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The Australian National University

Gendering philosophy: a symposium

Presenter: Professor Linda Martín Alcoff, Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center; Professor Eric Schliesser, University of Amsterdam/Ghent University
Event date: 
9.30am–12.45pm 16 August 2016
Venue: Sir Roland Wilson Building Theatrette, SRWB 1.02, ANU

The ANU Gender Institute, the Moral, Social and Political Theory Centre and the Minorities and Philosophy (MAP) Initiative in the School of Philosophy, RSSS present: Gendering Philosophy – a Symposium

The ARC project “Gendered Excellence in the Social Sciences” examines the forms gendered practices take in several university disciplines, including philosophy. It explores the relationship between the production of knowledge and the gendered hierarchies of value that shape disciplinary spaces, seeking in these a partial account of wide variations in the status of academic women between different disciplines.

Following an outline of this project from Associate Professor Fiona Jenkins, the symposium will explore these questions in the company of two philosophers whose work contributes greatly to understanding contemporary philosophy’s gendered form. 

Professor Linda Alcoff: Feminism’s Challenge to Philosophy 

Abstract: This paper reflects on the efforts to diversify philosophy, and explores some important methodological challenges that feminism poses to the discipline. I consider four current approaches that I call, the “lean-in” approach, the political action approach, the effort at enlightenment, and the development of feminist philosophy. There are different forms (and levels) of resistance to each approach, as I discuss. I will also explore the congruence between feminist philosophy and de-colonial philosophy. 

Linda Martín Alcoff is Professor of Philosophy at Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center, and Visiting Research Professor at the Australian Catholic University

Professor Eric Schliesser: 18th century Feminism and Being a Methodological Analytical Egalitarian in Professional Philosophy Today

Abstract: In this paper, I articulate a position that can be traced back to 18th century (proto)-feminism(s): methodological analytical egalitarianism (MAE) as a regulative principle in research (both in social sciences & philosophy). MAE assumes homogeneous human nature such that we're equal for theoretical purposes. MAE has two central methodological components: (i) it stipulates that observed differences in social outcomes are due to (first or second-order) cultural, educational, institutional factors to be established by empirical research; (ii) the theorist/philosopher/expert has to be put 'inside' the model. I explain some of the norms of inquiry that accompany MAE, especially its focus on blocking academic regimes & public policies in which elite experts allow the downside risk to be put on (less powerful/influential) others. Along the way, I defend the position against criticism by Elizabeth Anderson in her influential, (1995) "Knowledge, Human Interests, and Objectivity in Feminist Epistemology."

Eric Schliesser is Professor of Political Theory at the Department of Political Science, University of Amsterdam/Department of Philosophy and Moral Sciences, Ghent University

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