The problem with aggressive philosophy?

A post here a short while ago looked at the relatively low number of women in philosophy and considered a recent discussion of some of the causes. One focused on is the aggressive style too frequently employed in philosophy. A lot of women do not like it. Unfortunately, that can make it seem as though we are just too gentle and timid for the men’s playing field, which does not seem true.

In looking at  absracts and articles by Maria Lugones yesterday, I was reminded of another and much more important downside. I wonder if it isn’t this that makes us more disinclined to find the sport of philosophy rewarding when it is indeed played like a competitive sport. 

A significant bit is underlined below.  One could argue that a huge part of the problem with aggressive philosophy is not that it scares women, but that it subverts its supposed purpose; namely,  communal and constructive philosophy. Flashes of philosophical insight – suddenly getting what else is at stake, for example – may indeed be just that, flashes. But it takes time to figure out the best articulation of an insight, and its value. Complexity and uncertainly need to be admitted, unless one is just going to quickly crank through the surrounding logical implications of a first articulation. Other things being equal, the best discussions would open up alternatives, not close them down. 

To the extent that Lugones is describing the kind of setting that allows for exploration of insight and meaning, it is not the one that reigns in most philosophical settings. Or so one could argue.


Title   Multiculturalismo radical y feminismos de mujeres de color  
Author   Lugones, María  
Source   Revista Internacional de Filosofia Politica, vol. 25, pp. 61-75, July 2005  
ISSN   1132-9432  
Descriptors   Feminism; Multiculturalism; Political Philosophy; Resistance; Women Of Color  
Abstract   At the very logical core of the movement towards radical multiculturalism and women of color feminisms is a shift from a logic of oppression to a logic of resistance. Radical, structural or polycentric multiculturalism is a radical response to the Eurocentrism that has accompanied the history of Western colonialism. The passionate desire to communicate across nondominant differences that establishes a cross-cultural relationship, in an egalitarian and unprecedented way, between histories that we know are interrelated is fostered by cognitive attitudes that valorize open-ended understanding, complexity, and uncertainty. This multiculturalist position prepares us to bridge the barriers among marginalized resistant knowledges.

Congratulations to elp!

Regular readers will be pleased to know that elp has a new child! Since she often writes about related matters, you might to know that she did have a home birth as planned, underwater, and everything went swimmingly (sorry). She reports that it was everything one could possibly want from a birth except for the excruciating pain. All are happy and healthy.

More on Swedish Feminist Pornographers

Bitch magazine’s blog has a great piece up about feminist porn and the feminist porn project funded by the Swedish Film Institute. It’s called In Your Facial: Queer Feminist Pornography and here’s a quote from it: “Just before the final product—entitled Dirty Diaries—was released, conservatives in the European country expressed outrage at their tax dollars being used to fund the film. Ironically, the protesters weren’t upset that the money had paid for the production of pornography, but rather that it was used to further a feminist agenda.” The piece goes on to profile two queer, feminist porn filmmakers, Courtney Trouble and Bren Ryder, and might of interest to those who commented earlier on the topic of whether feminist porn was possible.

Would you swap your body?

Matt Pianalto wrote to us about a small-scale experiment he tried out in one of his classes.

Suppose that it was possible for you to trade out your present body for a different one. And suppose that you get to pick from some selection of bodies. Your mind would be transferred to the new body, with no loss of memory, thought, mental ability, etc. (Your mind and its contents would be preserved wholly intact.) The only thing that would change is the body you inhabit. The trade will be permanent, in that your present body will be discarded once the mind-transfer process is complete. Would you want to trade in your present body for a different one?

He also had students indicate whether they were male or female, and whether they’d choose a male or female body. My guess, given high levels of dissatisfaction would have been that more women than men would choose to swap– and that a huge number of them would do so. But he found the opposite. He also had no students (in his class of 31) who chose a body with a sex different from that of their current body. Thoughts? (Thanks, Matt!)