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Pohlhaus, Gaile. Different Voices, Perfect Storms, and Asking Grandma What She Thinks
2015, Feminist Philosophy Quarterly 1 (1): 1-24
Added by: Tomasz Zyglewicz, Shannon Brick, Michael Greer
At first glance it might appear that experimental philosophers and feminist philosophers would make good allies. Nonetheless, experimental philosophy has received criticism from feminist fronts, both for its methodology and for some of its guiding assumptions. Adding to this critical literature, I raise questions concerning the ways in which “differences” in intuitions are employed in experimental philosophy. Specifically, I distinguish between two ways in which differences in intuitions might play a role in philosophical practice, one which puts an end to philosophical conversation and the other which provides impetus for beginning one. Insofar as experimental philosophers are engaged in deploying “differences” in intuitions in the former rather than the latter sense, I argue that their approach is antithetical to feminist projects. Moreover, this is even the case when experimental philosophers deploy “differences” in intuitions along lines of gender.

Comment (from this Blueprint): Pohlhaus begins by presenting her argument as a critical response to both Buckwalter and Stich's controversial article, and Antony's (2012) reply to it. What follows is an argument about the way x-phi practicioners have failed to fully incorporate feminist insights about the significance of intuition difference. For Pohlhaus, a discovery that some one or some groups has a different intuitive response to one's own is the jumping off point for a potentially transformative conversation, rather than a result that either puts to rest a philosophical concept, or needs to be explained away.

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