies the laws governing the removal of liberty primarily to citizens of one race, thereby singling out its members as especially unworthy of liberty, the coin of human dignity.” Here, I except:

As one of us has helped document in a forthcoming book, punishment and surveillance by itself causes people to withdraw from political participation — acts of engagement like voting or political activism. In fact, the effect on political participation of having been in jail or prison dwarfs other known factors affecting political participation, such as the impact of having a college-educated parent, being in the military or being in poverty . . .

Evidence suggests that minorities experience contact with the police at rates that far outstrip their share of crime. One study found that the probability that a black male 18 or 19 years of age will be stopped by police in New York City at least once during 2006 is 92 percent. The probability for a Latino male of the same age group is 50 percent. For a young white man, it is 20 percent. In 90 percent of the stops of young minorities in 2011, there wasn’t evidence ofwrongdoing, and no arrest or citation occurred. In over half of the stops of minorities, the reason given for the stop was that the person made “furtive movements.” In 60 percent of the stops, an additional reason listed for the stop was that the person was in a “high crime area.”

Blacks are not necessarily having these encounters at greater rates than their white counterparts because they are more criminal. National surveys show that, with the exception of crack cocaine, blacks consistently report using drugs at lower levels than whites. Some studies also suggest that blacks are engaged in drug trafficking at lower levels. Yet once we account for their share of the population, blacks are 10 times as likely to spend time in prison for offenses related to drugs.

The full article is here. 


So you think you are not biased against any group. So what? January 6, 2014

Filed under: academia,bias,gender,politics,women in philosophy — annejjacobson @ 10:26 pm

In the “Men behaving splendidly” session at the APA, there was some discussion of what percentage of women should we push for. Elizabeth Harman made a strong and important point; it was roughly this: When we give conferences we are educating the next generation, so we should have 50 % women philosophy speakers.

Whatever the right numbers, it is a very safe bet that a conference without women speakers, or with a very small minority of them, is not encouraging women to participate in philosophy.

But, you might say, you don’t think badly of women philosophers; you may an effort to include some, but it doesn’t always work out. Well, read below; in some ways it makes points made at the APA, but briefly and directly:

From Nancy Di Thomaso:

In a study I conducted among white workers, I found that 70% of the participants’ jobs, past and present, had been landed with the help of friends or relatives who were in a position to provide inside information, exert influence on the candidates’ behalf, or directly offer job or promotion opportunities.

Yet virtually all of these employees, as well as white managers I’ve interviewed, maintain that they oppose racism and are in favor of equal opportunity.

In my work on diversity, I often meet CEOs who are genuinely concerned about disparities and are highly motivated to increase their organizations’ diversity. Yet they frame the issue in terms of discrimination and “bias against.” They don’t see the powerful locked-arms effect of the “bias for” that’s prevalent in hiring and promotion decisions. I once spoke to an executive whose company was being celebrated for its commitment to diversity, but over dinner I was told proudly by one of the key HR managers that the company relies on referrals from existing employees for many of their middle-management hires.

Which brings me to take an unpopular stand: Up with bureaucracy.

I don’t mean the kind of bureaucracy that drives people crazy. I mean the kind that provides minority candidates with protections from biases that are embedded in corporate decision-making. It’s perfectly logical for managers to want to interview and hire known quantities—résumés can be opaque and mendacious, and there’s no Angie’s List equivalent for finding highly recommended employees (at least not yet). But when it comes to hiring and promotion, I’m in favor of a systems approach that reduces reliance on the kinds of judgments that lead to bad decisions—an approach that is measured not on process but on outcomes with regard to the competency, race, ethnicity, and gender of hired or promoted employees.

I’ll be the first to acknowledge that a systems approach can feel inadequate; the “numbers” never tell a complete story. Neither companies nor universities rely solely on test scores, because they know that doing so wouldn’t lead to the best outcomes. So the trick is creating a systems approach that evaluates candidates in a holistic way. That means an array of metrics, from competency tests to psychological profiles regarding fit for the job. Companies need to establish specific criteria on what constitutes competence in any given job, and they need to collect data on those specific criteria rather than rely on assumptions or impressions. To be effective, metrics need to be specified in advance, and they need to be up to date and not based solely on managerial perceptions.

Part of the solution is a new mind-set on executives’ part. There’s abundant evidence that just trying harder or wanting to do better doesn’t make a difference. What does matter is being conscious of the decisions we are making—we need to move these crucial decisions from the unconscious to the conscious realm. If we think about being accountable for the decisions we make, and if we stop believing that we can make truly unbiased or objective decisions, then we are less likely to make decisions that reflect implicit or unconscious bias in favor of people like ourselves—and more likely to end up with a workforce that is more diverse and better fits the needs of our organizations and their global clients.


A blow to size shame! December 21, 2013

Filed under: bias,gender,politics,Uncategorized — annejjacobson @ 10:56 pm

Until recently, rare was the ‘elite designer’ who made more than an occasional size 12; sizes 2 and 4 were preferred. It seemed to me, anyway. The idea sseemed to be that if you wanted off the rack high-end clothes, you either had skinny genes or you worked at it. If there’s a uncontrollable cause to your size 16, just forget it, the designers seemed to say. You don’t deserve our clothes.

This punishing attitude no longer has sway. If indeed that’s what was going on. At the Neiman.Marcus.com sale, along with many others, Michael Kors, Jean-Paul Gaultier, and Escada are all making XL. AND the Gaultier goes up to XXL.

This is not an advertisement. The clothes easily within an academic’s budget tend to go when the sale starts, though you might still find some now. Similarly for the non-pretentious clothes which are just very well made.

BUT at least larger women, i.e., more normal sized women, are now recognized by the fashion industry. One possible cause for shame is at least mitigated.



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