Oral History of Feminist Philosophy

Joan Callahan and Nancy Tuana have done something fantastic for feminist philosophy: interviewed many of its founders and made DVDs of the interviews.

The first five of these two-hour versions of interviews with pioneering scholars in feminist philosophy are now available on DVD through Penn State, here
http://www.psu.edu/dept/rockethics/education/femphil/ .

Interviews now available are of

Sandra Bartky,
Susan Bordo,
Sandra Harding,
Nel Noddings, and
Sara Ruddick.

And there are more to come. Urge your library to purchase this series– all funds raised go to sustain the project.

X-Phil in the NY Times again

but this time in the review of Rebecca Goldstein’s latest novel, Thirty-six Arguments for the Existence of God.  Janet Maslin, the reviewer closes with this observation:

When Cass [an academic and central character] witnesses a PowerPoint presentation featuring “brain scans of sophomores, neuroimaged in the throes of moral deliberation over whether they should, in theory, toss a hapless fat man onto the tracks in order to use his bulk to save five other men from an oncoming trolley,” this book occupies its ideal vantage point: close to the absurdity of current academic thinking yet just far enough away to laugh.

Ouch!  But ha ha, also.

I don’t know if any of our friends at Experimental Philosophy will notice.  Maslin’s comments remind me that people outside the academia often make the mistake of thinking of some piece of research as though it were an end in itself, as opposed to something more like one step in a much larger project.

At the same time, the idea that the trolley problem is supposed to be a paradigm case of a moral problem seems something feminists might well feel concern over.

What do you think?

Blog for Choice Day News: Shooting man in head is not murder?

Blog for Choice Day started with my usual wake-up method of listening to NPR’s Morning Edition, which included the news that today begins the trial of a man who drove miles in order to shoot a man in the head, in front of many witnesses; once apprehended, he confessed to the crime.   This may sound like a straightforward case of murder, except that the murder victim was a doctor who performed abortions, and the shooter was pro-life:

Roeder says he should be able to tell jurors why he committed the act — to “protect unborn babies,” he says. But prosecutors say any evidence about abortion is irrelevant. They say it’s an open-and-shut murder case.

Roeder allegedly drove from suburban Kansas City to George Tiller’s church in Wichita, where he pulled out a gun and shot Tiller in the head. Many witnesses saw the shooting, and Roeder has admitted he did it. But the case may not be so simple.

Judge Warren Wilbert ruled that Roeder cannot use a so-called justifiable homicide or necessity defense. But the judge did not rule out evidence that could lead to a lesser voluntary manslaughter charge.

According to Kansas law, that’s the “unreasonable but honest belief” that deadly force was justified.

The Blog for Choice website asks participants to consider the question, “What does ‘Trust Women’ mean to you?”   The question itself makes me reflect on the extent to which we live in an untrustworthy world.  Women are not trusted.  Those who aid them risk being shot in the head.  Whom can we trust? 

I suppose that it means, in part, we must act to protect each other, to deserve the trust of women.

Have an election you’d like to sell? Updated

If you are in the States, then you are in luck.  Mind you, it has to be an interesting election, one where one candidate supports the voters’ interests and another will support opposing corporate interests. 

As Obama says:

With its ruling today, the Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics. It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans.

See the link above on details about this:

Sweeping aside a century-old understanding and overruling two important precedents, a bitterly divided Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the government may not ban political spending by corporations in candidate elections.

Thanks to Lani in comments for this link to a petition for a constitutional amendment to limit the right to free speech to people.

Motherhood in Germany

Sometimes you learn things that make you realise how ignorant you were. I really didn’t know much about gender roles in Germany until J-Bro sent me an article a few days ago. I kind of assumed Germany would be really good on gender equality, support for working mothers, etc. Not like Sweden or Finland, but certainly at least as good as the UK and probably better. How wrong I was:

Manuela Maier was branded a bad mother. A Rabenmutter, or raven mother, after the black bird that pushes chicks out of the nest. She was ostracized by other mothers, berated by neighbors and family, and screamed at in a local store.
Her crime? Signing up her 9-year-old son when the local primary school first offered lunch and afternoon classes last autumn — and returning to work.

Not quite believing what I was reading (most schools in Germany end before lunch; West German wives needed their husbands’ permission to work until 1977; only 3% of 3 year olds have nursery places in the former West Germany), I checked with a German woman I know. She told me it was all true, and that well-educated urban people in their 20s tell her with some regularity that she should conceal her intellect so as not to put the menfolk off.

I’m learning too many depressing new things this week. (Thanks, J-Bro and T!)

Haiti and UPS: updated

I heard this on Pacifica Radio: Any package that would cost under $50 to send to Haiti can go for free with UPS.

It’s time for some early spring cleaning…

It turns out this is a  hoax, and even if it weren’t, it would probably not be a good idea.

Thanks to The  Lady and j.

The early spring cleaning is up to you!

Health Care Petition

CREDO has a petition arguing the following:

The loss of Ted Kennedy’s seat — due to a lack of enthusiasm among Democrats and Independents — sends a clear message to Congress. The Senate health care bill is not the change we were promised in 2008, and it must be improved. The Senate must use ‘reconciliation’ to pass a better bill with a strong public option.

Personally, I think we should make the Republicans filibuster. But this is an effort worth supporting as well. If you think so too, go here and sign.

Adoption Conference

Adoption: Secret Histories, Public Policies

A conference sponsored by the Alliance for the Study of Adoption and Culture
at MIT, Cambridge, MA
April 29-May 2, 2010
For more, go here.

What Not to Do

Bakka sends us links to discussions of this misguided effort in the legal profession, which she describes well:

there is one panel called, “What’s Our Problem?” where female lawyers get to discuss problems that are framed as “ours” rather than problems of the profession. Then there was a second panel, “Their Point of View: Tips From the Other Side,” where distinguished gentlemen will help women figure out how to correct “our” problems.

There has apparently been quite a bit of criticism.

Petition to Save Iraqi Academics

Sally has sent us a link to an important petition, which begins:

A little known aspect of the tragedy engulfing Iraq is the systematic liquidation of the country’s academics. Even according to conservative estimates, over 250 educators have been assassinated, and many hundreds more have disappeared. With thousands fleeing the country in fear for their lives, not only is Iraq undergoing a major brain drain, the secular middle class – which has refused to be co-opted by the US occupation – is being decimated, with far-reaching consequences for the future of Iraq.

Already on July 14, 2004, veteran correspondent Robert Fisk reported from Iraq that: “University staff suspect that there is a campaign to strip Iraq of its academics, to complete the destruction of Iraq’s cultural identity which began when the American army entered Baghdad.”

For more, and to sign, go here.