Reader Query: Feminists on duties to oneself?

A reader writes:

I’ve been doing some research on duties to oneself and have become interested in what feminists writers or feminist writings have had to say on that topic. But I’ve found very little directly on duties to oneself and only a small amount that is more indirectly related (e.g., Robin Dillon’s work on self-respect). Doubtless there are sources here that I have simply failed to unearth. Is there feminist work out there on duties to oneself?

2 thoughts on “Reader Query: Feminists on duties to oneself?

  1. As many readers may well know, Lara Denis is excellent on Kant, especially regarding duties to oneself. I have not read it since publication, though her contribution to the 2002 Canadian Journal of Philosophy supplementary volume #28 on Feminist Moral Philosophy is one potentially good place to look.

    “…In this paper, I call attention to the aspects of Kant’s ethical theory that make it attractive from a feminist standpoint. Kant’s duties to oneself are [a] rich resource for feminism. These duties require…”

  2. Yes, it’s a fruitful source of discussion, isn’t it? I take Marcus Singer a bit sharply to task in my last chapter on self-forgiveness, since I find his arguments against duties to oneself provoking, and I was heavily influenced by Claudia Card and Susan Brison in doing so. There are feminist reasons to say we have duties to ourselves, not the least of which is that we are better off appreciating the ways we are fragmented, multiple, and present to ourselves. To say, as Singer does, that we can release ourselves at will in a trivial and nonsensical way is the sort of thing I suggest it takes quite a bit of ease and privilege to assume. Accounts of oppression and trauma would suggest the opposite.

    Re: David’s recommendation, Lara Denis, who is feminist among other things, wrote _Moral Self-Regard: Duties to Oneself in Kant’s Moral Theory_, although I realize it’s not her most feminist work.

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