Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

May there be less sadness in Ireland now May 23, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — annejjacobson @ 6:44 pm

Subjecting minority rights to a popular vote is a tricky proposition, as some constitutions recognize. But the vote on gay marriage in Ireland may have been based on the empathy and imagination that enables human beings to share others’ perspectives.


Letitia Meynell on the normalization of deviance and ethics curriculum May 22, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — KateNorlock @ 7:44 pm

From Impact Ethics: “Professions and professional schools are acutely susceptible to the normalization of deviance and this susceptibility is amplified when professional ethics education is only in house,” says Letitia Meynell, an Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Dalhousie University (regarding the Class of DDS 2015 Gentlemen case). “The answer is not to do away with in house ethics training for professionals but to recognize that not all ethics training should be done in house. Drawing on expertise from outside the professional schools for such training would not only enhance the currency and depth of ethics training in the professional schools, but may help to diffuse the attitudes that fuel the normalization of deviance.”


UK academics: Pension Consultation Ends TODAY!

Filed under: Uncategorized — jennysaul @ 10:57 am

If you haven’t yet, please go register your views here. One key feature of the proposed changes likely to be of interest to blog readers is the change from final salary to average salary as determination of pension level. Members of under-represented groups often have slower career advancement, so this change will be particularly damaging.


Symptoms of depression given letter grades May 21, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — magicalersatz @ 5:07 pm

Josh Parsons (Oxford) has started a webpage in which he – following up on his previous work with flags – gives letter grades to the symptoms of depression. Parsons describes the project as follows:

I have suffered from depression on and off since 2012 and probably a lot longer. In 2012 I came under a lot of stress, had a meltdown worse than any I’d had before, at a time when I couldn’t afford to just take time off to deal with it myself, and went to see my doctor, then a psychiatrist, then a therapist, and ended up taking sick leave from my job, a course of anti-depressants andcognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

A standard thing people try to do to help deal with depression is “taming the black dog”. The idea is that you get comfy with the idea that whatever you feel, however nasty, is part of you. You own it, it doesn’t own you. Another thing, part of CBT, is teaching yourself that even the worst thing that might realistically happen is not the end of the world (once you have your head around that, you can stop believing that it will happen). This page is an attempt to do both of those.

A few years ago now I gave humourous letter grades to the world’s flags. The last time I came back up from a bout of depression, it suddenly seemed like a stroke of genius to do the same to my symptoms (see Hypomania below). I have not attempted to review every possible symptom. Mostly, depression is no barrel of laughs. But in retrospect some symptoms are quite funny. So I have just chosen a few choice picks.

Josh’s comments on depression are funny, humane, rich, and brave. (And if you haven’t read his page on flags, you really need to.) Thank you, Josh, for being willing to discuss these issues so openly.


Sexism in “Oxford Today”? May 20, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — annejjacobson @ 7:07 pm

It’s the Oxford glossy; this one for Trinity Term. In the section “Common Room”, which features book essays and Reviews, all 13 reviews are about books by men. There is an essay about a book by a man and a woman.

In other news, the sun rose this morning.


But what would Aristotle say? More on journals and diversity May 19, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Prof Manners @ 8:28 pm

Discussion regarding the difficulty of securing a place for feminist philosophy in non-specialist journals prompts me to echo Kate Manne’s concerns as they refract through the challenges of placing work substantively addressing Asian philosophies in non-specialist journals. First, some rough data on what the historical trajectory of research on Asian philosophies looks like, using entries in the Philosopher’s Index as the focus:


Articles in Asian

in General Journals*

Articles on

Confucianism in PI

Articles on

Buddhism in PI

1940-1949               3            0            4
1950-1959               7            4            9
1960-1969               3            8            31
1970-1979               4             63            129
1980-1989               4             87            139
1990-1999               6            140            171
2000-2009               3            377            303
2010-2014               4            276            232

*Journals canvassed in the first column are: American Philosophical Quarterly, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, Ethics, Journal of Ethics, Journal of Moral Philosophy, Journal of Social Philosophy, Journal of Value Inquiry, Mind, Nous, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Philosophers’ Imprint, Philosophy and Public Affairs



Benefit sanctions: Britain’s secret penal system

Filed under: Uncategorized — Monkey @ 2:25 pm

Dr. David Webster from the University of Glasgow on the practice of benefit sanctions:

Benefit sanctions are an amateurish, secret penal system which is more severe than the mainstream judicial system, but lacks its safeguards. It is time for everyone concerned for the rights of the citizen to demand their abolition.

‘Sanctions’ are almost entirely a development of the last 25 years. The British political class has come to believe that benefit claimants must be punished to make them look for work in ways the state thinks are a good idea. Yet the evidence to justify this does not exist. A handful of academic papers, mostly from overseas regimes with milder sanctions, suggest that sanctions may produce small positive effects on employment. But other research shows that their main effect is to drive people off benefits but not into work, and that where they do raise employment, they push people into low quality, unsustainable jobs. This research, and a torrent of evidence from Britain’s voluntary sector, also shows a wide range of adverse effects. Sanctions undermine physical and mental health, cause hardship for family and friends, damage relationships, create homelessness and drive people to Food Banks and payday lenders, and to crime. They also often make it harder to look for work. Taking these negatives into account, they cannot be justified.

You can read the whole article – which is well worth looking at – here.


Let’s discuss rejections of feminist philosophy

Filed under: Uncategorized — jennysaul @ 8:42 am

Kate Manne has agreed to let me share a post from FB about her experience with a rejection of a feminist philosophy paper.

I received a rejection notice from a journal yesterday. This is a pretty routine occurrence in this game, admittedly. Acceptance rates are notoriously low in philosophy; well under five per cent in the top journals. So you have to learn to accept the rejections themselves gracefully. And much as you slightly dread reading the reports, they can be valuable, even invaluable, in making the paper better. They can help to expose unclarities in your claims, gaps in your argument, etc. But sometimes, they simply confirm that you are fighting a losing battle.

This referee report was one such. The reviewer complained about my use of feminist terms and concepts throughout the paper – e.g., “hegemonic dominance”, “messages that are not only false but oppressive,” and “hermeneutical injustice,” being the specific phrases which they listed as objectionable. And they went on to remark more generally that “the rhetoric of the ms. is such that it will, I think, (1) turn off some readers and (2) distract from the author’s argument. The author brings in some concepts and language which, whatever their merits, seem dubious to many of us in the analytic tradition.”

As a feminist philosopher in the analytic tradition, this is a very disappointing reaction to encounter. Many of us – me included – take the above terms and concepts to be standard, useful, and indeed vital, stock-in-trade. And the people who the reviewer feared would be so “turned off” by the language as to be “distracted” from my argument seem to include the reviewer themselves, ironically. They not only managed to completely miss, but handily illustrated, my central point in the paper. The point being that if one espouses politically marginalized views within philosophy, then one is disproportionately likely to be dismissed, disparaged, silenced, or even excluded from the discipline altogether. One is less likely to be given a platform in leading journals, for one concrete example, in view of which one is of course less likely to be able to earn a living wage, let alone get tenure.

Taken alone, my experience is just one data point, of course. But recent work by Sally Haslanger, among others, strongly suggests that it is not anomalous. Feminist philosophy is virtually absent, and plausibly systematically excluded, from top journals, she argues.

Obviously, the worry here is not that a paper got rejected. It’s that it got rejected for reasons suggestive of ideological bias against an entire area of philosophy, bias so strong that even using the vocabulary common in this area is sufficient grounds for rejection. It seemed to me that it would be useful to open a discuss here in which people can share similar experiences.

So have at it!


Racist housing policies May 17, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — jennysaul @ 6:46 am

An excellent brief article.

An example:

On the Federal Housing Administration’s overtly racist policies in the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s

The second policy, which was probably even more effective in segregating metropolitan areas, was the Federal Housing Administration, which financed mass production builders of subdivisions starting in the ’30s and then going on to the ’40s and ’50s in which those mass production builders, places like Levittown [New York] for example, and Nassau County in New York and in every metropolitan area in the country, the Federal Housing Administration gave builders like Levitt concessionary loans through banks because they guaranteed loans at lower interest rates for banks that the developers could use to build these subdivisions on the condition that no homes in those subdivisions be sold to African-Americans.


C.S.I. Jenkins on love and sex education May 16, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sam B @ 9:50 pm

In a column in The Globe and Mail, “What’s Love Got to Do with Sex Ed? Maybe Everything” Jenkins writes,

Ontario schools are introducing a new sex ed curriculum this September, one that covers topics such as sexting and consent as opposed to merely the mechanics of sex. Predictably, some parents are vocally outraged.

But among the voices in what’s been called a “coalition of the pure,” some are more interesting than others. Recently The Globe and Mail reported that Michal Szczech, a father of two, is not dismayed by what appears on the new curriculum but by what is missing from it. Szczech is said to be calling for classes that will cover not just sex, but love.

Now that’s not a bad idea. There’s just one huge snag: What do you teach?

Read Jenkins’ column here.

C.S.I. Jenkins is the Canada Research Chair in Philosophy at the University of British Columbia, and is writing a book on the nature of romantic love.



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