Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

Confusion and apologies July 27, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — annejjacobson @ 8:58 pm

There have been two posts up with the same three first words:

Power and empathy: this is scary
Power and empathy.

There was some glitch with the first, andd it would not display its second half. So I eventually trashed it. Our dashboard says 35 people clicked on it. My apologies for any confusion this all caused.


Power and empathy

Filed under: Uncategorized — annejjacobson @ 6:10 pm

A professional academic will probably be situated within at least two hierarchies of power: that in their profession and that in their institution. And each hierarchy can have different types of sub-hierarchies. A female philosophy professor might turn to the more powerful members of these hierarchies for help when dealing with problems of, for example, egregious harassment.

And the response she receives might show a stunning lack of understanding. And if you are like me, you may be left wondering how a seemingly wise person can miss out on so much. How does acute understanding come to have such limited scope? Don’t we inhabit the same communities?

One answer from the social sciences is that power limits empathy.

Can people in high positions of power — presidents, bosses, celebrities, even dominant spouses — easily empathize with those beneath them?

Psychological research suggests the answer is no. Studies have repeatedly shown that participants who are in high positions of power (or who are temporarily induced to feel powerful) are less able to adopt the visual, cognitive or emotional perspective of other people, compared to participants who are powerless (or are made to feel so).

I think these findings are very troubling. When I looked recently at a committee formed to deal with some climate issues, I was shocked to see a particular powerful person on it. This person is quite happy to say that he doesn’t think academic women are discriminated against. Even if we grant his belief is within the circle of permissible opinions, at least he should see that his opinion is problematic. And he didn’t.

So when bias and bigotry can undercut the credibility of bottom-up efforts at reform in a profession, why haven’t there been more top down efforts? Particularly from the dominant majority? Could powerful members of a dominant majority just care much less? And if so, does that explain the large stretches of neglect we see in, for example, reactions of indifference to scandals of abuse? Or even support for abusers?

And then there’s the men of the US Supreme Court.

Philosophers interested in standpoint theory may profit from looking at the references in the article quoted. Some research suggests that having power can alter our neuropsychological capacity for social knowledge.


Confused Cats Against Feminism July 26, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Stacey Goguen @ 12:48 am

There is a tumblr Women Against Feminism with people who hold up signs explaining why they don’t need feminism.  It’s mostly them showing that they think feminism = misandry.

In response, there’s now a tumblr Confused Cats Against Feminism.


A defamation suit dismissed July 25, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — philodaria @ 6:55 pm

Peter Ludlow’s defamation suit against three media outlets has been dismissed. 


Feminists and sharks (or bees) July 24, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — axiothea @ 1:44 pm

Here’s some fine comic relief from the Bloggess, and her post:

“Women who are ambivalent about women against women against feminism”.

With Patrick Stewart on violence against women as a bonus (at the end of the post).


Dialectica statistics: 12% of submissions by women July 14, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — KateNorlock @ 7:44 pm

From Philipp Blum (see comments on his related post on Daily Nous):

Dialectica, funded in 1947 by Gaston Bachelard, Paul Bernays and Ferdinand Gonseth, is a general philosophy journal published by Blackwell-Wiley. It is edited in Switzerland, publishes predominantly systematic and theoretical philosophy and aims to become the best journal on the European Continent. Since 2000, it practices double-blind refereeing and blind editing. We have recently updated our submission statistics (since 2000) and would like to share the following information, of possible interest to the feminist community:

- In 2013, we published 28 articles and a total of 611 pages (549 excluding commissioned book reviews),
– Of 298 articles submitted in 2013, 34 were accepted, which gives an acceptance rate of 11.41 %.
– Our turn-around time is reasonably quick (median of 3 months) and our backlog is small (currently accepted papers are published in 4/2014).
– Currently, about 12% of our submissions are authored by women.  This has been constant over the last 14 years and is surprising and worrying. What could explain this fact? What should be done about it?

(The acceptance rate of female submissions in 2013 (16%), however, is higher than the one of male submissions (14%). This has also been constant over the last 14 years.)

According to Sally Haslanger, in 2013 31.4% of philosophy PhDs in the US were earned by women. According to Kathryn Norlock, as many as 21% of employed philosophers in the US are women. The BPA-SWIPUK report for 2008-2011 says that in the UK 29% of philosophy PhDs were completed by women and that they are 24% of permanent staff.

The full statistics are available here:


Discrimination is Un-Christian Too

Filed under: Uncategorized — jennysaul @ 5:56 am

The awesome Kathryn Pogin, writing in The Stone.

Much to the chagrin of women’s rights advocates, Hobby Lobby has won its legal battle — but claims of “victory” for religious freedom must be emended. Make no mistake: This is no victory for the freedom to exercise Christian principles. Though employers like Hobby Lobby are now free to deny women access to contraceptives through their employer-subsidized health plans on the basis of religious objection, they will be violating their own purported Christian principles if they do. While Christians are not compelled by their faith to engage in religious practices that impose upon the freedoms of others, they are compelled — by their belief that all persons, men and women, are created in the image of God — to oppose discrimination.


What to do next? July 13, 2014

Filed under: human rights,Uncategorized — annejjacobson @ 9:56 pm

In Houston, Texas, on a hot July afternoon, I pulled up to a light on Westheimer, a three or four lane street. I was in the left turning lane, next to a small island. A woman on the island came up to my window; she was in an invalid’s walker/semi-wheel-chair and help up a sign saying something about may I be blessed this day.

I usually have some dollar bills in a compartment in the driver’s armrest, but my car had just spent a week being repaired and I may have emptied the compartment first, or maybe someone else did. I couldn’t find anything. Since she had waited while I searched, I wanted to give her something. I reached in my bag while knowing that I had just been to an atm and all I’d find were $20 bills. So I gave her one.

She reacted roughly the way one would react finding one had just won a significant grant. Much shouting, hand-waving, feet-kicking, etc. It seemed actually joyous, and I was very surprised. My first thought was that I had to do more.

Since then I have wondered what more I could do. I think it is unlikely that I could find her again, since people asking for money in the streets outside the center of Houston don’t seem to have turf they claim. In fact, some are driven to changing locations, and almost no one strolls around in the 8000 block of Westheimer in July. And even if I could, I doubt I’d be able to help much for various reasons.

So I thought about what a good thing it is that our Mayor has cut the homeless rate by about 50% in her two years in office. Giving to charities who help our street people seems more imperative somehow.


Map for the Gap: UK call for collaborators

Filed under: Uncategorized — KateNorlock @ 7:09 pm

To interested academic philosophers in the UK:

In order to examine and address issues of participation faced by minority and underrepresented groups in academic philosophy (e.g. gender, race, native-language, sexual orientation, class, and disability minorities), a number of UK departments have recently started to build a UK network of chapters of Map For the Gap.

With 24 active chapters to date, MAP (Minorities And Philosophy) is already a successful and widespread organization in the US and elsewhere. If you would like to have a MAP chapter at your own institution, this Call For Collaborators is for you. MAP chapters are generally run by graduate students (typically 3 or 4 per department), with some help from academic staff members; undergraduate participation is also encouraged.

At this stage we would be happy to hear especially from graduate students (groups or individuals) at UK Philosophy departments as well as from UK Philosophy academic staff who would like to coordinate graduate student interest in their institutions. Please contact Filippo Contesi ( filippo.contesi at gmail dot com ).


Yena Lee (MAP Director) & Filippo Contesi (MAP UK Director)


SWIP archive up and running! July 11, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — KateNorlock @ 1:17 pm

Here is the webpage for instructions as to donation of SWIP records and organizational material to the new archive of the Society of Women in Philosophy.  From Ann Garry:

We want to direct your attention to a new philosophy archive that is now open to receive donations. *The Society for Women in Philosophy (SWIP) Records.* The Society for Women in Philosophy (SWIP) Records Collection of the Feminist Theory Archive at Brown University welcomes material related to the history of this important grass-roots philosophy organization. This archive will make available to scholars in every discipline, to future generations of philosophy students, and to the general public records of the activities and concerns of all the divisions of SWIP. SWIP has functioned for more than four decades as a “laboratory” for philosophical engagements that have transformed and diversified the projects and processes of the discipline of philosophy. This work has also made significant contributions to the development of feminist thinking in other fields and thus to intellectual history and public policy more generally.
The Steering Committee wants to thank Christina Rawls and Samantha Noll for their work that enabled the project to get off the ground. Let me also add that Joan Callahan and Sandra Harding have done much of the heavy lifting on it this year!

Ann Garry for the Steering Committee


Joan Callahan
Ann Garry
Sandra Harding
Alison Jaggar


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