Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Stuff That Is Currently More Interesting Than Rawls' Reply To Habermas

Italian comedy, perhaps best described as guerilla English lessons, and a whole load of Ryan Adams live tracks. Thanks to those who gave me the links. More seriously, this piece by Sally Haslanger is worth reflecting on (via). A while ago, I linked to a collection of photographs of philosophers, and observed that in sixty photos, there were ten women and two people who aren't white. The gender and race balance of my (part of my) department is not particularly impressive either, both amongst students and faculty, although that does not of itself imply that anyone in particular or even collectively is culpable. That leads me to think that Haslanger is probably right, at least that there is a serious problem and also about the basically commonsensical things she says should be done to deal with it.

2 comments:

Falco said...

From my experiences, (a few years ago now), I would agree that there is a gender imbalance. However when you look at some of Haslanger's criteria:

"Philosophy departments often are hyper-masculine places. They are:

o competitive, combative, (non-nurturing),

o highly judgmental,

o oriented towards individual accomplishment, individual intelligence, agency,

o hostile to femininity."

It seems to me that the first three describe the process of philosophy very well. The last, (and the hyper-masculine tagline), can only be described as "hostile to femininity" if you view the process of doing philosophy to be hostile in and of itself. However, if these traits are very masculine ones it would explain why there are fewer women who exel in this field.

Rob Jubb said...

Falco,

unless you actually have an argument that philosophy must be competitive, combative, highly judgmental, and display what might be called asocial individualism, I'm not sure what your point is. That you have observed philosophy being practised in this way does not in any way imply that it must be done like this.