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Antony, Louise. Different Voices or Perfect Storm: Why are there so few women in philosophy?
2012, Journal of Social Philosophy 43 (3): 227-255
Added by: Tomasz Zyglewicz, Shannon Brick, Michael Greer
Women are significantly underrepresented in philosophy. Although women garner a little more than half of the PhDs awarded in the United States, and about 53 percent of those awarded in the Arts and Humanities, slightly fewer than 30 percent of doctorates in philosophy are awarded to women. And women’s representation in the professoriate falls below that. Why is philosophy so exceptional in this regard? My aim in this paper is not to answer this question but to contrast two different frameworks for addressing it. I call one model “Different Voices” and the other “The Perfect Storm”; I’ll argue that we ought to adopt the secondmodel and that we ought to abandon the first.

Comment (from this Blueprint): Louise Antony distinguishes between two types of explanation of the gender disparity in philosophy: “different voices” and “perfect storm.” The latter – Antony’s preferred model – explains the disparity in terms of the convergence of non-domain specific phenomena: academic philosophy features a unique combination of factors hampering women’s success. The former, in turn, appeals to the different ways in which men and women think. According to Antony, the different voices model is not only empirically unsupported, but also its very pursuit could have negative social consequences. Her paper also features an extensive critique of Buckwalter & Stich’s paper, both from a methodological and from a feminist perspective. As such, it offers important lessons as to how feminist x-phi should be practiced.

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