Critical Self-Reflection and Opening Up Philosophy

As we announced April 23, Feminist Philosophers is shutting down. This is one of a series of posts by FP bloggers looking back on the blog and bidding it farewell.

I started blogging here in the summer of 2012, four years into my Ph.D. program. When I began that program in the fall of 2008, I didn’t know much of anything about feminist philosophy, and I didn’t care to know anything about it. I thought gender was a shallow and inconsequential human category, so there was surely nothing interesting for philosophers to say about it. Furthermore, since it seemed like there weren’t many women in philosophy, I had a suspicion that any sub-field dominated by them (applied ethics, feminist philosophy) was probably not that good.

By the time this blog invited me to join, I had had some major shifts in my epistemic and ethical worldviews, and had switched from specializing in philosophy of physics to philosophy of psychology, with plans to write a dissertation on gender & race stereotypes and self-identity. I had discovered, in large part through blogs and connecting with philosophers over social media, that there was, in fact, a lot of interesting things for philosophers to say about gender (and other socially hierarchical categories.) I had also discovered that the demographics of the field were not such an obvious case of how the meritocratic chips had fallen.

Another half a decade later, I view social & feminist epistemology as my intellectual home base. One of my current interests is how phenomena like epistemic injustice and active ignorance may be playing out inside the philosophy profession, especially in terms of boundary policing and teaching practices. While there is so much work left to do, it is also striking to me what has changed since 2008. Many critiques of the profession that would have been laughed at (that I remember being laughed at about) are now taken up seriously in many places. You can even get published (in philosophy journals!) talking about them.

There is still so much work left to do, so much critical self-reflection the discipline needs to undertake. But there are people doing this work, opening up philosophy to new subfields, new methodologies, new conceptions of itself. I would like to highlight some of the work being done to help us let go of these unnecessarily rigid and hierarchical boundaries…though in some cases a more apt analogy may be that people are taking up sledgehammers to those walls and gates.

Read More »

Guest Post by Danielle Clevenger: Throwing Instead of Listening

This is a guest post by Danielle Clevenger, based on a talk she gave at the 2018 Central APA session, “Shaking Up the Standard Lecture,” which was hosted by the APA Committee on Teaching Philosophy. Danielle is currently finishing up her M.A. in philosophy at Eastern Michigan University and will be starting a Ph.D. program at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She has also taught at the University of Detroit Mercy. Her research areas include the philosophy of science, the scholarship of teaching and learning, and socially engaged philosophy. She notes, “I particularly enjoy teaching Introduction to Philosophy, as it allows me the freedom to explore non-traditional ways of conceptualizing and teaching philosophy. I am particularly interested in using movement and other experimental learning activities to enhance the teaching of philosophy both inside and outside of the traditional classroom.” 

It is an unfortunate truth that many classrooms, philosophy or otherwise, tend to be sedentary and lethargic. In order to more fully engage my students, I have started implementing movement based lessons in my classroom.[1] Coming from a dance and theater background, where movement is integral to learning the material, I found myself often observing how movement related to philosophy. As a teacher, I have designed several lessons to get my students up and moving. One of my favorites, that seems to resonate well with students, and significantly enhances their understanding of philosophical concepts, centers on Iris Marion Young’s paper, “Throwing Like a Girl: A Phenomenology of Feminine Body Comportment Motility and Spatiality.” This paper introduces my Introduction to Philosophy students to feminist philosophy and phenomenology. Although this is not a paper that has been historically taught in an introductory course, I have found that it is one that captivates students and expands their view of what philosophy is. Below, I will describe in detail the movement learning activity that I employ and how it connects to Young’s argument in the paper. Additionally, I will share some student feedback regarding this learning activity, and conclude by offering some of the more general benefits of movement based learning activities.

Read More »

Women, Excellence, and Competition

Susan Chira has an article at the NYT about women’s experience in business, the possible connection to barriers in politics, and what some of those structural barriers to high status positions seem to be.

“Why Women Aren’t C.E.O.s, According to Women Who Almost Were: It’s not a pipeline problem. It’s about loneliness, competition and deeply rooted barriers.”

“In recounting their experiences, some women were philosophical; several swung between barely suppressed fury and bouts of self-blame. “

The article also contains what might be the crowning glory of Dunning-Kruger anecdotes:

“Many women, accomplished as they are, don’t feel the same sense of innate confidence as their male peers. Gerri Elliott, a former senior executive at Juniper Networks (who said she did not personally encounter bias), recounts a story related by a colleague: A presenter asked a group of men and women whether anyone had expertise in breast-feeding. A man raised his hand. He had watched his wife for three months. The women in the crowd, mothers among them, didn’t come forward as experts.”

Read More »

CFP: Values in Medicine, Science, and Technology Conference

The 7th Annual Values in Medicine, Science, and Technology Conference
at The Center for Values in Medicine, Science, and Technology
The University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, Texas, USA
May 18-21, 2017

Including sessions presented jointly with the
Comics and Popular Arts Conference

## Keynote Speakers
* Alice Dreger, PhD, historian and author of Galileo¹s Middle Finger
* Ari Larissa Heinrich, PhD, UC San Diego – Department of Literature

## Conference Description
This interdisciplinary conference seeks to explore the interplay between
human, ethical, cultural, and political values, on the one hand, and
science, technology, engineering, and medical research and practice, on
the other hand. We invite presentations that seek not only to understand
how values and science can and do influence one another, but also how they
should interact (as well as interactions and influences that should be
avoided). Finally, we are ultimately interested in promoting ethically
responsible and socially beneficial scientific research and technological
innovation, the social conditions for the pursuit and appreciation of
science and technology, and critical reflection about the influence of
science, technology, and medicine on our values, culture, practices, and

Target themes include:

* Science, Technology, and Social Justice
* Socially-Driven and Public-Interest Science
* Values in Climate Science and Policy
* Authority of Science in Democratic Societies
* Science and Moral Imagination
* Values in Interdisciplinary Research
* Interdisciplinarity in the Study of Values in Science
* Connecting Philosophy of Science & Philosophy of Technology
* Connecting Bioethics and Philosophy of Medicine / Philosophy of Biology
* “Values in Science” in History & Sociology of Science
* Representations of Science in Pop Culture
* Imagining the Future of Science and Society through Science Fiction
* Politics and Ethics of Media Representations of Science

More information about the conference and how to submit at the website:

CFA: Michigan State University Philosophy Graduate Conference

Call for abstracts and creative works for the 18th Annual Michigan State University Philosophy Graduate Conference: The conference will take place March 17th-19th, 2017. The deadline for abstract submissions is January 22nd.
The conference theme is “How is this Conference Philosophy: Women of Color and Philosophy”. Building on Dr. Kristie Dotson’s paper “How is this Paper Philosophy?”, we hope to host a conference that celebrates and complicates the relationships between women of color and philosophy. We are interested in work of women of color in and out of professional philosophy and on the status of women of color in philosophy. Additionally, we are honored to have Dr. Mariana Ortega of John Carroll University as the conference keynote speaker. For more information on the conference and details on how to submit a paper or creative work, please review the attached Call for Papers and Creative Works. We ask that you save the conference dates and share this Call for Papers and Creative Works with your networks.
(notice from Shelbi Meissner and Ayanna Spencer)
More information:

In addition to paper presentations, we invite women of color philosophers to bring art, poetry, spoken word, dance, and/or song to share during presentation, to display at gatherings, or to perform during our Conference Open Mic. 2

Submission Guidelines: Submissions should be sent to Please submit the following: 1. Cover Letter (1 page): In this letter, we ask that you address: i. A short biography ii. How your paper or planned paper coheres with the themes of the conference? iii. If applicable, please describe the creative work you are interested in sharing at the Open Mic and what, if any, relationship it has to your research interests. 2. Paper Abstract: The paper abstract may be up to 500 words. Note that the final conference paper should not exceed 4,000 words. 3. Working-bibliography: Please provide a working-bibliography of the sources you intend to use in your project. Submission Deadline: Please submit the cover letter, abstract, and working bibliography by Sunday, January 22nd, 2017. You will receive a notification of acceptance on Friday, January 27th, 2017.
If you have questions, please email

CFP: Law, Philosophy, Feminism – Jan 15th

Final Call for Papers:

Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities: Philosophy’s Practical Turn

The Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities (YJLH) is seeking full submissions for a symposium section of the Spring 2017 issue. The journal seeks submissions that employ methods of philosophy (broadly construed) to investigate practical legal issues. We hope to publish articles representative of an array of philosophical traditions and contemporary issues. The special section aims to exemplify how philosophical approaches and insights provide distinctive and significant contributions to practical legal debates.

Example topics include:

Bioethics, biolaw, and technology

Feminist philosophy of law

Law and philosophy of race, gender, sexuality

Mass incarceration and prisons

Neuroscience, law, and philosophy

Philosophical analyses of legal evidence or standards of proof

Philosophy of disability and the law

Practical just war theory and philosophy of war

Topics in practical ethics (e.g. abortion, capital punishment) with a legal-philosophical angle

Please submit papers prepared for anonymous review to by January 15, 2017. We also aim to accept and publish standard submissions for Volume 29(2) (in addition to articles chosen for the special section of the issue). Please send regular submissions to

Debate on Prostitution at

There’s a video of a debate about prostitution up at The Institute of Art and Idea’s website: “Victims and Conquerors”. (I haven’t watched it myself.)

From the site:

Camille Paglia famously claimed “the prostitute is not the victim of men but rather their conqueror”. Is the demeaning of prostitution strangely part of the patriarchy? Is it time to revere the prostitute as an outlaw who controls sexual contact? Or would this demean us all?

The Panel

Niki Adams of the English Collective of Prostitutes joins commentator and author of Life at the Bottom Theodore Darlymple, and Catherine Hakim to examine one of society’s last taboos.

Some of the site’s other debates may also be of interest:

“Rethinking Feminism: Is there a universal goal for women’s rights?”

“In Place of Prejudice: Can rationality provide a basis for morality?”