TPM: Women in Philosophy

A really nice article on women in philosophy, including interviews with Helen Beebee, Sally Haslanger, Jules Holroyd, Rae Langton and Jenny Saul.

Sally Haslanger is angry. “I entered philosophy about 30 years ago,” she told me at the American Philosophical Association’s Eastern Division meeting in Boston. “I had a budding feminist consciousness, and I thought then that there weren’t enough women on the reading lists in my classes or among my teachers. But I thought things would certainly change, given the importance of the feminist movement. I’ve been though the profession now and worked hard on the Committee on the Status of Women. I’ve worked hard in other forums like SWIP – the Society for Women in Philosophy – that were trying to advance women’s interests. After 30 years I was seeing that there wasn’t really that much change, and that made me mad.”

Haslanger is not alone. Women’s under-representation in philosophy has been well known for decades, but there does not seem to have been sufficient collective will to really grapple with the problem. Now, however, there are signs that things are changing. “There’s been a lot of momentum gathering in the UK dealing to a great extent with the under-representation of women in philosophy,” says Jules Holroyd, one of the organisers of a well-attended conference in Cardiff last November, on the issue of all under-represented groups, not just women.

The article covers a lot of ground: under-representation, implicit bias, stereotype threat, devaluing of feminist work, combative style (carefully distinguished from argumentative style), harassment and claims about differences in intuitions. And it does it well. The only disappointment is that it doesn’t present criticisms of the Stich and Buckwalter claims about intuitions– and Louise Antony made some excellent criticisms at the very conference the article is based on.

Still, a really good article!

4 thoughts on “TPM: Women in Philosophy

  1. Excellent article!!

    So… what sorts of things are (or have been) motivating factors for the APA?

    (This question coming from a newbie who doesn’t fully understand the politics of the APA.)

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