Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

First Parliamentary Inquiry into Equality for Trans People July 28, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jender @ 9:01 am

MPs have launched the first-ever inquiry into trans rights.

The portrayal of transgender people in the media and the access to gender reassignment treatment on the NHS will be investigated by MPs holding the first ever Commons inquiry into equality for trans people.

The newly-formed Women and Equalities Committee will examine the obstacles transgender people face to getting the same rights as everybody else against facing “discrimination and unfair treatment”.

Labour MP Jess Philips, who serves on the committee, told The Huffington Post UK it was time the “fairest, happiest and healthiest” lives could be offered to the trans community.

The 11 MP-strong committee will look at the language used to define trans people, how transgender equality issues are dealt with by Whitehall departments and agencies, as well as how they are treated by schools, the NHS and the criminal justice system.

Hopefully, this will be a thoroughly good thing which will improve the lives of trans people.  Sadly, I have trouble believing that with this government.  And however good the inquiry may be, the gutting of the NHS and general slashing of the welfare net will surely hit trans people very hard.  All that I can find regarding the record on this issues of Maria Miller, the chair, is this tidbit from Wikipedia: “In May 2012 she urged the Prime Minister to continue with proposals to introduce same-sex marriage in England and Wales, despite either voting against or being absent for “all major LGBT rights votes” since becoming an MP.”


Do you need balls to play snooker? EDITED July 26, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — annejjacobson @ 7:35 pm

ADDED: This post is in part a testimony to my bad memory. It turns out that Papineau does explicitly cite Davis, who appears below in the quote. See also comment three below.

I am a bit inclined to think this actually makes it worse. There in fact isn’t very good reason to think that Davis does understand the bottom line of his own motivation, still less that that understanding should be transferred to philosophy to explain a dearth of women. It is entirely possible, for example, that snooker involves employing and increasing 3 d geometrical understanding. It is actually very possible that that is quite pleasureable. It’s also the case that some of the enjoyment comes from the competition, which may transfer all too problematically to philosophy.

Please let us know what you think of these suggestions.

It turns out that that Papineau’s claim about snooker, and by analogy philosophy, being too trivial for women has some precedent:

It is the type of claim to drive the mildest mannered folk potty and send ripples across the smoothest of green baize surfaces. The fact it came from a master of the art only made it worse. The normally hushed reverence that surrounds the sport of snooker erupted into a fierce row last night after six-times world snooker champion Steve Davis said women lacked the “single-minded obsessive type of brain” to compete with men at the highest level of the sport.

Davis said he could not envisage a woman competing in the final stages of the World Snooker Championship, even though it is open to female players. He was backed by the world’s leading women snooker players last night, but Sally Gunnell, the Olympic 400-metre hurdles gold medallist, said it was not the case that women lacked single-minded determination to compete at the top flight of any sport.

Davis, who will be a BBC pundit in today’s World Championship final, told the BBC World Service’s Sports Hour: “The male of the species has got a single-minded, obsessional type of brain that I don’t think so many females have.”

Women lacked “that single-minded determination in something that must be said is a complete waste of time – trying to put snooker balls into pockets with a pointed stick”.

In fact, i would not especially want to join an all male competition like snooker because it is likely, I would have guessed, to have some of the worse faults of philosophy. Recently I’ve seen yet another case of refusing merit to justify discrimination. AKA, cheating, IMHO.

Or, dare I say it, borrowing someone’s words without any attribution. (This last crack is not about Papineau. Again, see comment three below.)


Republicanism for men

Filed under: Uncategorized — axiothea @ 9:42 am

The Review of International Social and Political Philosophy has a nice special issue on “Freedom and Domination: exploring republican freedom” with the following contributors:

Cillian McBride
Philip Pettit
Arto Laitinen
Andreas Busen
Christian F. Rostbøll

Fabian Schuppert
Colin M. Macleod
Keith Breen

For those of us who’ve spent some time and effort arguing that no, republicanism did not need to exclude women, this is a little disheartening…


More on Women in Philosophy July 25, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — jennysaul @ 8:51 pm

Kate Manne and Amia Srinivasan have written excellent letters in response to David Papineau’s article, which we discussed last week.  They’ve been published in the TLS (behind a paywall) and in the Daily Nous here.  Here’s a small taste of what Manne has to say:

Papineau opines that in philosophy, as in snooker, men will tend to “relish the competitive challenge and enjoy the game for its own sake”, whereas women will be drawn to pursuits with more instrumental value. False modesty about the worth of our discipline aside, Papineau ignores the fact that many women clearly want to play the game – or would do, were we not subject to hostile and punitive reactions in doing so. As a result, being a woman in philosophy is often stressful and unpleasant – as the experiences shared on the well-known blog “What is it like to be a woman in philosophy?” amply demonstrate.

Srinivasan notes:

David Papineau writes that “good practice in [politics, law and medicine] often demands familiarity with the problems of marginalized groups”, but that “this line of thought has no obvious application to philosophy”. This is news to me. I would have thought that theorizing well about, say, inequality, pornography or racial hate crimes – to take a few central topics of philosophical interest – might require one to know something about being poor, a woman, or non-white. Insofar as philosophy is in the business of getting the world right, it would seem useful to have more philosophers who are acquainted with some of its less savoury aspects.

In the Guardian today, Mary Warnock and Julian Baggini take up the topic for a brief debate.

Warnock’s view:

I think that academic philosophy has become an extraordinarily inward-looking subject, devoted not to exposing and examining the implications of the way we think about the world, but to exposing instead deficiencies in the arguments of other philosophers. If you pick up a professional journal now, you find little but nitpicking responses to previous articles. Women tend to get more easily bored with this than men.

Baggini references implicit bias, hostile climates, and an unwilingness to acknowledge the pervasiveness of bias.   He closes with a discussion of Haslanger.

Seven years ago, Haslanger, wrote: “In my experience it is very hard to find a place in philosophy that isn’t actively hostile towards women and minorities, or at least assumes that a successful philosopher should look and act like a (traditional, white) man.” Haslanger persevered, but if other talented women are either giving up or being overlooked, that is as much philosophy’s loss as it the sisterhood’s.


As we age: not such good news for women July 22, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — annejjacobson @ 6:39 pm

New news from the Alzheimers Association




WASHINGTON, DC, July 21, 2015 – Women with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) have two times faster decline in cognition than men with MCI, according to new research reported at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference® 2015 (AAIC® 2015) in Washington, D.C. In addition, women decline more dramatically than men in cognition, function and brain size after surgery and general anesthesia, according to another study reported at the conference….


Feminist Philosophy Quarterly, launched

Filed under: Uncategorized — KateNorlock @ 5:18 pm

Feminist Philosophy Quarterly, Volume 1, Issue 1, hit the virtual stands today, and on behalf of Samantha Brennan, Carla Fehr, and Alice MacLachlan, I’m pleased and proud to remind readers that it is anonymously peer-reviewed, free to writers and to readers, and each article is available in downloadable PDF form. Submissions for future issues are welcome at the website!

Our thanks to the authors and to peer reviewers for contributing to making this possible.

The Contents of FPQ 1.1:

Care, Concern, and Advocacy: Is There a Place for Epistemic Responsibility? by Lorraine Code

After Mr. Nowhere: What Kind of Proper Self for a Scientist?       by Sandra Harding

Different Voices, Perfect Storms, and Asking Grandma What She Thinks: Situating Experimental Philosophy in Relation to Feminist Philosophy       by Gaile Pohlhaus Jr.

Female Under-Representation Among Philosophy Majors: 
A Map of the Hypotheses and a Survey of the Evidence   by Tom Dougherty, Samuel Baron, and Kristie Miller

Gestation and Parental Rights: Why is Good Enough Good Enough?        by Lindsey Porter

Technology and Narratives of Continuity in Transgender Experiences       by  Amy Billingsley

Fact/Value Holism, Feminist Philosophy, and Nazi Cancer Research         by   Sharyn Clough

fpq logo


Help with a study about women in philosophy

Filed under: Uncategorized — jennysaul @ 1:36 pm

Lovely readers! I am seeking people to let me study their students via a brief survey at the beginning and the end of a course (in UK-English, a module). There are two kinds of course I am mainly seeking at this point: Feminism courses, and non-feminism courses than nonetheless have a lot of women (>30%) on the syllabus.

If you’d like to help me with my study, can you pop me an email at j.saul AT sheffield.ac.uk?

Many thanks!!


You Have To Try Not To July 20, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — phrynefisher @ 4:13 pm

An astronomer describes some experiences that might be familiar to some readers:

To be fair, “Kelsey” can be an androgynous name, but female pronouns were used in the original news release, so these had to have been deliberately changed. One of the news organizations that changed my gender had actually interviewed me, in person …


Dialogues on Disability – Maeve O’Donovan

Filed under: Uncategorized — Monkey @ 11:04 am

The most recent in Shelley Tremain’s excellent series of interviews came out last week. I’m a little late posting here, due to a lack of internet access! The interviewee this time is Maeve O’Donovan, who discusses, (amongst other things): intersectionality, ADHD, and the failure of feminist philosophy to adequately incorporate and acknowledge issues surrounding disability.

Maeve is associate professor and chair of the philosophy department at Notre Dame of Maryland University and a former executive secretary of the Eastern Division of the Society for Women in Philosophy. Maeve is deeply committed to women’s education and empowerment and uses her roles as teacher, researcher, and department chair to promote an inclusive and diverse feminist space in philosophy that encompasses everyone who identifies as a woman or as a supporter of women. As she describes it, her research examines the fruitful and error-prone intersection of disability, feminism, and philosophy, with her current projects putting race at the center of that discussion. In recent years, she happily spent a great deal of her time caring for her terminally-ill father.

Go have a read!


Myisha Cherry on Police Violence Against Black Women July 18, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — jennysaul @ 5:04 pm

Philosopher Myisha Cherry:

A year ago Eric Garner was killed by police. Within these last twelve months, there have been more lives added to the number of this “black list’ of souls taken from us so quickly by those we are suppose to trust. Recently, two black women were added to this list: Kindra Darnell Chapman and Sandra Bland. Its not as if women have ever been absent from the list of victims of police brutality. We remember Tanisha Anderson, Yvette Smith, Rekia Boyd, and seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones to name a few.

Many protestors and so-called ‘allies’ have failed to call their names with other fallen black men. Some have not called their names due to ignorance. Others have not called their names because ‘black’ has always been synonymous with men. As a result, so many have co-opted #blacklivesmatter to really mean black men lives matter. “Let’s take care of men first, then we can take care of the women.” We, black women, have always been invisible or secondary.

I thought this kind of invisibility would work in my favor with the police. I knew that my black skin would make me visible to the police but my gender would never make me a target. I also thought that my education would save me if I ever had an encounter with the police. I’ve been stopped by the police several times. Once, I was mistaken as a prostitute because I was checking my phone on a corner in East New York, Brooklyn. I was let go once they realized I was a professor. Not having a criminal record saved me. My faculty ID saved me. My status saved me. But I don’t think any of that matters. I was lucky. Professor Ersula Ore’s encounter with police taught me that. You can have a Ph.D., a tenure track job, and a skirt on. It doesn’t matter. You are still the N-Word to them. Sandra Bland was educated and a conscious sister. One only wonders if what was in her head and heart was the motivation for her suspicious death by “them.”

For the rest of this immensely depressing and important article, go here.



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