Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

Philosophy has to be about more than white men March 24, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — jennysaul @ 6:09 am

When it comes to philosophy, for instance – a particularly important discipline as our world is built on ideas – the work of white males, dead or alive, dominates the field. This is not simply because white males have contributed profound work, but also due to the glaring yet tacitly silenced relationship between power structures and knowledge. This is why philosophy professor Angela Davis’s complex body of work on the social justice system has not influenced contemporary philosophical studies on prisons in the way Michel Foucault’s work on the same topic has. Or why the Ethiopian philosopher Zera Yaekob, who long before Nietzsche declared that “God is dead”, daringly criticised organised religion in his 1667 treatise, Hatata, where he also said: “He who investigates with pure intelligence … will discover the truth.” But despite promoting reason in this way, he is not dubbed the father of modern philosophy, Descartes is.

For more, go here.


Inclusiveness by Adrian Currie March 23, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sam B @ 4:51 pm

Adrian Currie writes, “I’m a confident, cis, white, English-speaking, healthy, middle-class, male philosopher (a cchewmmp?). So I’m one of *those* philosophers. I even have a beard. I also care deeply about philosophy’s lack of inclusiveness: it’s embarrassing; philosophy as a discipline suffers if its pool of potential awesomeness is restricted; people who could thrive philosophically miss out. However, working out how to help is hard, especially given that my capacity to be part of the problem is very real. I am one more cchewmmp, after all. Roughly, then, I’m trying to learn how to “be an ally” (for me this involves going beyond recognizing the problem and trying to affect positive change).”

Read more about what you can do to promote diversity and inclusivity in Philosophy here:


Arguments for diversity and academics |

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sam B @ 4:47 pm

Catherine Hundleby writes, “Including women and other marginalized people may well require broadening a field or its methods, and that is good enough reason for change, but it’s justified on epistemological grounds as much as socio-political. It’s not easy to do, at all, and token efforts may be quite ineffective, as Carla Fehr (2011) argues. The above are all “diversity as excellence” approaches and they demand a lot of work to be effective. I’ve written this post in the hopes of saving people a step when you are called on to make arguments for the epistemological value of diversity, such as solid representation by women. You have here almost a dozen reasons, just to start with.”

You can read her arguments for the epistemic value of diversity here:


Nancy Hartsock, 1944-2015 March 21, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — KateNorlock @ 1:21 am

We note with sadness the news that Professor Emeritus Nancy Hartsock of the University of Washington has died. A political theorist, a feminist thinker, and a philosopher of social science, Nancy Hartsock was the author of many articles, and books including The Feminist Standpoint Revisited and Money, Sex, and Power: Toward a Feminist Historical Materialism. Nancy Bauer wrote on FaceBook, “Her work was absolutely critical to the flourishing of feminist theory. The particular way she spelled out the idea of a feminist standpoint is brilliant; we owe her an enormous debt of gratitude. The University of Washington, where she taught for many years, is raising funds for an endowed prize in her name. Please consider donating. You can contact Christine DiStefano in the PolySci department at UW.”

It is a custom at FP to cite a few lines of the author whose passing we are marking. Scholars who cite her work are welcome to offer notable passages, but I am most drawn to reproduce her words from the Introduction to Feminist Standpoint Revisited:

I never set out to become a feminist theorist. Indeed, when I set out to become a political theorist, such a choice was impossible because feminist theory in anything like its present form did not exist. Nor did I set out to become (in whatever sense I have become) a Marxist, since in terms of my graduate education, that possibility too did not exist. In looking over the essays that I have chosen to reprint I find myself asking how it happened. Each of these essays grew out of and responded to questions that arose from the social contexts in which I found myself. …they are autobiographical in that they respond to issues I found urgent at different times.

She is a model to which we should all aspire. May you write in response to the questions that arise from  your social contexts.


Job Offers: Are They Professional News? March 20, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — lanternerouge @ 11:10 pm

Consider a Philosophy department that is hiring a new senior colleague. They have two or three outstanding candidates in mind, each of whom they would be unreservedly delighted to welcome into their community. But they can only hire one. They make a hard choice and send out an offer; but it is declined. So they make another hard choice and send an offer to another of their preferred candidates.

Consider now the candidate who gets such an offer from a department they respect, couched in terms of how happy the department would be to have them join. Is there any reason why the department should feel in any way embarrassed about making the offer, or why the candidate should feel slighted in receiving it?

There might be — if the first-choice candidate already chose to publicize the rejected offer, and a professional news blog chose to carry the story. Trumpeting senior offers that are rejected is a way of very publicly revealing subsequent appointments as having been second-or-later choice candidates, with optics unlikely to reflect the completeness of the welcome that a department is offering their eventual appointment. This risks tarnishing a relationship between new colleagues; it interferes in a professional relationship that is (starting the moment the first candidate decides to reject the offer) none of the first candidate’s business; and these, I think, are sufficiently uncollegial outcomes to be worth carefully avoiding unless some unusually strong professional interest is served by making the announcement.

What about job offers, then, rather than offers rejected? Is publicizing offers that have been made, but are still undecided, less professionally corrosive than publicizing those that have already been declined? I have my doubts. Either an open offer will be accepted or it will be rejected. If it is rejected, the effects of having publicized it are virtually indistinguishable from those of publicizing offers already rejected. But supposing the offer is accepted, what will have been the benefit of publicizing the offer before the matter was settled? Prudential concerns might arise here — could the costs of a publicly-known declined offer encourage a university to sweeten the deal during negotiations? But even if this made some sense from the candidate’s negotiating perspective (it strikes me as ultimately self-defeating), that would not elevate it to the level of professional news. Gossip, perhaps; but not news.

Somebody’s actually moving to a new appointment might well be professional news — though it’s worth questioning the presuppositions of newsworthiness that attend such a story. The perceived newsworthiness of a professor’s relocation is just the sort of judgement one would expect to find laden with attitudes and biases about gender, race, and sub-disciplinary fields, and irrelevant halo effects arising from academic pedigree and connections. But even if actual moves were newsworthy, prospective ones would be a very different thing. In general a position is offered in confidence, and until it is formally accepted, it might yet be offered to another candidate. While there may be special circumstances and reasonable exceptions, in general information about job offers is best not treated as professional news.

Why my focus on senior job offers, then? I think that the considerations raised here (being careful with information about hiring processes, out of respect for the relationship between departments and their new colleagues) do apply to junior academic job offers as well, though the typical scale and slightly frenzied nature of hiring into junior untenured positions might make it harder to make confidentiality stick. But ultimately the reason to mention senior hires is because those are the offers that have been treated as newsworthy in the philosophical blogosphere.

A word about comments: This post is about practices, not specific cases. Please do keep comments similarly focused.


Gender and interruptions March 18, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — jennysaul @ 6:40 pm

Lots of interesting stuff here, including the fact that men interrupt women a lot, and that women hardly ever interrupt men. But also that the women who make it to the top do A LOT of interrupting of everyone.

(Thanks, Jender-Mum!)


Trust and Women’s Feelings

Filed under: Uncategorized — magicalersatz @ 5:57 pm

Damon Young has written an incredibly honest editorial at Huffington Post about trust and men’s perception of women’s emotions. He writes:

Generally speaking, we (men) do not believe things when they’re told to us by women. Well, women other than our mothers or teachers or any other woman who happens to be an established authority figure. Do we think women are pathological liars? No. But, does it generally take longer for us to believe something if a woman tells it to us than it would if a man told us the exact same thing? Definitely!

This conversation is how, after five months of marriage, eight months of being engaged, and another year of whatever the hell we were doing before we got engaged, I realized I don’t trust my wife.

When the concept of trust is brought up, it’s usually framed in the context of actions; of what we think a person is capable of doing. If you trust someone, it means you trust them not to cheat. Or steal. Or lie. Or smother you in your sleep. By this measure, I definitely trust my wife. I trust the shit out of her. I also trust her opinions about important things. I trusted that she’d make a great wife, and a trust that she’ll be a great mother. And I trust that her manicotti won’t kill me.

But you know what I don’t really trust? What I’ve never actually trusted with any women I’ve been with? Her feelings.

Young argues that this basic kind of discounting – the same kind of phenomenon Miranda Fricker writes about in her discussion of testimonial injustice – is so insidious in part because it’s considered an accepted, almost laughable part of normal social interactions:

Basically, women are crazy, and we are not. Although many women seem to be very annoyed by it, it’s generally depicted as one of those cute and innocuous differences between the sexes.

And perhaps it would be, if it were limited to feelings about the dishes or taking out the garbage. But, this distrust can be pervasive, spreading to a general skepticism about the truthfulness of their own accounts of their own experiences. If women’s feelings aren’t really to be trusted, then naturally their recollections of certain things that have happened to them aren’t really to be trusted either.

This is part of the reason why it took an entire high school football team full of women for some of us to finally just consider that Bill Cosby might not be Cliff Huxtable. It’s how, despite hearing complaints about it from girlfriends, homegirls, cousins, wives, and classmates, so many of us refused to believe how serious street harassment can be until we saw it with our own eyes. It’s why we needed to see actual video evidence before believing the things women had been saying for years about R. Kelly.

He then points out that this type of distrust – a distrust that’s especially geared toward emotional reactions or feelings of anger, betrayal, and hurt – isn’t just something that crops up between men and women:

There’s an obvious parallel here with the way (many) men typically regard women’s feelings and the way (many) Whites typically regard the feelings of non-Whites. It seems like every other day I’m reading about a new poll or study showing that (many) Whites don’t believe anything Black people say about anything race/racism-related until they see it with their own eyes. Personal accounts and expressions of feelings are rationalized away; only “facts” that have been carefully vetted and verified by other Whites and certain “acceptable” Blacks are to be believed.


Calling philosophy data people!

Filed under: Uncategorized — jennysaul @ 3:39 pm

A rich new resource  for you to study….



In late 2014, the American Philosophical Association (APA) and the British Philosophical Association (BPA) jointly conducted a survey of 43 philosophy journals to gather data on their submission and acceptance rates, review process, and the percentages of papers submitted and accepted that were written by women and members of minority ethnic groups from 2011 to 2013.

The results of the survey are now available on both the APA website and the BPA website.

The responses were provided by journal editors, with publishers supplying additional data in some cases.
We plan to conduct the survey periodically and hope to include more journals in the future. To request that a journal be added to future surveys, please contact the APA’s publication coordinator, Erin Shepherd (erinshep@udel.edu)

The APA and BPA wish to thank everyone who participated in gathering and sharing this information and hope that it is useful to the philosophical community.


Feminist scientists (and science-y feminists) at Gap Junction Science March 16, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — KateNorlock @ 7:38 pm

“GJS is an online home for the meeting points between science and feminism. You might share our passion for science and feminism, be curious about what feminism has to offer science, or be wondering how to actually conduct feminist science in your lab.” More here.


Narcissim: social learing theory vs psychoanaltic theory March 15, 2015

Filed under: altruism,health,medicine,parenting,Uncategorized — annejjacobson @ 8:59 pm

From “Origins of narcissism in children,” in the proceedings of the national academy of sciences.

There’s an interesting theoretcal challenge here to the idea that problematic behavior is due to unconscious desires to make up for early wounds. Equally, we get some insight into how pretty rotten people can have quite nice parents.

Narcissism levels have been increasing among Western youth, and contribute to societal problems such as aggression and violence. The origins of narcissism, however, are not well understood. Here, we report, to our knowledge, the first prospective longitudinal evidence on the origins of narcissism in children. We compared two perspectives: social learning theory (positing that narcissism is cultivated by parental overvaluation) and psychoanalytic theory (positing that narcissism is cultivated by lack of parental warmth). … Results support social learning theory and contradict psychoanalytic theory: Narcissism was predicted by parental overvaluation, not by lack of parental warmth. Thus, children seem to acquire narcissism, in part, by internalizing parents’ inflated views of them (e.g., “I am superior to others” and “I am entitled to privileges”). Attesting to the specificity of this finding, self-esteem was predicted by parental warmth, not by parental overvaluation. These findings uncover early socialization experiences that cultivate narcissism, and may inform interventions to curtail narcissistic development at an early age.



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