Feminism lost?

Susan Chira in ‘Feminism Lost. Now what?’ in the New York Times attempts the large task of understanding the national election in terms of its rejection of women’s issues AND offering something of a path forward. I was not very fond of it principally because it provides a forum with little criticism of what people are reported to say. For example, it seems to assume that Clinton was in the campaign principally to join the boys’ club of very powerful people. This view, coming from a prof at UC Hastings College of Law, does not seem very plausible to me, perhaps especially considering the very high cost for women of Republican leadership in my home state, Texas. Conservatives lament feminism left-leaning policies without being asked how they plan to mitigate the destructiveness for women of conservative policies.

All that said, it would be foolish to deny that feminism has to work harder to include women of different ethnicities, gender orientations, educational levels, abilities and class positions.  (I apologize for any important categories left out, such as age.). There is a huge and important agenda for us.

Chira (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/30/opinion/sunday/feminism-lost-now-what.html?ref=opinion):

To many inside and outside the feminist movement, the Clinton campaign message missed the mark.

“White working-class women saw Hillary Clinton as another privileged white woman wanting to break the glass ceiling,” said Joan C. Williams, professor at University of California Hastings College of the Law. “That metaphor makes sense if your central goal is to gain access to jobs that privileged men have. Hillary’s feminism was not about them.”

Feminism, which at its heart should mean opportunities for women in every sphere, has also come to be seen as a proxy for liberalism, alienating conservatives.

S. E. Cupp, a columnist for The Daily News in New York and a conservative who did not vote for Mr. Trump, said: “There’s a condescension that comes across from some in the women’s movement. There’s this idea that if you’re not liberal, you’re a traitor to your gender. Is our message alienating entire groups of people, including women?”


“Ashes to ashes, dust to white liberal feminism,” wrote LeRhonda Manigault-Bryant, associate professor of Africana studies at Williams College, in an impassioned open letter noting that white feminists now shared the kind of fears long known to black women.

Rather than playing down race, these women argue it’s essential to recognize its interconnection with feminism. Allowing racism to fester, they say, threatens not only black women but also white women, because it encourages white nationalism, which is also hostile to women’s rights.

But building bridges across racial and ethnic lines requires white feminists to understand that their experience is not universal, Professor Manigault-Bryant said. And it means defining women’s issues as broadly as possible.

O snap!

From CNN:  the fox is just doing a survey…

Washington (CNN)President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team has asked the State Department to provide a list of existing programs and activities intended to promote gender equality, according to sources at the agency, raising fears that these programs may be the target of cuts.

A one-page memo earlier reported by The New York Times and The Washington Post asks the State Department to outline existing programs on gender equality, including funding, positions and programs on women’s empowerment and combating gender-based violence, department officials told CNN.

The questionnaire comes in the wake of broader efforts by the Trump transition team to quiz Obama administration agencies on programs and issues that the President-elect has expressed doubt about, including climate change. And though Trump has said little about gender, his attitudes toward and treatment of women became an incendiary campaign issue, particularly after leaked tapes of him bragging about sexually assaulting women

Initiatives aimed at supporting women and girls are a cornerstone of international development, as they’ve proved to benefit broader societies. They were a signature issue for Trump’s election rival, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
While some senior State Department officials caution that the transition team is asking basic management, budgetary and program questions typical of previous transitions and not suggestive of an ideological agenda, the questions have nevertheless raised concerns that Trump will work to roll back work on Obama administration priorities.

A message left with the Trump transition team was not immediately returned.

Feminism, Philosophy, and Engaging the Public


Feminism, Philosophy, and Engaging the Public:

Theory, Policy, and Practice

October 27-29, 2017

Western University, London, Ontario

The conference will feature a workshop from feminist philosophers involved in policy. We welcome submissions about the variety of ways that feminist philosophers engage the public whether that’s through blogging and social media, taking part in policy decisions, philosophy cafes, or through activism.

Our keynote speaker will be Professor Françoise Baylis, Canada Research Chair in Bioethics and Philosophy, Dalhousie University. Baylis is a philosopher who does innovative work in bioethics at the intersection of policy and practice. Her extensive publication record spans many topics, including research involving children, the role of bioethics consultants, women’s health, human embryo research, and novel genetic technologies. As a frequent guest on CBC and Radio Canada, and the author of many news stories about ethical issues, Baylis regularly engages the public on a wide range of issues. She also contributes to national policy-making via government research contracts, membership on national committees, and public education. This work – all of which is informed by a strong commitment to the common good – focuses largely on issues of social justice.

The Canadian Society for Women in Philosophy invites papers and panel proposals on the conference theme from all areas of philosophy and all philosophical approaches, including and not limited to analytic, continental, and historically oriented philosophy.

Submissions of long abstracts (1000 words) are invited for eventual presentation of papers not exceeding 3000 words. Deadline: 12am EST, February 1, 2017.

  1. Please email the abstract as a double-spaced document in Word, prepared for fully anonymous review.
  2. In your email, please provide your contact information and brief biographical material (for our SSHRC application), including: your institutional affiliation and degrees (starting with the most recent and specifying the discipline); recent positions and publications, especially those relevant to the event.
  3. We encourage all graduate students to submit their papers for consideration for the 2017 Jean Harvey Student Award. To do so, please indicate in the body of your email that you would like for the paper to be considered. In that case, the completed paper, not exceeding 3000 words and prepared for anonymous review, must be submitted by 12am EST, Monday July 11, 2017.

Panel proposal submissions: Please submit two separate documents. 1) A panel proposal, including paper abstracts, for anonymous review. 2) A document with all panelist names and biographical information for the SSHRC application.

This conference will prioritize accessibility. Guidelines for accessible presentations will be distributed with successful participant notifications. Conference rooms and the reception space are wheelchair accessible, and information about wheelchair accessible transportation and accommodations will be available by the time of participant notifications. Participants will be asked to use microphones for all talks and for discussion periods. Food will be vegan/vegetarian, and there will be space on the registration form to note food allergies and sensitivities. Participants are asked not to bring or wear strong scents. A quiet room will be available.

Further information, such as information about childcare, breastfeeding and change room areas, and transportation to and from London will be available soon at http://www.cswip.ca and also upon request.

All conference participants will be asked to identify any presentation technologies and/or other supports required to participate, and anything else that can help mitigate potential barriers to participation. All information will be kept confidential.

Please send all submissions to the following address: cswipsubmissions2017@gmail.com

Questions? Please email Samantha Brennan, sbrennan@uwo.ca

Men discuss Sellars

Oh look!  It’s a book on Sellars.  By men.


Wilfrid Sellars, Idealism, and Realism is the first study of its kind to address a range of realist and idealist views inspired by psychological nominalism. Bringing together premier analytic realists and distinguished defenders of German idealism, it reveals why psychological nominalism is one of the most important theories of the mind to come out the 20th century.

The theory, first put forward by Wilfrid Sellars, argues that language is the only means by which humans can learn the types of socially shared practices that permit rationality. Although wedded to important aspects of German idealism, Sellars’ theory is couched in bold realist terms of the analytic tradition. Those who are sympathetic to German idealism find this realist’s appropriation of German idealism problematic. Wilfrid Sellars, Idealism and Realism thus creates a rare venue for realists and idealists to debate the epistemic outcome of the mental processes they both claim are essential to experience. Their resulting discussion bridges the gap between analytic and continental philosophy.

In providing original and accessible chapters on psychological nominalism, this volume raises themes that intersect with numerous disciplines: the philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, epistemology, and metaphysics. It also provides clarity on arguably the best available account of why humans can reason, be self-aware, know, and act as agents.

Table of contents

Abbreviations of Sellars’ Texts
Introduction: Psychological Nominalism and German Idealism, Patrick J. Reider, University of Pittsburgh, USA
Part I: Psychological Nominalism and Realism
1. “Psychological Nominalism” and the Given, from Abstract Entities to Animal Minds, James R. O’Shea, University College Dublin, Ireland 
2. Hegel and Sellars’ “Myth of Jones”: Can Sellars have more in common with Hegel than Rorty and Brandom suggest?, Paul Redding, University of Sydney, Australia
3. The Metaphysics of Sensation: Psychological Nominalism and the Reality of Consciousness, Ray Brassier, American University of Beirut, Lebanon 
4. Language, Norms, and Linguistic Norms, Willem deVries, University of New Hampshire, USA
Part II: Psychological Nominalism and Idealism
5. On the Pittsburgh School, Kant, Hegel, and Realism, Tom Rockmore, Peking University, China
6. Reading Wilfrid Sellars’ “Philosophy and the Scientific Image of Man,” with Robert Brandom
at One’s Side, Joseph Margolis Temple University, USA
7. A Kantian Critique of Sellars’ Transcendental Realism, Johannes Haag, Universität Potsdam, Germany
8. Psychological Nominalism and Conceptual Relativism: an Idealist’s Take, Patrick J. Reider, University of Pittsburgh, USA

New study suggests women’s papers receive greater critical scrutiny

But that headline doesn’t even scratch the surface of how interesting this study is.  Erin Hengel examined papers by economists in top journals.  She found:

  • Women’s papers took longer from submission to publication
  • Women’s abstracts were more readable than men’s (employing standard measures of readability)
  • Women’s papers improved in readability than men’s, during the transition from draft to final published version.
  • Women’s abstracts’ readability continued to improve steadily throughout their careers, while men’s did not– leading to a very large gap in readability for senior women.


Hengel suggests that this may offer us a partial explanation for the often-noted productivity gap between men and women.  If women are revising their papers more, and spending longer bringing them up to a higher standard, they are likely to publish more slowly.  After considering several explanations, she concludes that the most likely one is that referees are tougher on women’s work than on men’s.

Thanks, L, for letting me know about this study!


CFP: Women in Philosophy, Uppsala

Women in Philosophy: Philosophy in Action

Uppsala University (Sweden); 22nd – 23rd May 2017.

Keynote Speakers: 

–       A. W. Eaton (University of Illinois at Chicago)

–       Jennifer Lackey (Northwestern University)

–       Helen Frowe (Stockholm University, Stockholm Centre for the Ethics of War and Peace)

–       Kristin Sampson (University of Bergen)


The conference will bring together female philosophers from all areas, serve to further the interaction of our research community, provide a platform for female philosophers, and most importantly, provide inspiration for female students of philosophy whilst surrounded by such role models.

We encourage presentations from all areas of philosophy, for example: Ethics, Aesthetics, Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of History, History of Philosophy, Philosophy of Language, Logic, Meta-ethics; Metaphysics, Philosophy of Law, Phenomenology, Epistemology, etc. The conference will be categorised in four broad sections, representing these; theoretical philosophy, practical philosophy, history of philosophy and aesthetics.


The presentations will consist of a 25-minute argument followed by a Q&A session consisting of 20 minutes. Please submit an abstract of no more than 500 words excluding bibliography.

There will also be discussion-based presentations, designed for advanced undergraduates and masters level students. These will consist of a 5-minute talk in which selected participants will a put forward a research question that they are working on, after which there will be a 10-minute Q&A session in which the audience will discuss the concept, advise on reading, and propose new developments. For these presentations, the abstract should be no longer than 150 words excluding bibliography.

Please send your abstracts in an email containing your name and affiliation to conferencewip@gmail.com for consideration by midnight on 31st January 2017. 

We aim to notify applicants by mid-February. Note that we will not be covering travel, lunch and accommodation expenses.

The languages of the conference are English and Swedish. We expect most of the presentations to be given in English, however there is the possibility to present in Swedish.

Registration: Conference attendance is free of charge and open to all.


If you have any further questions please contact the email address above or Rebecca Wallbank at rebecca.wallbank@filosofi.uu.se

CFA: Lorraine Code: Thinking Responsibly, Thinking Ecologically

Call for Abstracts
Lorraine Code: Thinking Responsibly, Thinking Ecologically
(Preliminary Title)

Edited by Nancy Arden McHugh and Andrea Doucet
Under Consideration with State University of New York Press

Since the publication of her book Epistemic Responsibility in 1987, feminist philosopher Lorraine Code has been at the forefront of linking epistemology, epistemic injustice and ethics to shape critical frameworks for responsible, situated knowing and practice.  Her work has been path breaking on many themes, issues and problematics, including:

  • epistemic virtues,
  • individual and institutional epistemic responsibilities,
  • the epistemic significance of the gender of the knower,
  • the politics of epistemic and physical locations,
  • critical epistemic frameworks, such as ecological thinking,
  • the epistemic salience of gossip,
  • subjectivities and narratives,
  • the politics of testimony,
  • feminist methodologies and epistemic practices,
  • human and non human entanglements,
  • relational ontologies

On all of these issues, Code’s work has provided a gateway for subsequent work in feminist epistemology and philosophy of science, as well as more generally in feminist theory and methodologies. Moreover, through her critical analysis of mainstream epistemologies, medicine, law, literature, politics, psychology, and ecology, Code also provides avenues for creating institutional and social change.

We invite abstract submissions of 500-750 words that engage with the work of Lorraine Code by utilizing and building upon her theoretical, epistemological, and methodological arguments developed over the course of her writing and research career and/or by applying her arguments to new frameworks, cases, or problems. Please note that although Lorraine Code’s work has been housed in philosophy, her approach is highly interdisciplinary. Thus, abstracts are welcome from an array of disciplines and approaches. 


Abstracts (500-750 words) and one-page CV due:
April 1, 2017

Abstract Acceptance notification:
May 20, 2017

Full papers of 6500-8000 words due:
January 31, 2018

Notification of Paper Acceptance:
May 20, 2018


Nancy McHugh
Professor and Chair of Philosophy
Wittenberg University
Springfield, OH 4551

 Andrea Doucet
Canada Research Chair in Gender, Work & Care
Professor of Sociology/ Women’s & Gender Studies
Brock University
St Catharines, On L2S 3A1

Letter to the Electors

It’s signatories include eight philosophers:

Esteemed Electors:

We, a bipartisan coalition of Americans including Electors, scholars, officials, and concerned citizens write to you in the spirit of fellowship, out of our sense of patriotism, and with great urgency.

There are times in the life of a nation when extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary measures. Now is a such time, and your courage and leadership are required.

Never in our Republic’s history has there been a President-apparent comparable to Donald Trump. His inauguration would present a grave and continual threat to the Constitution, to domestic tranquility, and to international stability:

  • He has threatened the freedom of speech by condoning violence at public events, and suggesting criminal penalties and even revocation of citizenship to punish political expression;
  • He has threatened the freedom of press by vowing to revoke First Amendment protections for journalists;
  • He has threatened the freedom of religion by proposing to bar entry to the country and force the registration of members of certain faiths;
  • He has entangled himself with foreign interests through his personal business dealings, and refused to provide records of his taxes, which could allay suspicions;
  • He has indicated a willingness to condone torture, in contravention of the Constitution and our international treaties, which carry the force of law;
  • He is uncomfortably close to the regime of Russia, which has interfered in the election;
  • He has shown reckless disregard for diplomacy, communicating impulsively, in public forums, regarding matters of national security, and allowing personal emotions to interfere with reasoned judgment, calling into question his fitness as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and the nuclear capabilities of the United States;
  • He has, unlike every previous Commander-in-Chief, never served in any public position, whether elected or appointed, civilian or military, thereby bringing no experience or proven judgment on behalf of The People, or evidence of a character suited to high office.

For these reasons, his assumption of office endangers the Constitution, the freedoms it protects, and the continued prosperity and welfare of the United States.

You, Electors, possess the power to prevent this outcome. You are not bound to cast your vote for the candidate of your party – and, as he won neither a majority nor even a plurality of the popular vote, there can be no question of undermining the will of The People.

The Constitution empowers Electors to exercise judgment and choice. If your role were only ceremonial, our Founders would not have required the states to elect you, or that you cast ballots by your own hand. State laws notwithstanding, you are free to vote your conscience. You have a mandate, like all officials, to protect and defend the Constitution. And you have the right and responsibility to investigate those who stand for this office, and to deliberate before casting your vote.

We place country before party in imploring you, our fellow Americans, to investigate and deliberate. We stand with you as you exercise your conscience and give profound consideration to the consequences of your vote. We affirm your right and your duty to do so free from intimidation, and urge you to cast your ballot for a person with the temperament, integrity and commitment to Constitutional principles necessary in a President.

In doing so, know that you enjoy the support of millions of Americans.

Thank you for your service to our country.

Academic citizenship and the pay gap

Female professors earn less on average than their male counterparts because they focus on underappreciated “academic citizen” roles that do not lead to promotion or pay rises, a new study suggests.

Male professors devote less time to mentoring duties, serving on university committees and other “academic citizen” roles, and instead concentrate on their own research – an activity more likely to win them external recognition and a pay rise, according to a paper by Bruce Macfarlane, professor of higher education at University of Southampton, and Damon Burg, a research fellow at Southampton Education School.

As presented in the THES article, this would appear to be a choice women happen to have made to be good academic citizens.  But I think it’s important to remember that these are not simply choices.  First, women are likely to be asked to serve on more committees simply because they are underrepresented and women are needed on committees.  But also, and at least as importantly, women are more expected to take on the mentoring and good citizen roles.  A woman who devotes herself exclusively to her research is likely to be viewed more negatively than a man who does so.