A Terrific Resource For Including Women Philosophers in Your Syllabi

As part of their “Seeing Herself as a Philosopher” project, Cynthia Townley, Mitch Parsell and Albert Atkin have created a terrific database of works by women philosophers for use in undergraduate teaching.

Womens Works‘ creators report that they were inspired to create the site

by the realisation that women philosophers are much less visible in the undergraduate curriculum than they need to be, and in many cases, appropriate and interesting work by women is available. The site aims to make it easy to identify potential work by women to use for teaching.

Check it out!

(Thanks, S.)

CFA: Philosophy and Text

Call for Abstracts (deadline May 1, 2013)

“The Last Chapter”

Lehigh University Department of Philosophy
Inaugural Annual Conference
Thursday, October 3 – Friday October 4, 2013

Keynote speakers:
Paul Guyer, Jonathan Nelson Professor of Humanities and Philosophy, Brown University
Nancy Sherman, University Professor, Georgetown University

 The Lehigh University Philosophy Department invites submissions for our first annual philosophy conference.  Submissions should address one of two dimensions of the conference theme: either aspects of the often under-read or overlooked final chapters, sections, or moments of philosophical texts, or philosophy’s relation to the idea of its own “final chapter” or of that of some other domain.

Topics for submissions focusing on the theme’s first dimension—texts– include, but are not limited to:  How do the text’s concluding thoughts stand in relation to the remainder of the work? How do they inform or deform the coherence of the philosophical project at hand?  How does one properly end a philosophical work? Is it important to attend to the last chapter? Papers may treat specific texts or specific oeuvres: e.g., the Critique of Pure Reason or Kant’s oeuvre, Tractatus 7 or Wittgenstein’s oeuvre, Leviathan or Hobbes’s oeuvre.  Submissions are welcome on any period of philosophy or employing any method of following philosophical inspiration. 

 Papers focusing on the second theme dimension might address such questions as these: Does or should philosophy see itself as aiming for a concluding chapter or as eventually reaching an end?  Is our enterprise necessarily interminable? If not a conclusion, what other ends, if any, does or should philosophy seek? How does or might philosophy distinctively address the end(s) or endings in other disciplines or domains of life?

Submission deadline:
May 1, 2013

notification by June 15, 2013

Electronic submission of detailed abstracts (750-1000 words) should be in MSWord or pdf format.  Reading time for presented papers is 30 minutes.

Send abstracts as attachments to: amy206 [at] lehigh [dot] eduwith “conference submission” as the subject. Please include in body of e-mail your name, paper title, institutional affiliation, and contact information.

Etsy’s Recipe For Recruiting and Retaining Women Engineers

As if these awesome dinosaur leggings weren’t reason enough to love Etsy, First Bond Capital reports on its blog that Etsy nearly quintupled its number of women engineers in just a year through a series of smart decisions and innovative methods. [See the coverage of this in The Atlantic, too.] In particular, Etsy aimed for more junior hires but helped to train those hires by providing them with grants to enroll in Hacker School. Etsy CTO, Kellan Elliott-McCrea, reckons their approach wasn’t just equity supporting — it also helped the company to recruit better and more economically. The post should be required reading at all universities and tech companies. Here’s a taste:

Etsy… had a substantial “boys versus girls” dynamic, where engineers (mostly male) sat on one side and the women on the other… It was a broken system that required changes on both sides of the house…. Simply saying that you value diversity internally isn’t enough – there’s just no reason for an outside observer to believe you if they come and see a scarcity of women in the organization.

Thanks, Mr. Jender!


This is a wonderful example for those interested in interactions between knowledge-how and knowledge-that, those interested in what one can do with traditionally feminine skills, and those interested in exactly how the Vestal Virgins’ hairstyles worked. Also tells you to contact if you’d like a really unusual, historically interesting haircut (including “a mullet from hell”). (Thanks, B!)

Judith Butler, remarks at Brooklyn College

Whether you agree or disagree with her participation in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, you may wish to read the full text of Judith Butler’s address at Brooklyn College.  I wish to quote this on my philosophy syllabi, especially when I teach contentious social issues:

[Your being here] confirms your right to form and communicate an autonomous judgment, to demonstrate why you think something is true or not, and you should be free to do this without coercion and fear. These are your rights of free expression, but they are, perhaps even more importantly, your rights to education, which involves the freedom to hear, to read and to consider any number of viewpoints as part of an ongoing public deliberation on this issue. Your presence here, even your support for the event, does not assume agreement among us. There is no unanimity of opinion here; indeed, achieving unanimity is not the goal.

The varieties of disability

We’ve just put up an extremely thoughtful, thought-provoking post over at Disabled Philosophers. It begins like this:

My disability is, for many, also a marker of identity. In the parlance of pop culture, I was “born in the wrong body.” In the words of the DSM, I have “evidence of a strong and persistent cross-gender identification.”. . . I realize that there are others in my situation who would shirk this description, and I am do not mean to imply that any transsexual or transgender individual is thereby disabled.

However, this is a physical condition for which I must constantly medicate myself and for which I’ve had significant surgeries. I live with the fear that my colleagues will discover my past history, which is a source of some not-insignificant anxiety.

While I’m sure that there are many trans folk who would object to the description of a trans body as a disability, and likewise that there are many disabled folk who would object along similar lines, this post encourages us to think carefully about what we classify as “disability” and which experiences are experiences of disability. I’m leaving comments open on this post for the time being, but I’d ask that everyone be courteous and kind. The policy at the Disabled Philosophers blog includes allowing people to report and interpret their own experiences. People may disagree with how to interpret that experience, but it’s imperative that we all be respectful in that disagreement.