“Let them eat cake”

Brian Leiter has a link to a riveting film clip of the attack on Camilla and Charles’ Rolls; someone is shouting “off with their heads.”  There’s a quite good discussion in the accompanying article about the price people in various countries are now paying for the comfort of the wealthy.  And comments about what is being conveyed by the sight of a royal couple in a Rolls Royce driving through a crowd of protestors.

Looking around at various clips, I found a BBC reimagining of the royal family.  It’s a stark reminder of some of the class/economic/cultural differences that used to exist in the UK, and perhaps still do.

  I certainly knew people who went from a background like the one portrayed – particularly well captured by the father –  to Oxford; in fact, I have sat in front of the telly in  rooms quite like that, though the mums weren’t wearing a crown.  You can imagine what they thought of someone bringing home an American working on philosophy in Oxford; the reactions were not favorable, but since I was convinced that everyone over 30 was out of their heads, it didn’t matter to me then. 

 At the same time, though I was caught in these very unfamiliar cultural clashes, I could hardly like the classist attitudes of the people whom I was more like.  Very difficult. 

These cultural/class/economic differences can constitute great divides, and while in the US the idea that higher education involves a debt is not a surprise, in a country where that isn’t a familiar idea, the coalition gov’t actions at least threaten the idea of providing equal opportunities to children of the less advantaged.  As so many are arguing.

Query from a reader

I’m teaching intro to philosophy next semester, and I’ll be doing it via some focus on the problem of skepticism, the mind-body problem, and the problem of free will, primarily with an eye towards work done on these issues in the past 100 years.

I’m looking for accessible but philosophically rich pieces by women philosophers on these things, especially on skepticism and the mind-body problem parts of the course. Ideally they would be fairly well-known or even “contemporary classic” pieces on, for example, functionalism, identity theory, external world skepticism, and so on. The standard intro to philosophy text I would otherwise like to use has only white males in these sections of the text.

I’m wondering if readers of Feminist Philosophers have any recommendations for me about what might be especially promising pieces for use in an undergraduate classroom.

Thanks in advance.