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Astell, Mary, , . A Serious Proposal to the Ladies: Parts I and II
2002, Broadview Press
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Added by: Francesca Bruno, Contributed by:

Publisher’s Note: Mary Astell’s A Serious Proposal to the Ladies is one of the most important and neglected works advocating the establishment of women’s academies. Its reception was so controversial that Astell responded with a lengthy sequel, also in this volume. The cause of great notoriety, Astell’s Proposal was imitated by Defoe in his “An Academy for Women,” parodied in the Tatler, satirized on the stage, plagiarized by Bishop Berkeley, and later mocked by Gilbert and Sullivan in Princess Ida.

Comment: This new edition by Patricia Springborg of Mary Astell’s A Serious Proposal to the Ladies: Parts I and II includes helpful introductory material and explanatory annotations to Astell’s text. Springborg’s introduction places Astell’s work in the context of the woman question and the debate over empirical rationalism in the eighteenth-century. This is a good text to use in an early modern course.

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Bortolotti, Lisa, , Daniela Cutas. Reproductive and Parental Autonomy: An Argument for Compulsory Education
2009, Reproductive Biomedicine Online, 19 (Ethics Supplement): 5-14.
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Added by: Rochelle DuFord, Contributed by:

Abstract: In this paper we argue that society should make available reliable information about parenting to everybody from an early age. The reason why parental education is important (when offered in a comprehensive and systematic way) is that it can help young people understand better the responsibilities associated with reproduction, and the skills required for parenting. This would allow them to make more informed life-choices about reproduction and parenting, and exercise their autonomy with respect to these choices. We do not believe that parental education would constitute a limitation of individual freedom. Rather, the acquisition of relevant information about reproduction and parenting and the acquisition of self-knowledge with respect to reproductive and parenting choices can help give shape to individual life plans. We make a case for compulsory parental education on the basis of the need to respect and enhance individual reproductive and parental autonomy within a culture that presents contradictory attitudes towards reproduction and where decisions about whether to become a parent are subject to significant pressure and scrutiny.

Comment: This text provides a clear overview of debates about reproductive autonomy and compulsory education. It also contains responses to well known criticisms of compulsory parental education. It would be best used in a course dealing with issues of parenthood and procreation, reproduction, or autonomy in a medical context.

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Crane, Susan A., , . Choosing Not to Look: Representation, Repatriation, and Holocaust Atrocity Photography
2008, History and Theory 47: 309-30.
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Added by: Erich Hatala Matthes, Contributed by:

Summary: In this article, Crane, a historian, questions whether Holocaust atrocity photographs should be displayed, arguing that displaying them is not the best means of historical education about the horrors of the Holocaust, as some defenders argue. Her discussion includes reflections on the nature of photography, spectacle, how we look at images, and pedagogy surrounding historical injustices.

Comment: This text offers an opportunity to discuss the display of “negative heritage,” and so offers a different angle than many of the articles on heritage which focus on appropriative display of more traditionally conceived heritage objects. The article also raises issues which can inspire discussion on moral criticism of art.

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Darby, Derrick, , . Adequacy, Inequality, and Cash for Grades
2011, Theory and Research in Eduation 9 (3): 209-232.
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Added by: Rochelle DuFord, Contributed by:

Abstract: Some political philosophers have recently argued that providing K-12 students with an adequate education suffices for social justice in education provided that the threshold of educational adequacy is properly understood. Others have argued that adequacy is insufficient for social justice. In this article I side with the latter group. I extend this debate to racial inequality in education by considering the controversial practice of paying students cash for grades to close the racial achievement gap. I then argue that framing the demand for racial justice in education solely in terms of educational adequacy leaves us unable to take issue with the cash for grades policy as a matter of principle. While this does not entail that educational adequacy is unimportant, it adds to the general case for why adequacy does not suffice for social justice.

Comment: This text is a good rejoinder to Anderson and Satz’s arguments concerning the shift from a focus on providing an equal education to an adequate education. Though it could be read in absence of those texts, it requires a familiarity with the idea of sufficientarianism – and so should probably be read after Anderson’s “Fair Opportunity in Education: A Democratic Equality Perspective.” It would have a place in a course concerning egalitarianism in education, racial justice, or education and democracy.

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Detlefsen, Karen, , . Custom Freedom and Equality: Mary Astell on marriage and women’s education
2016, In Penny Weiss & Alice Sowaal (eds.), Feminist Interpretations of Mary Astell. Pennsylvania State University Press, 74-92.
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Abstract: Whatever may be said about contemporary feminists’ evaluation of Descartes’ role in the history of feminism, Mary Astell herself believed that Descartes’ philosophy held tremendous promise for women. His urging all people to eschew the tyranny of custom and authority in order to uncover the knowledge that could be found in each one of our unsexed souls potentially offered women a great deal of intellectual and personal freedom and power. Certainly Astell often read Descartes in this way, and Astell herself has been interpreted as a feminist – indeed, as the first English feminist. But a close look at Astell’s and Descartes’ theories of reason, and the role of authority in knowledge formation as well as in their philosophies of education, show that there are subtle yet crucial divergences in their thought – divergences which force us to temper our evaluation of Astell as a feminist. My first task is to evaluate Astell’s views on custom and authority in knowledge formation and education by comparing her ideas with those of Descartes. While it is true that Astell seems to share Descartes’ wariness of custom and authority, a careful reading of her work shows that the wariness extends only as far as the tyranny of custom over individual intellectual development. It does not extend to a wariness about social and institutional customs and authority (including, perhaps most crucially, the institution of marriage as we see in her Reflection on Marriage). The reason for this is that Astell’s driving goal is to help women to come to know God’s plan for women – both in their roles as human and in their roles as women. According to Astell, while it is true that, as individuals, women must develop their rational capacities to the fullest in order to honor God and his plan for women as human, as members of social institutions, including the institution of marriage, women must subordinate themselves to men, including their husbands, in this case so as to honor God and his plan for women as women. Once we understand the theological underpinnings of her equivocal reaction to authority and custom, we can see that Astell may be considered a feminist in a very tempered way. My second task is to use these initial conclusions to re-read her proposal for single-sexed education that we find in A Serious Proposal to the Ladies. It is true that Astell encourages women to join single-sexed educational institutions for the unique and empowering friendships that women can develop in such institutions. Still, my argument continues, the development of such friendships is not entirely an end in itself. Rather, Astell encourages women to develop such friendships such that they can re-enter the broader world armed with the tools that will help them endure burdensome features of the lives that await them in the world, including their lives as subordinated wives – burdens that Astell does not, in principle, challenge.

Comment: This is a useful paper for understanding how an early modern woman (Astell) understood the implications of Descartes’ work for women, on the subject of marriage. It would be very useful in undergraduate courses that explore the social implications of early modern philosophy, as well as more advanced courses on early modern philosophy more generally.

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Dissanayake, Ellen, , . Becoming Homo Aestheticus: Sources of Aesthetic Imagination in Mother-Infant Interactions
2001, Substance 30 (1/2):85.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir

Introduction: Along with the vital abilities to cry and to suckle, human neonates are born with remarkable capacities that predispose them for social interaction with others. For example, newborns prefer human faces and human voices to any other sight or sound (Johnson et al. 1991, 11). They can imitate face, mouth, and hand movements and respond appropriately to another person’s emotional expressions of sadness, fear, and surprise. It is perhaps less well known that at birth, infants can also estimate and anticipate intervals of time and temporal sequences (DeCasper and Carstens 1980). They can remember these temporal patterns and categorize them in both time and space, and in terms of affect and arousal (Beebe, Lachman and Jaffe 1997). By six weeks of age, these innate perceptual and cognitive abilities permit normal infants to engage in complex communicative interchanges with adult partners–the playful behavior that is commonly or colloquially called “babytalk.”

Comment: [This is a stub entry. Please add your comments to help us expand it]

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Gutmann, Amy, , . Democratic Education
1999, Princeton University Press.
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Added by: Carl Fox, Contributed by:

Publisher’s Note: Who should have the authority to shape the education of citizens in a democracy? This is the central question posed by Amy Gutmann in the first book-length study of the democratic theory of education. The author tackles a wide range of issues, from the democratic case against book banning to the role of teachers’ unions in education, as well as the vexed questions of public support for private schools and affirmative action in college admissions.

Comment: Comprehensive and insightful treatment of the subject of education in a democracy. Could provide a main text for a specialised lecture or seminar, or solid further reading on a more general module for anyone particularly interested in civic education.

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Hutchison, Katrina, , Fiona Jenkins (eds.). Women in Philosophy: What Needs to Change?
2013, Oxford University Press USA.
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Added by: Sara Peppe, Contributed by:

Publisher’s Note: Despite its place in the humanities, the career prospects and numbers of women in philosophy much more closely resemble those found in the sciences and engineering. This book collects a series of critical essays by female philosophers pursuing the question of why philosophy continues to be inhospitable to women and what can be done to change it. By examining the social and institutional conditions of contemporary academic philosophy in the Anglophone world as well as its methods, culture, and characteristic commitments, the volume provides a case study in interpretation of one academic discipline in which women’s progress seems to have stalled since initial gains made in the 1980s. Some contributors make use of concepts developed in other contexts to explain women’s under-representation, including the effects of unconscious biases, stereotype threat, and micro-inequities. Other chapters draw on the resources of feminist philosophy to challenge everyday understandings of time, communication, authority and merit, as these shape effective but often unrecognized forms of discrimination and exclusion. Often it is assumed that women need to change to fit existing institutions. This book instead offers concrete reflections on the way in which philosophy needs to change, in order to accommodate and benefit from the important contribution women’s full participation makes to the discipline.

Comment: This book offers a detailed analysis about how women’s role in philosophy is perceived and all the viable ways to chage the status quo. This can be used for undergraduate women studies courses or feminist philosophy courses.

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Schouten, Gina, , . Fair Educational Opportunity and the Distribution of Natural Ability: Toward a Prioritarian Principle of Educational Justice
2012, Journal of Philosophy of Education 46 (3):472-491.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Harry Brighouse

Abstract: In this article, I develop and defend a prioritarian principle of justice for the distribution of educational resources. I argue that this principle should be conceptualized as directing educators to confer a general benefit, where that benefit need not be mediated by improved academic outcomes. I go on to argue that it should employ a metric of all-things-considered flourishing over the course of the student’s lifetime. Finally, I discuss the relationship between my proposed prioritarian principle and the meritocratic principle that it is presumed to supplement

Comment: Excellent piece on justice in education — criticizes the general approach which conceives of justice just in terms of equality of opportunity, and supplements that approach with an argument that prioritizes all things considered benefit to the least advantaged

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Sterwart, Georgina, , . Kaupapa Māori, Philosophy and Schools
2014, In: Educational Philosophy and Theory Volume 46, Issue 11: Special Issue: Philosophy in Schools. pp 1-6
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Added by: Barbara Cohn, Contributed by: Georgina Stewart

Abstract: Goals for adding philosophy to the school curriculum centre on the perceived need to improve the general quality of critical thinking found in society. School philosophy also provides a means for asking questions of value and purpose about curriculum content across and between subjects, and, furthermore, it affirms the capability of children to think philosophically. Two main routes suggested are the introduction of philosophy as a subject, and processes of facilitating philosophical discussions as a way of establishing classroom ‘communities of inquiry’. This article analyses the place of philosophy in the school curriculum, drawing on three relevant examples of school curriculum reform: social studies, philosophy of science and Kura Kaupapa Māori.

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Tanesini, Alessandra, , . “Calm down, dear”: intellectual arrogance, silencing and ignorance
2016, Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 90(1): 71-92.
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Added by: Rie Izuka, Contributed by:

Abstract: In this paper I provide an account of two forms of intellectual arrogance which cause the epistemic practices of conversational turn-taking and assertion to malfunction. I detail some of the ethical and epistemic harms generated by intellectual arrogance, and explain its role in fostering the intellectual vices of timidity and servility in other agents. Finally, I show that arrogance produces ignorance by silencing others (both preventing them from speaking and causing their assertions to misfire) and by fostering self-delusion in the arrogant themselves.

Comment: This article examines intellectual vices of arrogance, and its counterpart: servility. The author explains how the former vice develops the latter: culpably breaking of the norms of turn-taking of conversation locutionarily silences other conversants, and such disrespectful behavior would lead conversants to fall into a vice of intellectual servility.

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Tanesini, Alessandra, , . “Calm down, dear”: intellectual arrogance, silencing and ignorance
2016, Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 90(1): 71-92.
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Added by: Rie Izuka, Contributed by:

Abstract: In this paper I provide an account of two forms of intellectual arrogance which cause the epistemic practices of conversational turn-taking and assertion to malfunction. I detail some of the ethical and epistemic harms generated by intellectual arrogance, and explain its role in fostering the intellectual vices of timidity and servility in other agents. Finally, I show that arrogance produces ignorance by silencing others (both preventing them from speaking and causing their assertions to misfire) and by fostering self-delusion in the arrogant themselves.

Comment: This article examines intellectual vices of arrogance, and its counterpart: servility. The author explains how the former vice develops the latter: culpably breaking of the norms of turn-taking of conversation locutionarily silences other conversants, and such disrespectful behavior would lead conversants to fall into a vice of intellectual servility. This paper works well in teaching individual vice to undergrads, it does not require any prior knowledge of virtue epistemology, hence, perfect for introductory course of virtue epistemology.

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Tanesini, Alessandra, , . Teaching Virtue: Changing Attitudes
2016, Logos and Episteme 7(4): 503-527.
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Added by: Rie Izuka, Contributed by:

Abstract: In this paper I offer an original account of intellectual modesty and some of its surrounding vices: intellectual haughtiness, arrogance, servility and self-abasement. I argue that these vices are attitudes as social psychologists understand the notion. I also draw some of the educational implications of the account. In particular, I urge caution about the efficacy of direct instruction about virtue and of stimulating emulation through exposure to positive exemplars.

Comment: This article examines the intellectual vice of arrogance, and also touches upon the issue of how to teach virtues. The author is urging caution about the efficacy of exemplarism: a popular view on the education for virtues, and instead offers an alternative method of teaching virtues: self-affirmation.

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