Feminist innovation in philosophy: Relational autonomy and social justice

By Catriona Mackenzie



Feminist philosophy has opened up new areas of investigation across a wide range of sub-fields in mainstream Anglophone philosophy, Continental philosophy and applied ethics. Yet, despite the fact that over the last three decades feminist philosophy has challenged and transformed many sub-fields of the discipline, its impact within the discipline is often patchy, and feminist philosophy is regarded by some philosophers as “not real philosophy”. Several factors might account for this phenomenon, including the under-representation of women in the discipline, the chilly climate for women in some quarters of the discipline, a gender-stereotyped culture within the discipline of rewarding those perceived to be “smart”, and the devaluation of the knowledge claims made by feminist philosophers. This article focuses primarily on the final factor, using relational autonomy theory as an illustrative example. This feminist conceptual innovation has challenged and transformed mainstream conceptions of autonomy. However, its impact within the discipline has been less significant than its impact in other fields.

Citation: Mackenzie, C. (2018). Feminist innovation in philosophy: Relational autonomy and social justice. Women’s Studies International Forum, (online ahead of print).



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