Feminism in Philosophy

Authored by: Andrea Nye

The Routledge Companion to Twentieth Century Philosophy

Print publication date:  March  2008
Online publication date:  October  2008

Print ISBN: 9780415299367
eBook ISBN: 9780203879368
Adobe ISBN: 9781134424030


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The lack of references to feminist philosophy or feminist philosophers in other articles in the present volume (apart from a section on feminist epistemology in Matthias Steup’s “Epistemology in the twentieth century,” Chapter 11, and a section of feminism in Matt Matravers’s “Twentieth-century political philosophy,” Chapter 21) might be taken as indicating that feminism played little or no role in twentieth-century philosophy. Certainly this might have seemed true at mid-century when a standard reference work, the Macmillan Encyclopedia of Philosophy, was published with no entry under feminist philosophy and virtually no reference to feminism throughout its many volumes. Although feminists were challenging methods and findings in many fields of knowledge, philosophy might seem to be exempt. Philosophers had worked hard to eliminate the last vestiges of unscientific idealism from philosophy. They reinvented a discipline free from the taint of theology or politics. They developed methods of logical, linguistic, and phenomenological analysis that transcended personal and group interests, or so it seemed. Institutional barriers to women’s participation had been removed, as proven by the success of notable woman philosophers such as Elisabeth Anscombe (1919–2001) and Philippa Foot (1920–). If women did not enter into the field, it might be assumed to be a result of choice and ability, not sexual discrimination.

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