Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Institutionalizing Feminist Philosophy

I have a huge number of posts that I have largely worked out in my head and just need to type out (e.g., on Whewell's theory of inductive epochs, on the conditions under which faith is and is not a virtue, on Edith Stein's discussion of communal grief, on a passage in Tyerman's God's War, on potential Thomistic arguments for Palamism, on the convertibility of being and good, on Kant's account of Judaism, &c.) but this is one killer week for me, so things will probably be pretty light around here for a while. And tonight I am very, very tired and want just to settle down into bed with some rooibos and watch a movie and read Maritain or something. But I did want to say something about this post at the blog What Is It Like to be a Woman in Philosophy:

The University got nervous, hired Nancy Tuana as the department chair, and she worked with the faculty to institute feminist philosophy as a primary part of the program. We are the only program in the nation that requires all graduates students to take two courses in feminist philosophy, including men who don’t want to. Institutionalizing feminist philosophy like this was a stroke of genius, and though Tuana moved on, her legacy is appreciated enormously.

I think this is actually a very, very good idea: requiring at least one course in philosophy as part of the philosophy program. This is because (1) despite the claims of certain people who obviously don't read much feminist philosophy, it's a field in which a lot of excellent work is done; (2) there are so many erroneous claims made about feminist philosophy that people really do need to be exposed to it more if we're ever to get rid of them; and (3) it would, frankly, massively improve a great many philosophy programs, which are sometimes designed in such a way that one would barely have any inkling that ethics or politics were actually things that philosophers talk about.

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