How important are women to philosophy?

Anything to do with gender and the status of women and men.

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Philosophy Explorer
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How important are women to philosophy?

Post by Philosophy Explorer » Sun Oct 04, 2015 6:22 am

TBH I can't recall any women from history who played a prominent role in philosophy which raises the question: has philosophy been worse off for it? This article lightly looks into this:

http://blog.oup.com/2015/10/women-history-philosophy/

PhilX

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Lawrence Crocker
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Re: How important are women to philosophy?

Post by Lawrence Crocker » Wed Feb 24, 2016 3:05 pm

The contributions of women philosophers have often received less attention than deserved. A couple of examples:

Princess Elizabeth of Bohemia formulated the most important, and arguably decisive, objection to the mind-body theory of Descartes -- a theory that has come (regrettably) to dominate common sense in the west. Descartes in his correspondence with Elizabeth could find no satisfactory response to her criticism.

The most often cited philosophical thought experiment of all time, the trolley problem, has been very nearly wholly owned by women philosophers. First formulated by Phillipa Foot and recast by Judith Jarvis Thomson, its most exhaustive treatment was by Frances Kamm.

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The Voice of Time
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Re: How important are women to philosophy?

Post by The Voice of Time » Thu Feb 25, 2016 12:57 pm

A problem with women in philosophy, is that women often lacked education and stature in the old days, and could therefore easily end up having the ideas, but not the ability to write them down or be heard be honest people. From this fact one can easily assume that women could've played important parts we never heard about, because the men who wrote things down didn't take the time to find the source of an idea.

But in our days there doesn't really feel like there's a huge lack of women in philosophy, it's just that a lot of them (I presume) are stuck in feminist philosophy, and doesn't take the time to work on grand projects outside of it. Therefore, the list of contemporary popular philosophers are still dominated virtually entirely by men as far as my knowledge goes.

A couple of female philosophers from the last century should be quite known to most people interested in philosophy though: Ayn Rand and Simone de Beauvoir. In Norway we actually learn about Simone in school, including a couple of other feminists.

Dalek Prime
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Re: How important are women to philosophy?

Post by Dalek Prime » Thu Feb 25, 2016 5:54 pm

Lawrence Crocker wrote:The contributions of women philosophers have often received less attention than deserved. A couple of examples:

Princess Elizabeth of Bohemia formulated the most important, and arguably decisive, objection to the mind-body theory of Descartes -- a theory that has come (regrettably) to dominate common sense in the west. Descartes in his correspondence with Elizabeth could find no satisfactory response to her criticism.

The most often cited philosophical thought experiment of all time, the trolley problem, has been very nearly wholly owned by women philosophers. First formulated by Phillipa Foot and recast by Judith Jarvis Thomson, its most exhaustive treatment was by Frances Kamm.
Thanks for mentioning Elizabeth of Bohemia, Lawrence. Here's the link to their correspondence between the two. I'm interested in reading it myself.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/elisabeth-bohemia/

Oh, here's a better link:

http://www.earlymoderntexts.com/assets/ ... 1643_1.pdf

Scott Mayers
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Re: How important are women to philosophy?

Post by Scott Mayers » Thu Feb 25, 2016 9:10 pm

I don't care which sex initiates good philosophy. Content is what matters and I disagree with means to put forth token peoples of some relative minority based upon some imbalance irrelevant to the subject's worth.

I always believed that women were equally as valid as men in their thinking but, with more understanding, can see other factors play a role. Here in my city we have a few skeptic groups of which hardly any women stay regularly. Two who do specifically are now mothers and are preoccupied to attending to them. But we have another group that is exclusively closed to men as 'women only' groups for which I find intellectually dishonest and hypocritical. What may be a big issue is that a women's average voice is often much less quieter in the group. At least, I've noticed that when women are present, their voice is literally harder to compete with the level of intensity to which the average man can conversationally. Thus, they get overtalked by that simple competitive difference.

Emotions affect us all but the average women may require a stronger preference to be emotionally dominant over intellectual ones. Some of this is cultural and may change in time. But noticing that even where women have the options, they still often resist certain things as men do for culturally male things.

Obvious Leo
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Re: How important are women to philosophy?

Post by Obvious Leo » Fri Feb 26, 2016 11:16 am

In the modern era Patricia Churchland is very highly regarded my many as both a philosopher of science and a philosopher of mind and in my view she links these two disciplines very effectively under the banner of neurophilosophy. Unfortunately the philosophy of science still remains very much an old boys club of academic elites and she seldom receives the recognition she deserves. Her husband, Paul, works in the same field and they have two children, both of whom are cognitive neuroscientists.

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Arising_uk
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Re: How important are women to philosophy?

Post by Arising_uk » Tue Mar 01, 2016 2:49 pm

Ayn Rand, Mary Wollstonecraft, Margaret Boden, Pat Churchland are a few important ones that come immediately to mind.
Last edited by Arising_uk on Tue Mar 01, 2016 10:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Skip
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Re: How important are women to philosophy?

Post by Skip » Tue Mar 01, 2016 3:41 pm

And, of course, we will never know how many ideas of the prominent male philosophers actually came from their wives, girlfriends, sisters and mothers.

Dalek Prime
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Re: How important are women to philosophy?

Post by Dalek Prime » Tue Mar 01, 2016 11:52 pm

It took Mary Wollstonecraft's daughter to figure out that creating a new consciousness was implicitly an unethical act. And Byron's daughter to figure out how to program Babbage's Analytic Engine.

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SpheresOfBalance
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Re: How important are women to philosophy?

Post by SpheresOfBalance » Wed Mar 02, 2016 12:05 am

Philosophy Explorer wrote:TBH I can't recall any women from history who played a prominent role in philosophy which raises the question: has philosophy been worse off for it? This article lightly looks into this:

http://blog.oup.com/2015/10/women-history-philosophy/

PhilX
Hypatia of Alexandria!

Yes I believe that there should be more women concerning themselves with philosophy, and that philosophy would be better off for it.

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