Articles #feminist philosophy


Making Medical Knowledge

Making Medical Knowledge

I recommend taking a social, rather than an individual point of view when making assessments about rationality and progress. An individual’s reasons for working on a particular theory may be accidental or irrelevant (e.g. they may have found it aesthetically appealing), but it is important to the scientific community as a whole that someone is working on the theory. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Miriam Solomon

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A Mind With a View

A Mind With a View

About masculinist bias in epistemology: I’m a skeptic about this, at least about the specific allegations that have been made by some feminist epistemologists, namely that the individualism and abstractness of Western (or “Western”) philosophy is evidence of masculinist bias. First of all, men have dominated philosophy and religious thought throughout the world and throughout history, whether we’re talking dualism, monism, Taoist, or Hindu. So every epistemological tradition has been shaped, if any has, by the interests and self-conceptions of men. Secondly, there’s variation within the “Western” epistemological tradition, and that variation cannot be explained by gender differences. Wittgenstein seems perfectly OK by the lights of some feminists who criticize the Anglo-American (which is really German-Austrian-(and-only-after-the-Nazis-) Anglo-American, having been more or less started by the Vienna Circle). Marx and Foucault are revered. So if those men can transcend their masculinity and produce theories (or anti-theories, in the case of Wittgenstein), I don’t see why Descartes couldn’t as well. Thirdly – and we know this largely because of the groundbreaking work of my colleague, Eileen O’Neill – women philosophers had a large influence on the development of Englightenment philosophy... Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interview Louise Antony

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Making a Difference

Well, one way to put the difference between laws and accidental regularities is to say that they differ with respect to their ‘modal status’. Modal status has to do with what’s necessary or possible – what could and could not be the case. For example, it’s a contingent truth that I just ate a burrito – I could easily have had tacos instead, or pizza, or nothing at all. Come to think of it, the world could have panned out in such a way that my parents never met, in which case I wouldn’t have existed at all. By contrast, it’s (arguably) a necessary truth that 2+2 = 4. There’s no way things might have panned out such that it would have been false that 2+2 = 4. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Helen Beebee.

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