Guggenheim Fellows: Two Feminist Philosophers

If you look at the 2014 list of Guggenheim Fellowship recipients, you’ll see only two names under Philosophy: Eva Kittay and Laurie Paul.  Congratulations to our colleagues for this well-deserved honor!  It is an especial pleasure to see two feminists constitute the entire Philosophy list.

Congratulations are due to other philosophers and feminists, as well. Recipients in Classics include a notable philosopher, John Palmer, and recipients in Religion include a notable feminist, Joyce Flueckiger, author of When the World Becomes Female: Possibilities of a South Indian Goddess.  All recipients are to be commended.

8 thoughts on “Guggenheim Fellows: Two Feminist Philosophers

  1. I thought Laurie Paul was a metaphysician. Not that feminist philosophers aren’t making extremely useful contributions to philosophy, make no mistake, they are. I’m just not sure if “feminist” accurately describes Paul’s research. But what do I know? Someone should probably ask her.

  2. Thanks Katy. I didn’t know that. Either way, good for her- and for philosophy. It makes me feel hopeful to see that sort of thing happen.

  3. That decision theory pregnancy piece is awesome. I’m totally assigning that to my students to demonstrate how philosophy is relevant to their lives. Thanks again.

  4. For those interested, an excerpt from Professor Kittay’s project description, which focuses on her life and work focused on cognitive disability (all ellipses mine): “… the contradictions between philosophically normative conceptions of the human and those I have formed in my experiences with my disabled daughter have cried out for a resolution. Either my child was not fully human—that is, not fully worthy of the status of personhood—or the philosophical conceptions were at best incomplete, and at worst, wrong. As a parent, I have taken the truth to reside in my experience with my daughter. … In my lived experience, the self-evident truths are that her life has dignity, and that she is worthy of care and the entire panoply of human rights; but as a philosopher, I have felt the obligation to justify these views. What I first experienced as contradictions I have now come to see as lessons: lessons that I have learned in the forty-three years that my daughter has tutored me and that I have wanted to impart to professional philosophers and to the general public alike. To minds open to the adventure, these lessons can be used to challenge philosophical dogma and to enrich not only philosophical practice, but also our lives. I have devoted the latter part of my career to this task. The book I am writing, tentatively entitled Disabled Minds and Things that Matter: Lessons for a Humbler Philosophy, is the culmination of this work. The book asks us to consider how certain traditional and contemporary questions in philosophy are reframed when we include people with serious cognitive disabilities within the scope of the inquiry. … I believe that disability is at the frontier of philosophy itself. For although a consideration of cognitive disability appears so alien to the lofty abstractions and intellectual flights of the philosophical mind, the endeavor proposed here pushes philosophy beyond its previous borders and so follows in the best tradition of philosophical thought. What philosophers have too often taken as self-evident is that a set of defining intrinsic traits can define what it is to be human. The argument that runs through this book urges instead that actual relationships of care and love undermine such a priori certitudes and enlarge our vision of who we are. The lived experience with people with cognitive disabilities forces us to engage in a Socratic questioning of entrenched philosophical positions …”.

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