Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

GCC: Ontological Edition April 25, 2015

Filed under: gendered conference campaign — noetika @ 11:00 pm

Six (male) prominent figures in ontology have been gathered to speak at the International Summer School in Ontology, so participants can “consider […] the most interesting philosophical perspectives of our time.”

(For more information about the GCC, see here.)


Feminist Philosopher Honored April 23, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — phrynefisher @ 9:33 pm

Good news for philosophy: several philosophers have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Of interest to readers of this blog, three women philosophers are among those so honored, and of particular interest is the inclusion of feminist philosopher Professor Sally Haslanger!


Brain scans reveal: babies can feel pain

Filed under: bioethics,medicine,parenting — annejjacobson @ 6:58 pm

One would have thought that it is completely obvious that babies can feel pain. Of course, it can be argued that there’s a gap between behavioural evidence and pain states. Still, isn’t that worry really just a philosophical one, as one hears doctors say?

Unfortunately, common sense appears to have failed in the case of infants and pain.

In the early 1980’s it was revealed that babies react chemically as adults do to what adults count as painful circumstances. It also turned that neonates needing surgical interventions were given NO pain relief. “Well that is completely horrible but,” one might have thought, “At least that will end now.”

No such luck. Recent brain scanning experiments show that even very young babies do indeed react much as adults do to what adults count as painful circumstances, but pain relief is not the norm.

The brains of babies ‘light up’ in a very similar way to adults when exposed to the same painful stimulus, a pioneering brain scanning study has discovered. It suggests that babies experience pain much like adults. As recently as the 1980s it was common practice for babies to be given neuromuscular blocks but no pain relief medication during surgery. In 2014 a review of neonatal pain management practice in intensive care highlighted that although such infants experience an average of 11 painful procedures per day 60% of babies do not receive any kind of pain medication.

(Journal Reference:
Sezgi Goksan, Caroline Hartley, Faith Emery, Naomi Cockrill, Ravi Poorun, Fiona Moultrie, Richard Rogers, Jon Campbell, Michael Sanders, Eleri Adams, Stuart Clare, Mark Jenkinson, Irene Tracey, Rebeccah Slater. fMRI reveals neural activity overlap between adult and infant pain. eLife, 2015; 4 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.06356)

The study comes out of the University of Oxford. I think it applies only to the UK. There has been an earler, 2011, study in Canada covering a wider age range and the results are similarly discouraging.


Elizabeth Anderson on What’s Wrong with Inequality

Filed under: Uncategorized — jennysaul @ 2:56 pm

At the NYT

I think the critical issues for equality concern the range of opportunities available to people, far more than whether choice or luck lands them in one spot or another in that range. Even if being gay were wholly a matter of choice, that would still not justify treating gay people as a stigmatized outcaste group. So the fact that people come to occupy different positions in a social hierarchy as a result of choices they make doesn’t suffice to justify that hierarchy. Many types of hierarchy are unjust no matter how people land in the unequal positions that hierarchy creates.


Am I Being Paranoid? Being a Woman Of Colour In Academia April 22, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — phrynefisher @ 3:48 pm

[W]hen one is constantly given alternate banal explanations for their ‘overly-sensitive’ perceptions, one loses the epistemic ground they stand on. They cease to give credibility to their own perceptions.

This self-doubt about how to comprehend and articulate one’s experiences becomes much harder to escape, when skepticism is cast by people who self-identify as ‘allies.’ If our own allies, well-acquainted with the concept of microaggressions, and well-meaning in their commitment to end discrimination, cannot see our experiences as the very sorts of experiences that they should validate, then it becomes much harder to trust our perception of reality.

From this blog post.


More discussion of Willams and Ceci

Filed under: bias,science — jennysaul @ 11:16 am

Here and here.


Acceptable or not? Textbook cover April 19, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — annejjacobson @ 10:41 pm

Added Introduction The STEM fields have a well-know gender and race problem. It’s received a lot of attention in academic circles, and there’s been a fair amount of discussion about it on this blog. If you are not aware of this background, then you may not understand this post. I should have made this clear in the original post. As it is, I’m starting to delete comments who think I’m making wierd connections between sex and a cover showing unclothed women on a science textbook.

The picture is indeed from Matisse’s La Danse. Not quite his quality of colors though.
Is it erotic art? Should STEM textbooks have these sorts of covers? Please use the comments if you have more to say.


Added: There are a number of groups who are not well-represented in STEM disciplines. There are also cultural cliches for members of the groups. Sometimes these cliches are captured in quite serious, stunning art. Diego Rivera, for example, has wonderful portrayals of Hispanic gatherings. One way to view the question I’ve tried to raise here is this: Is it a good idea to put such cliches on the covers of textbooks in the fields where the people’s presence is marginal?


A Happy woman in classical art

Filed under: Uncategorized — annejjacobson @ 5:33 pm

By Mallory Ortberg at The Toast image image








Do note: there is considerable exaggeration in the comments above. It should be read as wryly humorous, or at least not as scornful of men as an unfriendly reading might have it.


Why Prison Rape Goes On April 18, 2015

Filed under: politics,rape,sexual assault — philodaria @ 6:28 pm

Chandra Bozelko, a former inmate, has an op-ed in the New York Times titled, ‘Why We Let Prison Rape Go On,’ in which she explores why, even 12 year since the Prison Rape Elimination Act was passed, sexual assault in American prisons remains so widespread.

Ultimately, prisons protect rape culture to protect themselves. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, about half of prison sexual assault complaints in 2011 were filed against staff. (These reports weren’t all claims of forcible rape; it is considered statutory sexual assault for a guard to have sexual contact with an inmate.)

I was an inmate for six years in Connecticut after being convicted of identity fraud, among other charges. From what I saw, the same small group of guards preyed on inmates again and again, yet never faced discipline. They were protected by prison guard unions, one of the strongest forces in American labor.

Sexualized violence is often used as a tool to subdue inmates whom guards see as upstarts. In May 2008, while in a restricted housing unit, or “the SHU” as it is commonly known, I was sexually assaulted by a guard. The first person I reported the incident to, another guard, ignored it. I finally reached a nurse who reported it to a senior officer.

When the state police arrived, I decided not to talk to them because the harassment I’d received in the intervening hours made me fearful. For the same reason, I refused medical treatment when I was taken to a local emergency room.

Subsequent interviews with officials at the prison amounted to hazing and harassment. They accused me of having been a drug user, which was untrue, and of lying about going to college, though it was true I had. The “investigation,” which I found more traumatic than the assault, dragged on for more than two months until they determined that my allegation couldn’t be substantiated. The law’s guidelines were followed, but in letter not in spirit.

I was also a witness in a case in which an inmate claimed to have been sexually assaulted by a guard and then told me she’d made it up. I reported her — and this time, I was perfectly credible to an investigator, who praised me for having a conscience and a clear head.

The Justice Department estimates that the total bill to society for prison rape and sexual abuse is as high as $51.9 billion per year, including the costs of victims’ compensation and increased recidivism. If states refuse to implement the law when the fiscal benefit is so obvious, something larger is at stake.


“Pope Stops Investigating the Good Sisters”

Filed under: Uncategorized — annejjacobson @ 4:58 pm

An NYTimes editorial.

The Vatican’s misguided investigation of American Catholic nuns seemed thoroughly steeped in chauvinism from its inception three years ago by the church’s male-dominated bureaucracy. Rome’s move against widely respected churchwomen was puzzling and provocative in an era of scandal by male priests committing child rape and being repeatedly shielded by their male superiors…

Proactive orders like the Sisters of St. Joseph, whose members felt they were under close hierarchical watch, are unimpeded in their efforts to revolutionize the treatment of imprisoned women.

What was actually laid bare by the Vatican’s inquiry was the considerable strength of the American sisterhood. Nuns remain unstinting at day-to-day charity in the most suffering corners of society. They continue building educational and intellectual resources personified by respected female theologians. Pope Francis has shrewdly let the nuns’ case fade from his agenda. He has also spoken of creating “broader opportunities” for churchwomen, and the world will be watching for what might come next.

The editorial does strike me as a bit disingenuous, given the nuns were prepared to propose that women should be priests too. But if the Times is implying that the problem of the nuns’ claims about the gender of the priesthood should be placed far below the problem of clergy sexual abuse, I would certainly agree.



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