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1. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 29
Iva Apostolova The ‘Different’ Experience of Women in War: Should Women be Allowed to Take up the Position of Combat Soldiers?
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The question in the title involves two main issues: 1) should women enjoy the same right as men to fight in armed combat? 2) is it useful to have women-combatants? (Also part of the question: do women bring anything new and positively different to combat?). I will argue that we need to address both issues. In other words, the issue of rights, including gender rights, is not sufficient to answer the question of the role of women in warfare, in general, and combat positions, in particular. In exploring the usefulness of women in combat, I will look at two case-scenarios which I consider vital for answering the question at hand. My conclusion is that women do have a place in warfare and should be allowed to take up the position of combat soldiers. I have argued that the main normative ethical theories, namely Deontology, Utilitarianism, Virtue Ethics and Ethics of Care, do not pose insuperable and irreconcilable objections to my interpretation of the question.
2. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 29
Olga Mikhailovna Baranova The Problem of Gender in the Context of the Unity and Opposition of Spiritual and Physical Principles
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The author develops the idea of a spiritual and corporal ratio in a human field, relying on the philosophical thought of antiquity, on German classical philosophy, and the contemporary and Russian classics. He comes to a conclusion about the harmonious unity of two beginnings in the person and the inadmissibility of a sharp opposition.
3. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 29
Sandrine Berges From Sympathy to Social Reform: Sophie de Grouchy’s Republicanism
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Proponents of care ethics tend to reject the ideals of historical republicanism and the enlightenment because they do not take into account the centrality of the roles played by carers or caregivers in society. Furthermore this is irremediable because of enlightenment’s prizing of reason over and above emotions and of independence over relationships. In this paper I argue that such a wholesale rejection is misguided because it is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the ideals of enlightenment and republicanism which did value both the emotions (as sensibility) and relationships (as fraternity). I focus on the example of one feminist republican writer of the eighteenth century, Sophie de Grouchy, and argue that her response to Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments, the Letters on Sympathy provide a model for a feminist republican social reform. I discuss de Grouchy’s arguments on the relationship between sympathy and morality, and on the kind of social and political reforms which are needed in order to ensure that sympathy can operate freely as a regulator of human interactions. I also show how her claim that sympathy originates in the first human relationships, namely between a child and the woman who feeds them (a wet-nurse in the text) means that in this republican account, mothering is identified as central to the well-functioning of human society.
4. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 29
Maria de Lourdes Borges Beauty, Gender and Justice
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In this article, I ask whether a theory of justice should deal with natural differences in beauty among women. I would like to analyze whether they lead to differences in life perspectives and, if so, how a society could deal with these natural aspects in order to avoid social injustices. Differences in natural distribution are natural facts. Justice and injustice are not in nature itself, but just or unjust is the way institutions incorporate the arbitrariness found in nature. I show that difference in beauty among women seems to lead to different social treatments. According to many researches, beauty is highly relevant to male mate preferences and mate preferences are important because they can affect the current direction of sexual selection by influencing who is differentially excluded from, and included in, mating and marriage. The way we can avoid the injustice based on differences on beauty, is by changing our strict patterns of beauty. I propose that it can be accomplished by mass media that show a plurality of body styles. In this sense, we put into question the existence of only one model of beauty and probably increase the justice of institutions.
5. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 29
Ruth Burch On Donna Haraway’s Non-anthropocentric Politics
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In Primate Visions (1989), the American philosopher of culture Donna Haraway (1944- ), states that ‘primatology is a genre of feminist theory’. The reason she gives is that the politics of being female are intimately linked with the way we view animals and nature. Haraway’s main strategy aimed at opening up discourses and categories in order to produce a new kind of fiction and a new type of myth. In the coyote myth, Haraway develops an exemplary protean trickster figure that is consequential since it might just offer the tools for survival in and improvement of the techno scientific world. Her coyote embodiments enable us to think bodies as active, ingenious, and generative agents, for whom metamorphosis and transfiguration are modes of becoming, and which have the potential to outwit the human intellect. If humans want to interact and get along with the world as coyote, they need to learn to interpret its signs correctly and to optimize anticipation of its contriving, scheming moves which are often curious, ironical, or unexpected. Humans can only successfully do this by making sustained efforts to understand the plotting world sufficiently from its perspective. This makes it possible to establish partial connections and alliances with it and keep the human anthropomorphizing tendencies at bay.
6. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 29
Waltraud Ernst Shifting the Apparatus of Gender
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Since the late twentieth century, feminist analysis of science and technology has been criticizing not only the absence of women as epistemic subjects and objects, but also their rather problematic presence as stereotyped and devalued other. Therefore, feminist analysis is challenged to find, first, innovative epistemic ways to empower those who are dis-empowered by gender hierarchies, racism, classism, homophobia and other ideological conditions that classify persons in structural hierarchies. Second, feminist analysis can investigate the epistemic ground on which persons counteract those structural hierarchies. I will argue that epistemological reasoning within feminist science and technology studies has to clarify the methodological and conceptual question of how to investigate gender. How does gender work as a conceptual framework? How does gender function as a social institution and an interactive apparatus? What happens if we investigate gender, including sex and sexuality rather as diffraction patterns than as differences? The paper wants to contribute to an epistemology of gender in scientific processes by way of analyzing the gendered entanglement of matter and meaning. The goal is to find innovative research methods for constructive interdisciplinary engagements between technosciences and humanities.
7. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 29
Evangelia Aikaterini Glantzi Gender: to Deconstruct or Not to Deconstruct?
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The distinction between sex and gender along with theoretical approaches to the way that gender identity is socially constructed permitted early feminists to challenge the idea that “biology is destiny” and conceptualize gender oppression. Postmodern feminism questions both gender identity and the distinction between sex and gender and proposes the deconstruction of gender categories as a way to free individuals from gender oppression. In this paper, I discuss J. Butler’s deconstructive approach to gender and contrast it to D.T. Meyer’s account of gendered and individualized identities. Then, I argue that there are compelling reasons in favor of saving gender identity instead of deconstructing it.
8. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 29
Rochelle M. Green A Hegelian Contribution to Feminist Philosophy
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In this paper I argue that the philosophy of Hegel may offer resources for feminist philosophers attempting to situate themselves in relation to a historically misogynist canon. I suggest that by revisiting the conception of recognition Hegel offers us in the Philosophy of Right, and his insistence on the constitutive nature of social institutions, we may be able to formulate a way to historically situate canonical figures and continue to preserve valuable insights while not succumbing to associated oppressive or prejudicial perspectives.
9. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 29
Ruth Hagengruber Good Philosophy for a Good life!: How Marie de Gournay (1565-1645) and Emilie du Châtelet (1706-1749) Criticized the Canon and Argued for Women’s Concern
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The role and function of Women philosophers within the canonical tradition of philosophy is widely discussed. In my talk I focus on Marie de Gournay and Emilie du Châtelet, who criticized this tradition and who argued in favour of the thesis that “good philosophy” is also “good feminist” philosophy. Both of them presuppose that traditional philosophy’s neglecting of women’s concern is a one sided philosophy based on wrong premises. Both identify methodical misuse as reasons of misogynist statements. Both defend the idea that the consequent use of philosophical instruments supports women’s rights. Their feminist critique is also a critical review of methodic failures of the traditional canon.
10. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 29
Tülin Levitas The Ethics of Care
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In this paper, I want to examine the contributions that women have made to the discipline of philosophy, particularly in the area of ethics, although we know that traditionally women have not been included in the philosophic canon. One possible explanation for this might be the fact that male philosophers have argued, women were not as rational as men. Aristotle, for example, held this view and therefore argued that women are naturally ruled by men. Kant agreed with him and further argued that therefore women should have no voice in public life. Jean-Jacques Rousseau joined in the chorus and argued that men and women had different virtues and it so happened that male virtues were suited for leadership while female virtues were suited for the home. As we know, the second wave of the women’s movement in the 60s and 70s has rejected these views and has argued that the distinction made between men and women, namely men being rational and women emotional, was simply a stereotype. More recently, female philosophers have revisited this position and argued that women do in some instances think differently than men, but it does not necessarily follow that the way women think is inferior to that of men, nor that they should therefore be subordinated to men. Quite the contrary, the way women think might lead to insights that have been ignored by male philosophers, particularly in ethics. It is in the ethics of care that contemporary women philosophers have made their most significant contributions to the discipline of philosophy.
11. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 29
Katarina Loncarevic Retracing Feminist Philosophy in Yugoslavia: The Case of Ksenija Atanasijevic
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This article deals with the often neglected aspect of Ksenija Atanasijevic’s (1894-1981) philosophical work, i.e. with her feminist re-readings of the ancient Greek philosophy. The main thesis is that four short Atanasijevic’s essays between 1923 and 1927 represent the forerunners of the second wave feminist critique of, and interventions into, the philosophical canon. The author provides critical analysis of two Atanasijevic’s essays written in 1924 and 1927 about Greek women philosophers. Necessary attention is paid to comparing and contrasting methodology and conclusions of Atanasijevic’s essays with Kathleen Wider’s essay about Greek women philosophers published in 1986. The article represents an effort in evaluation and re-evalutation of the “lost women’s voices” in feminist philosophy in order to avoid reproducing the ‘malestream’ mechanisms of exclusion that dominated the history of western philosophy.
12. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 29
Tuija Pulkkinen Philosophical Approaches within Contemporary Feminist Theory
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Philosophy is strongly present and mobilized in the contemporary field of feminist theory. Inasmuch feminist theory has become plural, the tradition of philosophy acts in feminist theory in multiple different forms as well. My central thesis is that the field of contemporary feminist theory consists of mutually contested approaches, which each link themselves to different traditions in the history of philosophy. In relation to history of philosophy, I discern three clusters in contemporary feminist theorizing. First, there are those who develop feminist theory in relation to the tradition of phenomenological and existential philosophy. Second, there are those, whose theorizing of gender is inspired by Michel Foucault’s and also Jacques Derrida’s post-phenomenological work. Through Foucault and Derrida, a link is created to Friedrich Nietzsche. Thirdly, there are those who through Gilles Deleuze link even further back in time, to Baruch Spinoza’s ontology. These three philosophical approaches are extremely different with respect to each other, and primarily all three are completely different ways of relating to ontology. The paper explores these differences, and argues that feminist theory is not one theory, but a lively field of various competing and mutually contested theories. A particularly productive contestation is currently going on in between ontological approaches.
13. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 29
Martina Reuter Mary Wollstonecraft’s Critique of J-J Rousseau
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It is well known that Mary Wollstonecraft wrote a fierce critique of J-J Rousseau’s views on the nature and education of women, but the philosophical foundation of this critique has not yet been sufficiently explored. Wendy Gunther-Canada, for example, assumes that Wollstonecraft is attacking Rousseau’s biological determinism. I will argue that Gunther-Canada’s assumption is based on an anachronistic understanding of Wollstonecraft’s critical project and fails to capture its philosophical significance. Gunther-Canada’s distinction between social and biological differences belongs to a much later feminist terminology and does not capture either Rousseau’s or Wollstonecraft’s use of the term “natural”, which has strong metaphysical rather than biological connotations. Wollstonecraft’s critique of Rousseau’s views on women is best understood when it is seen in relation to her critique of his pessimistic view on the possibility of civilization. Wollstonecraft largely agrees with Rousseau’s critical diagnosis of present civilization, but she disagrees with his pessimism. Her own optimism is rooted in a belief in the human capacity of reason and in Providence based on reason. I argue that it is against this background that we must understand the different epistemological, moral and political aspects of Wollstonecraft’s critique of Rousseau’s conception of men’s and women’s complementary virtues.
14. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 29
Israel Roncero The Intimacy of Gender: Architecture of Sexual Identityand New Feminist Approaches to the Value of Domestic Space
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The following paper tries to analyze what we could call “the architecture of gender”: how the adscription of the bodies to certain spaces is crucial to the construction of gender, and in which way the building of the domestic space affects the development of identity. Through the redefinition of one of the main issues in Virginia Woolf’s work, the value of domestic sphere as a space not necessarily harmful for women, but even emancipating, we will try to bring to the fore the importance of the inclusion of technology as a key element of intimacy, in the emancipation of women, the role of man at home and the possibilities that domesticity offers him, once the woman has achieved the right to intervene in the public space.
15. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 29
Rajbala Sekhon Gender Justice: a Philosophical Analysis
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The problem of gender sensitization is only a species of the general problem of lack of impartiality and fairness among human beings. Yet foeticide, infanticide, bride-burning, social hangover of divorce, guilty consciousness of a raped woman, discriminatory inheritance laws, inconsequential property rights, an almost fixed role for her in domestic affairs, her identity either in terms of her parent’s or in-law’s family, eulogizing sati, and worst of all, the degrading, obscene commercialization of the most talented, educated, graceful and confident young woman are a few such practical instances of injustice to women, which demand an honest need for a thorough discussion on the gender issues. It is so easy to see the struggle for gender justice as the battle between the sexes. For lack of involvement on the part of the thinking people, such profound issues are made little of. The role of the system is overlooked and the need for change, synchronized change, is ignored. So, redefining and redrawing human relationships and power equation in the saga of human progress is crucial. If this is not done, our perspective will not only be narrow but also lopsided. Life has immense possibilities. Our lack of initiative makes the beaten track the easiest to travel. To explore the varied possibilities of life, intellectuals must communicate freely and fully and leave no ground untraversed. No issue, which is deeply relevant to human life but has been marginalized because of power equations should remain untouched. Complacency, political or social, is as good as stagnation which most certainly leads to rotting and nothing can stay healthy if its vitals go putrid.
16. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 29
Mariana Szapuová The “Gender Bias Debate” in Feminist Epistemology: How to Handle Biases
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In the context of the “gender and science” debate, different ways were developed, of understanding how science is biased. Various accounts of the cognitive role of androcentric biases were also generated. The aim of this paper is to elaborate on certain problems arising from the “gender bias debate.” After elucidating several ways in which science could be seen as androcentric, special attention will be paid to the problem of how to conceptualize biases, what strategy to develop for eliminating them, and whether is it possible to eliminate them at all. Inspired by the Quinean holistic view of science, and drawing on some arguments developed within feminist empiricism, the author outlines her suggestions for how these problems can be resolved. She argues that naturalized feminist empiricism provides us with a tool for dissolving the bias paradox in the sense that it gives us grounds for rejecting the ideal of pure neutrality as well as for rejecting androcentric biases in science.
17. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 29
Chloë Taylor “Sex Work and De-sexualization: Foucauldian Reflections on Prostitution”
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A number of theorists have defended the legalization and destigmatization of sex work by arguing that sex work is analogous to other kinds of labour that are socially accepted and even valorized. In contrast, one reason that anti-sex work feminist theorists have rejected the analogy between prostitution and other jobs, including professions that are potentially exploitative and dangerous, is that sex is tied up with personal identity and integrity in a way that other activities are not. This makes the selling of one’s body or the use of parts of one’s body for sexual services psycho-sexually harmful in a way that distinguishes it from other forms of labour involving the sale or use of one’s body parts. This essay argues that Foucault’s work on sexuality helps to bring together what seems right about both sides of this debate. Drawing on Foucault, we can explain the fact that sex is experienced as intrinsic to identity in the modern West, as well as lend support to the view that this is a contingent and undesirable state of affairs. Moreover, this essay argues that Foucault’s proposal for desexualization suggests a way out of one of the main occupational hazards associated with sex work.
18. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 29
Stella Villarmea Controversies and Conceptual Innovation: An Approach to Philosophy of Childbirth
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Conceptual innovation can change our perspectives and be thus emancipatory. It is my thesis that emancipatory movements do not construct a language ex novo but rather proceed by understanding how a certain segment of language works, removing problems and confusions regarding some terms, and proposing a creative use of that language, which throws light onto its meaning, to use a Wittgensteinian formulation. That happened when feminist theory started to use and reuse notions like “patriarchy”, “sexism”, “gender”, “feminization of poverty”, “sex worker”, “domestic terrorism”, “sexual class”, or “emotional work”. And that is exactly what happens around the new terminology on gynecology and pregnancy. To see a caesarean not as a necessary surgical intervention but as an unneeded and violent intervention, childbirth activism coins an expression that concisely shows the difference: “unne-caesarean”. From a philosophical perspective, the new conceptualization on childbirth is fascinating. To understand the kind of debate produced by childbirth activism, I appeal to Marcelo Dascal’s famous classification of debates as discussions, disputes, or controversies. My hypothesis is that linguistic innovation is one of the factors that turn a discussion or a dispute into a controversy. Thus, when childbirth activism talks of an “unne-caesarea” it shifts the field of debate into a controversy. The shift has advantages: it enforces dialogue between positions and promotes socio-political changes in our common practices. To conclude, I draw some theoretical and practical consequences of this approach for the sphere of rationality and normativity.
19. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 29
Olga Voronina Metaphysics of Sex and Gender in Russian Philosophy
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In Russian “Philosophy and Theology of sex”, femininity, (so called “Eternal femininity” or “Sophia, the Eternal Highest Wisdom”) is estimated extremely highly as a spiritual principle. In a cosmic and metaphysical sense, the masculine in Russian philosophy is interpreted the same way as in the West: as logos, reason, culture, personality, law and justice. However all these principles are considered contrary to spirituality, which is symbolized by “Eternal femininity”. In such a symbolic system the masculine can just have the status of the son of the Great Mother. It undoubtedly points to a symbolic devaluation of masculinity. It implicitly results in devaluation of “masculine” values-rationality, individualism, justice and law-, while at the same time prioritizing values symbolized as “feminine” -passivity, weakness, and emotionality. Traditional Russian philosophical approaches to gender support archaic social relations. Russia is viewed as mother, and the Russian nation is viewed not as a union of citizens but as “the united family”. Powerful symbols of maternity mold special traits in “the Russian soul” which are not always positive. Symbolic celebration of femininity does not mean high assessment of woman’s subjectivity. The attitude to women is unconsciously determined by the image of the dreaded mother.
20. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 29
Mary Ellen Waithe Philosophy’s First Hysterectomy: Diotima of Mantinea
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Philosophy became known as a “man’s” profession over the past three thousand years. This is an account of how, in the case of Diotima of Mantinea, the histories of philosophy came to systematically ignore, overlook, doubt and declare false the fact that some philosophers had uteruses. The effect has been a massive hysterectomy –the removal from or ignoring of women’s contributions to Philosophy as related by the major histories and encyclopedias of Philosophy. This nearly discipline-wide hysterectomy has created the false impression that women cannot think philosophically. In this PowerPoint presentation I will present historical and archeological evidence relative to Diotima of Mantinea who may have been the first woman philosopher to receive a posthumous hysterectomy by later historians of philosophy.