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Adams, Carol, , . The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory
2000, New York City: Continuum.
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Added by: Rochelle DuFord, Contributed by:

Back Matter: The Sexual Politics of Meat argues that what, or more precisely who, we eat is determined by the patriarchal politics of our culture, and that the meanings attached to meat eating are often clustered around virility. We live in a world in which men still have considerable power over women, both in public and in private. Carol Adams argues that gender politics is inextricably related to how we view animals, especially animals who are consumed. Further, she argues that vegetarianism and fighting for animal rights fit perfectly alongside working to improve the lives of disenfranchised and suffering people, under the wide umbrella of compassionate activism.

Comment: This is a clear and easily accessible introductory text on the relationship of feminism to vegetarianism. The text is compelling and interesting, making a chapter or two excellent for an introductory course that concerns feminism, gender politics, other animals, or vegetarianism. The text in its entirety would be excellent in an upper division course concerning ecofeminism.

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Andersen, Holly, , Rick Grush. A Brief History of Time Consciousness: Historical Precursors to James and Husserl
2009, Journal of the History of Philosophy 47: 277-307.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Simon Prosser

Abstract: William James’ Principles of Psychology, in which he made famous the ‘specious present’ doctrine of temporal experience, and Edmund Husserl’s Zur Phänomenologie des inneren Zeitbewusstseins, were giant strides in the philosophical investigation of the temporality of experience. However, an important set of precursors to these works has not been adequately investigated. In this article, we undertake this investigation. Beginning with Reid’s essay ‘Memory’ in Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man, we trace out a line of development of ideas about the temporality of experience that runs through Dugald Stewart, Thomas Brown, William Hamilton, and finally the work of Shadworth Hodgson and Robert Kelly, both of whom were immediate influences on James (though James pseudonymously cites the latter as ‘E.R. Clay’). Furthermore, we argue that Hodgson, especially his Metaphysic of Experience (1898), was a significant influence on Husserl.

Comment: Background reading on temporal perception – a nice historical survey of discussions of the specious present.

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Baum, Rob, , . Moral Good, the Self, and the M/other. Upholding Difference
2020, In: Imafidon, E. (ed.) Handbook of African Philosophy of Difference. Cham: Springer, 511-523
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Björn Freter

Abstract: This chapter employs the relevant ethical phenomenologies of Buber, Lévinas, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche as well as the philosophical psychoanalysis of Lacan to examine the moral good of difference and to determine the rationale of treating either self or other as more deserving of good. Difference and otherness are not synonymous. Following the Socratic style of dialogue, the chapter emerges from a conversation with a Zulu man who perceives the author as a privileged, white, female South African other due to the failure of the self to understand the actual difference of the other. There also seems, the author acknowledges, to be a pre-existing and fundamental moral value in regard to relating with and comprehending the other as both self-like and necessarily not-self, a moral value emerging from the Christian overdetermination of many South Africans including the Zulu man – the author is, again, “other” (not privileged, not white, not South African, and not Christian). To this end, Levitical and Deuteronomic texts are invoked as a shared philosophical basis for understanding the difference between self and other. From these analyses, the chapter shows that we other violently, when we do not understand our difference. But when we take time to stop and reflect and listen, we can reach agreement that we are completely different in a positive sense – a strategic rethinking of “otherness.” This important and essential form of difference is theorized in the chapter as “m/othering,” illustrating the original forming of identity on which we tend to base perceptions of the other. Difference is shown to be not only desirable but possibly imperative for cultural growth.

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Butler, Judith, , . Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity
1999, Routledge.
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Added by: Emily Paul, Contributed by:

Publisher’s note: Arguing that traditional feminism is wrong to look to a natural, ‘essential’ notion of the female, or indeed of sex or gender, Butler starts by questioning the category ‘woman’ and continues in this vein with examinations of ‘the masculine’ and ‘the feminine’. Best known however, but also most often misinterpreted, is Butler’s concept of gender as a reiterated social performance rather than the expression of a prior reality.

Comment: All of this book would be very useful for a feminist philosophy course, but chapter 1 in particular would be great to use for a unit on the metaphysics of gender, by considering Butler’s account of gender being performative, and how this links in with the social constructivist account of gender.

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Cahill, Ann J., , Jennifer Hansen (eds.). Continental Feminism Reader
2003, Rowman & Littlefield
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Added by: Alison Stone, Contributed by:

Publisher’s Note: Ann J. Cahill and Jennifer Hansen collect the most groundbreaking recent work in Continental feminist theory, introducing and explaining pieces that are often mystifying to those outside the field and outside academia. With these essays, Continental Feminism Reader begins the process of reanimating feminist politics through the critical tools of its contributors.

Comment: A collection of essays that represent a range of continental-philosophy influenced approaches within feminism, for example with selections from the work of Judith Butler and Kelly Oliver. It could be used as the basis of a course on feminist philosophy if approaching it from a continental perspective, or separate chapters could be used as some of the readings.

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Davidson, Maria Del Guadalupe, Kathryn Sophia Belle (formerly known as Kathryn T. Gines), Marcano, Donna-Dale L. (eds). Convergences: Black Feminism and Continental Philosophy
2010, State University of New York Press.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Esther McIntosh

Publisher’s Note: A range of themes – race and gender, sexuality, otherness, sisterhood, and agency – run throughout this collection, and the chapters constitute a collective discourse at the intersection of Black feminist thought and continental philosophy, converging on a similar set of questions and concerns. These convergences are not random or forced, but are in many ways natural and necessary: the same issues of agency, identity, alienation, and power inevitably are addressed by both camps. Never before has a group of scholars worked together to examine the resources these two traditions can offer one another. By bringing the relationship between these two critical fields of thought to the forefront, the book will encourage scholars to engage in new dialogues about how each can inform the other. If contemporary philosophy is troubled by the fact that it can be too limited, too closed, too white, too male, then this groundbreaking book confronts and challenges these problems.

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Guenther, Lisa, , . Solitary Confinement: Social Death and its Afterlives
2013, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
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Added by: Rochelle DuFord, Contributed by:

Abstract: Prolonged solitary confinement has become a widespread and standard practice in U.S. prisons – even though it consistently drives healthy prisoners insane, makes the mentally ill sicker, and, according to the testimony of prisoners, threatens to reduce life to a living death. In this profoundly important and original book, Lisa Guenther examines the death-in-life experience of solitary confinement in America from the early nineteenth century to today’s supermax prisons. Documenting how solitary confinement undermines prisoners’ sense of identity and their ability to understand the world, Guenther demonstrates the real effects of forcibly isolating a person for weeks, months, or years. -/- Drawing on the testimony of prisoners and the work of philosophers and social activists from Edmund Husserl and Maurice Merleau-Ponty to Frantz Fanon and Angela Davis, the author defines solitary confinement as a kind of social death. It argues that isolation exposes the relational structure of being by showing what happens when that structure is abused – when prisoners are deprived of the concrete relations with others on which our existence as sense-making creatures depends. Solitary confinement is beyond a form of racial or political violence; it is an assault on being.

Comment: This text serves as both a clear introduction to the history of punishment and imprisonment in the United States, as well as a clear introduction to phenomenological method. Portions of the text on the experience of social death in solitary confinement would make excellent additions to introductory courses on prisons and punishment. Some chapters would also be fitting on classes concerning race and mass incarceration.

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Haslanger, Sally, , . Resisting reality: Social Construction and Social Critique
2012, OUP USA.
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Added by: Laura Jimenez, Contributed by:

Publisher’s Note: Contemporary theorists use the term “social construction” with the aim of exposing how what’s purportedly “natural” is often at least partly social and, more specifically, how this masking of the social is politically significant. In these previously published essays, Sally Haslanger draws on insights from feminist and critical race theory to explore and develop the idea that gender and race are positions within a structure of social relations. On this interpretation, the point of saying that gender and race are socially constructed is not to make a causal claim about the origins of our concepts of gender and race, or to take a stand in the nature/nurture debate, but to locate these categories within a realist social ontology. This is politically important, for by theorizing how gender and race fit within different structures of social relations we are better able to identify and combat forms of systematic injustice.
Although the central essays of the book focus on a critical social realism about gender and race, these accounts function as case studies for a broader critical social realism.

Comment: The book as a whole explores the interface between analytic philosophy and critical theory. As it is a collection of essays, particular chapters can easily be used separately, some serving as introductory, others as more advanced readings. It could be of interest for undergraduate or postgraduate courses in political philosophy, philosophy of language and philosophical methodology.

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Korsmeyer, Carolyn, , . Gender and Aesthetics: An Introduction
2004, London: Psychology Press.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by:

Publisher’s note: Feminist approaches to art are extremely influential and widely studied across a variety of disciplines, including art theory, cultural and visual studies, and philosophy. Gender and Aesthetics is an introduction to the major theories and thinkers within art and aesthetics from a philosophical perspective, carefully introducing and examining the role that gender plays in forming ideas about art. It is ideal for anyone coming to the topic for the first time.

Organized thematically, the book introduces in clear language the most important topics within feminist aesthetics:

  • Why were there so few women painters?
  • Art, pleasure and beauty
  • Music, literature and painting
  • The role of gender in taste and food
  • What is art and who is an artist?
  • Disgust and the sublime.

Each chapter discusses important topics and thinkers within art and examines the role gender plays in our understanding of them. These topics include creativity, genius and the appreciation of art, and thinkers from Plato, Kant, and Hume to Luce Irigaray and Julia Kristeva. Also included in the book are illustrations from Gaugin and Hogarth to Cindy Sherman and Nancy Spero to clarify and help introduce often difficult concepts. Each chapter concludes with a summary and further reading and there is an extensive annotated bibliography.

Carolyn Korsmeyer’s style is refreshing and accessible, making the book suitable for students of philosophy, gender studies, visual studies and art theory, as well as anyone interested in the impact of gender on theories of art.

Comment: Chapter 5 is particularly useful in teaching on art theories. It offers an interesting review of art theories from a feminist perspective, noting the gendered character of existing definitions. It may be good to teach it alongside Brand’s ‘Glaring Omissions in Traditional Theories of Art’ to best bring out these issues. Secondly, it inspires the question: given the problematic exclusionary character of art history and theory, would it not be better if we did not have a definition of art which we can use to exclude? The value of the feminist art discussed in the chapter lies largely in its ability to expose the biases present in the artworld and expressed in theories of art. Thus the fact that artists tend to create works which challenge existing theories might be in fact desirable.

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Kristeva, Julia, , . Approaching Abjection
1982, In: Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection, Columbia University Press, pp. 1-31.
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Added by: Rossen Ventzislavov, Contributed by:

Summary: The abject – expressed through the grotesque, the gross and the physically challenging – has long been a source of innovation and scandal in the art world. For Kristeva abjection accounts for much of the complexity of the human condition. She understands abjection to encompass various aspects of our humanity that are often seen as conceptually and/or experientially disparate – emotion, embodiment, affect, repression, criminality, hygiene etc. Kristeva’s guiding intuition is that the abject helps arbitrate between our perception of ourselves as subject and object. In the liminal space between the two, the “I” is experienced in its full heterogeneity to the frequent detriment of traditional ethical, aesthetic, and scientific considerations. This has direct bearing on performance art, whose history is marked by the deliberate departure from beauty and, concurrently, the constant renegotiation of identity between the extremes of subject and object.

Comment: Best if read together with Sigmund Freud’s “The Uncanny”
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Nida-Rumelin, Martine, , . Grasping phenomenal properties
2006, In Torin Alter & Sven Walter (eds.), Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge: New Essays on Consciousness and Physicalism. Oxford University Press.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Nora Heinzelmann

Abstract: I will present an argument for property dualism. The argument employs a distinction between having a concept of a property and grasping a property via a concept. If you grasp a property P via a concept C, then C is a concept of P. But the reverse does not hold: you may have a concept of a property without grasping that property via any concept. If you grasp a property, then your cognitive relation to that property is more intimate then if you just have some concept or other of that property. To grasp a property is to understand what having that property essentially consists in.

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Tremain, Shelley, , . Reproductive freedom, self-regulation, and the government of impairment in utero
2006, Hypatia 21(1): 35-53.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by:

Abstract: This article critically examines the constitution of impairment in prenatal testing and screening practices and various discourses that surround these technologies. While technologies to test and screen (for impairment) prenatally are claimed to enhance women’s capacity to be self-determining, make informed reproductive choices, and, in effect, wrest control of their bodies from a patriarchal medical establishment, I contend that this emerging relation between pregnant women and reproductive technologies is a new strategy of a form of power that began to emerge in the late eighteenth century. Indeed, my argument is that the constitution of prenatal impairment, by and through these practices and procedures, is a widening form of modern government that increasingly limits the field of possible conduct in response to pregnancy. Hence, the government of impairment in utero is inextricably intertwined with the government of the maternal body.

Comment: Most useful in teaching on ethical issues at the beginning of life. It can be also used in teaching on the ethics of autonomy, freedom of choice, and feminism in general.

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Vasterling, Veronica, , . Heidegger’s hermeneutic account of cognition
2015, Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 14(4): 1145-1163.
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Added by: Andrea Blomqvist, Contributed by:

Abstract: Hermeneutic phenomenology is absent in 4 EAC literature (embedded, embodied, enactive, extended and affective cognition). The aim of this article is to show that hermeneutic phenomenology as elaborated in the work of Heidegger is relevant to 4 EAC research. In the first part of the article I describe the hermeneutic turn Heidegger performs in tandem with his ontological turn of transcendental phenomenology, and the hermeneutic account of cognition resulting from it. I explicate the main thesis of the hermeneutic account, namely that cognition is interaction with the world, followed by a discussion of the modes of cognition distinguished in the hermeneutic account. In the second part of the article I discuss the implications of this account with respect to the status and meaning of first, second and third person perspective of cognition. The article concludes with the draft and discussion of an exploratory model of hermeneutic cognition.

Comment: The text gives a very concise overview and interpretation of Heidegger’s account of hermeneutics, relating it to 4E debates in the philosophy of mind and cognition. It could be interesting as advanced reading in courses in the philosophy of mind, or more introductory reading in hermeneutic phenomenology and the work of Heidegger.

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Worth, Sarah E., , . Fictional spaces
2004, Philosophical Forum 35 (4):439-455.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir

Abstract: Plato claims that representational art is dangerous because of its deceptive nature. He thinks that those who indulge too much in imitation will eventually have problems differentiating between imitation and reality. Aristotle, on the other hand, believes that indulging oneself in imitation (specifically theatrical tragedy) is healthy if the experience produces a catharsis – which would help one function better in real life. There has been a long-standing debate between these two positions on representation, both of them still having different strengths even when applied to contemporary situations. Ancient theories often hold special value when they continue to help us understand current issues, but what would Plato make of an IMAX film? Would Aristotle claim the same kind of catharsis could result from virtual reality, as a tragedy presented on the stage in ancient Greece? In what follows, I will use the theories of Plato and Aristotle as a foundation, and then move on to describe the changing nature of representation in order to explain how different kinds of media can affect our understanding of representation and our responses to it. Plato and Aristotle introduced the difficult moral and epistemological questions that result from the differentiation between reality and mimesis, or representation. Although there are still problems in explaining our real reactions to represented events, one aspect of the problem has changed significantly in the 20thcentury: the media through which the fictions or representations are presented. The changing nature of the media of fictional discourse calls for a reexamination of the theory we employ in understanding these experiences. In order to understand what effect the changing nature of the media has on these experiences, I will explore two other topics that will help clarify both the problems and the solutions. First, the changing concepts of what count as ‘mimetic’ and what count as ‘fictional’ need to be clarified in order that we know the kinds of discourses with which we are dealing. The Greek term mimesis, however, needs to be unpacked into the current terminology to account for the different aspects of representation, narrative, and fiction. Second, I will provide a general explanation of how fiction affects its readers according to current aesthetic theory as compared to ancient theory. Having dealt with these preliminary concerns, I will then argue that the changing nature of the media of representation changes the explanations of our experiences of fiction, which have been accounted for by earlier theory. I will argue further that these responses may in fact be more dependent upon the quality of the narrative structure of the fiction than the mode or media through which it is presented.

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