Feminism in Metaphysics

Sally Haslanger

in Resisting Reality

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199892631
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199980055 | DOI:
Feminism in Metaphysics

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Is there a place within feminist inquiry for metaphysics? If we take an aporematic approach to metaphysics, then what questions we ask, and what puzzles arise, is going to depend on cultural and historical context, broader theoretical needs, etc. Where sexist and racist views are widely held and institutionalized, we need theories that diagnose, explain, and replace sexist and racist beliefs. These theories need not privilege a special female or feminine perspective; rather, they are feminist insofar as they engage the realities of women's oppression with the goal of ending it. Metaphysics is relevant in two ways: feminist theories may have implications for metaphysics; and feminist insights into the cultural/historical context may diffuse or replace the metaphysical puzzles. The chapter considers a set of feminist arguments concerning the social construction of the body, and argue that if social construction is plausible, it is compatible with a “thin” metaphysical realism.

Keywords: metaphysics; feminism; Judith Butler; nature; social construction; gynocentrism; realism

Chapter.  8784 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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