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Broad, Jacqueline, , Karen Detlefsen. (eds.) Women and Liberty, 1600-1800: Philosophical Essays
2017, Oxford University Press.
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Added by: Francesca Bruno, Contributed by:

Publisher’s Note: This book addresses the theme of liberty as it is found in the writing of women philosophers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, or as it is theorized with respect to women and their lives. It covers both theoretical and practical philosophy, with chapters grappling with problems in the metaphysics of free will (both human and God’s), the liberty (or lack thereof) of women in their moral, personal lives as well as their social-political, public lives, and the interactions between the metaphysical and normative issues. The chapters draw upon writing of both women and men, and notably, upon a wide range of genres, including more standard philosophical treatises as well as polemical texts, poetry, plays, and other forms of fiction. As such, this book alerts the reader to the wide range of conceptions of what counts as a philosophical text in the early modern period. Several chapters also grapple with the relation between early modern and contemporary ways of thinking about the theme of women and liberty, thus urging the reader to appreciate the continuing importance of these earlier philosophers in the history of philosophy and of feminism. Ultimately, the chapters in this text show how crucial it is to recover the too-long forgotten views of female and women-friendly male philosophers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, for in the process of recovering these voices, our understanding of philosophy in the early modern period is not only expanded, but also significantly altered toward a more accurate history of our discipline.

Comment: This volume covers ethical, political, metaphysical, and religious notions of liberty, including chapters on women’s ideas about the metaphysics of free will and chapters examining the topic of women’s freedom (or lack thereof) in their moral and personal lives. Some of the papers in this collection could be assigned individually in an undergraduate early modern survey course; or it could be one of the main texts for a more advanced (undergraduate or graduate) course on the topic of liberty/freedom, from a variety of philosophical perspectives (ethical, political, metaphysical, and religious).

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Hartley, Christie, Watson, Lori , . Equal Citizenship and Public Reason. A Feminist Political Liberalism
2018, New York: Oxford University Press
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by:

Publisher’s Note: This book is a defense of political liberalism as a feminist liberalism. The first half of the book develops and defends a novel interpretation of political liberalism. It is argued that political liberals should accept a restrictive account of public reason and that political liberals’ account of public justification is superior to the leading alternative, the convergence account of public justification. The view is defended from the charge that such a restrictive account of public reason will unduly threaten or undermine the integrity of some religiously oriented citizens and an account of when political liberals can recognize exemptions, including religious exemptions, from generally applicable laws is offered. In the second half of the book, it is argued that political liberalism’s core commitments restrict all reasonable conceptions of justice to those that secure genuine, substantive equality for women and other marginalized groups. Here it is demonstrated how public reason arguments can be used to support law and policy needed to address historical sites of women’s subordination in order to advance equality; prostitution, the gendered division of labor and marriage, in particular, are considered.

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Manne, Kate, , . Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny
2017, Oxford University Press
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Lizzy Ventham

Publisher’s Note: Down Girl is a broad, original, and far ranging analysis of what misogyny really is, how it works, its purpose, and how to fight it. The philosopher Kate Manne argues that modern society’s failure to recognize women’s full humanity and autonomy is not actually the problem. She argues instead that it is women’s manifestations of human capacities – autonomy, agency, political engagement – is what engenders misogynist hostility.

Comment: This book offers a convincing argument against the idea that misogyny is explicit hatred of women. It would be great to teach in its own right, but she also gives several case studies and helpful summaries, many of which can be used in a variety of ethics classes (eg. on abortion or online bullying).

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Song, Sarah, , . Justice, Gender, and the Politics of Multiculturalism
2007, Cambridge University Press.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Sarah Song

Publisher’s Note: Justice, Gender and the Politics of Multiculturalism explores the tensions that arise when culturally diverse democratic states pursue both justice for religious and cultural minorities and justice for women. Sarah Song provides a distinctive argument about the circumstances under which egalitarian justice requires special accommodations for cultural minorities while emphasizing the value of gender equality as an important limit on cultural accommodation. Drawing on detailed case studies of gendered cultural conflicts, including conflicts over the ‘cultural defense’ in criminal law, aboriginal membership rules and polygamy, Song offers a fresh perspective on multicultural politics by examining the role of intercultural interactions in shaping such conflicts. In particular, she demonstrates the different ways that majority institutions have reinforced gender inequality in minority communities and, in light of this, argues in favour of resolving gendered cultural dilemmas through intercultural democratic dialogue.

Comment: The book combines political philosophy with case studies exploring conflicts between gender equality and multiculturalism. It could be used in graduate or undergraduate courses on the topic of gender and multiculturalism, paired with Susan Okin’s ‘Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women?’

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Young, Iris Marion, , . Justice and the Politics of Difference
1990, Princeton University Press.
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Added by: Nick Novelli, Contributed by:

Publisher’s note: In this classic work of feminist political thought, Iris Marion Young challenges the prevailing reduction of social justice to distributive justice. It critically analyzes basic concepts underlying most theories of justice, including impartiality, formal equality, and the unitary moral subjectivity. The starting point for her critique is the experience and concerns of the new social movements about decision making, cultural expression, and division of labor–that were created by marginal and excluded groups, including women, African Americans, and American Indians, as well as gays and lesbians. Iris Young defines concepts of domination and oppression to cover issues eluding the distributive model. Democratic theorists, according to Young do not adequately address the problem of an inclusive participatory framework. By assuming a homogeneous public, they fail to consider institutional arrangements for including people not culturally identified with white European male norms of reason and respectability. Young urges that normative theory and public policy should undermine group-based oppression by affirming rather than suppressing social group difference. Basing her vision of the good society on the differentiated, culturally plural network of contemporary urban life, she argues for a principle of group representation in democratic publics and for group-differentiated policies.

Comment: This is an important work of feminist political philosophy. It would be useful to teach in a course on feminist philosophy, or as part of a course or unit on theories of justice, as it engages with many of the seminal thinkers in this area, such as Locke, Rousseau, and Rawls.

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Young, Iris Marion, , . Responsibility and Global Justice: A Social Connection Model
2006, Social Philosophy and Policy 23 (1): 102-130.
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Added by: Rochelle DuFord, Contributed by:

Abstract: The essay theorizes the responsibilities moral agents may be said to have in relation to global structural social processes that have unjust consequences. How ought moral agents, whether individual or institutional, conceptualize their responsibilities in relation to global injustice? I propose a model of responsibility from social connection as an interpretation of obligations of justice arising from structural social processes. I use the example of justice in transnational processes of production, distribution and marketing of clothing to illustrate operations of structural social processes that extend widely across regions of the world. The social connection model of responsibility says that all agents who contribute by their actions to the structural processes that produce injustice have responsibilities to work to remedy these injustices. I distinguish this model from a more standard model of responsibility, which I call a liability model. I specify five features of the social connection model of responsibility that distinguish it from the liability model: it does not isolate perpetrators; it judges background conditions of action; it is more forward looking than backward looking; its responsibility is essentially shared; and it can be discharged only through collective action. The final section of the essay begins to articulate parameters of reasoning that agents can use for thinking about their own action in relation to structural injustice

Comment: This text responds to theories of individual responsibility for global distributive justice proposed by John Rawls, David Miller, and Onora O’Neill. It would work well as a response to them, but also contains overviews of their positions (i.e. it isn’t strictly necessary to be familiar with their body of work). The text contains illustrative examples of understanding collective responsibilities for injustice, such as goods produced in sweatshops. The text would work well in a course that covered distributive justice, social responsibility, or global justice.

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