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feminist philosophy


Subject Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405168908.2010.x


Central to the matter of what feminist philosophy is are two related, if not quite coordinated, questions. As philosophy, can it be political enough to effect social change? And if it is motivated by political concerns, is it really philosophy after all? One encounters the second of these questions not only in the doubting voices of those philosophers who would deny feminism a place in their field but from feminists themselves, who are at times deeply reflective of the status of their own work and of the methods and assumptions they employ (Bianchi, 1999). But the first may be the more compelling, for it is a gauge by which feminist philosophers sometimes judge one another's work. The charge that postmodern feminism can lead only to quietism, a substitution of academic jargon for political activism, has its counterpoint in the concern that analytical feminists concede too much ground to long-held assumptions in philosophy and thus fail to provide legitimate alternatives to intractably biased notions, including reason, knowledge, and moral agency. This entry addresses both questions by showing what a deeply complex and varied field feminist philosophy is. A precise definition of feminist philosophy is difficult to muster, for work within this field is by no means unified. Common to most feminist philosophy, as to feminism in general, is a conviction that women are oppressed by an ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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