Friday, March 19, 2010
Why is this Technically Philosophy?
In our class, we are often presented with gross injustices to women, and we find ways to prescribe what we “ought” to do from what actually “is” the status quo. I support any type of progress made, but often times, the realizations that we come to seem intuitive or outlandish to claim otherwise (like in the case of Spelman or McIntosh). Why prompts me to ask: why do these topics need to be classified as philosophical questions? Do these dilemmas not seem more in place with a social science, like psychology or sociology, and by labeling it philosophy, are we detracting from potential engagers in the subject matter? To the first question, nothing strictly philosophical strikes me in most of our readings, but that is not to say the importance is downgraded. It just seems that the feminist movement did not arrive out of the ivory tower of philosophy, so why must it be confined there in the present? The movement was more physically involved than a disembodied discourse floating through textbooks and journals, so it just strikes me as odd that these topics need to be strictly called “philosophical.” Also, by labeling these questions one thing, it seems to reinforce a sort of border-war that exists between academics: insane mutterings that includes things like philosophy and biology should not mix; chemistry and accounting are two different worlds, etc. While the subject matter differs, each subject doesn’t occur in a vacuum, so analysis from another point of view would lend criticism to another field. It would maintain order, yet at the same time allow for the inter-mingling of subjects. These topics we have been grappling with seem more sociological or psychological, but by lending a philosophical analysis, we are able to add meaning to subject that wouldn’t be there otherwise. The criticism that philosophy is able to contribute is valuable for its additive capabilities, and therefore we are apply to apply it to more socially relevant topics, like feminist philosophy (and philosophy of race, social justice, etc.). So while these may not be the traditional targets of philosophical inquiry like the nature of life or theories of knowledge and knowledge acquisition, the feminist focus seems to highlight an edifying effect that philosophy can have, and at the very least should connect to ethical considerations, like what should be considered rights of a person or what is a person, in general.