"In the last century, women went from having a complete absence among professional philosophers in the United States to achieving a representation that is now nearing 20 percent.
From being denied entry into many colleges and universities, even as undergraduate students, even up until the 1970s, some of us have now become full professors in graduate departments."
These are the words of Linda Martin Alcoff in the introduction of her book "Singing in the Fire, stories of women in philosophy",, published in 2003 and the only title you find, when you search on 'female philosophers' in the catalog of my public library here.
Linda Martin Alcoff is Professor of Philosophy, Political Science and Women's Studies at Syracuse University.
"There is a deep well of rage inside of me. Rage about how I as an individual have been treated in philosophy; rage about how others I know have been treated; and rage about the conditions that I’m sure affect many women and minorities in philosophy, and have caused many others to leave.
Most of the time I suppress this rage and keep it sealed away. Until I came to MIT in 1998, I was in a constant dialogue with myself about whether to quit philosophy, even give up tenure, to do something else. In spite of my deep love for philosophy, it just didn’t seem worth it.
And I am one of the very lucky ones. One of the ones who has been successful by the dominant standards of the profession. Whatever the numbers say about women and minorities in philosophy, numbers don’t begin to tell the story. Things may be getting better in some contexts, but they are far from acceptable."
These are the words of Sally Haslanger, Professor at the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy Massachusetts Institute of Technology in her article "Changing the Ideology and Culture of Philosophy: Not by Reason (Alone)" which appeared in the “Musings” column, Hypatia, Spring 2008. NOTE THE YEAR!
One final quote from the article: " Women, I believe, want a good working environment with mutual respect. And philosophy, mostly, doesn’t offer that."
The reading of the book of Alcoff is not a pleasure. Twelve US women tell the story of their academic carreers. With the echo of Sally Haslanger's words in your mind you can image what kind of stories these are.
To make one thing clear from the very beginning, exactly this side of Women philosophers is absolutely uninteresting for our philosophy class. I'll try to avoid this issue in our discussions as much as possible: the position of women in our society.
Let me explain. Every human being has a central nervous system and a brain. In that respect all humans are the same. That there exist qualitative differences , is a fact of life, but what I deny is, that these qualititive differences create a different way of dealing with philosophical questions, which can be based on difference of gender.
This is my hypothesis. In other words, the female and male brain treat philosophical problems in the same way and arrive at the same conclusions. However, we can not deny history and the social position of women and its consequences.
There may be an influence. So, at second thought we can ask the question, whether there yet exists a recognizable female voice in philosophy or not? The answer of this question might be one of the results of this project. And if the answer is affirmative, we might try to characterize this difference.
[13:19] You: Because this is a whole new subject for me it requires a lot more research. Therefor I suggest that we will have a class on Tuesday and Thursday only unless you have a better suggestion for a timetable. [13:19] Gemma Cleanslate: ah that sounds good to me [13:19] Gemma Cleanslate: gives you time [13:19] Ze Novikov: lovely [13:20] Ze Novikov: :)) [13:20] Cailleach Shan: Perfect for me Herman [13:20] Samuel Okelly: sounds good to me :) [13:20] itsme Frederix: sunday off, and no replacement homework? [13:20] Gemma Cleanslate: lolol [13:20] You: I hoped so, thank you... [13:20] Gemma Cleanslate: quiet itsme [13:20] Cailleach Shan: lol [13:20] Gemma Cleanslate: yes we could do some research too [13:20] Gemma Cleanslate: if you like [13:20] Qwark Allen: :-) [13:21] You: I calll the project 25+, because my list is already longer than 25 women [13:21] Gemma Cleanslate: lollol [13:21] Qwark Allen: ah [13:21] Qwark Allen: nice [13:21] Gemma Cleanslate: good to hear [13:21] Ze Novikov: :))))))) [13:21] You: I already have 38 [13:21] Qwark Allen: lmao [13:21] Qwark Allen: eheheheh [13:21] Gemma Cleanslate: ah [13:21] Paula Dix: great [13:21] itsme Frederix: makes me curious [13:21] Gemma Cleanslate: things are loooking up! [13:21] You: I must tell you that the research is exciting and rewarding [13:21] Gemma Cleanslate: will you put a list on the blog [13:22] You: Yes Gemma...you will see that the role of women in philosophy isnt to ignore at all [13:22] You: My quotes however were from American authors describing the US situation... [13:22] You: I dont know what the story about Europe would be [13:22] itsme Frederix: but if that is because they are woman should be judged afterward - [13:23] Gemma Cleanslate: is it better in europe?? [13:23] You: Yes Itsme , quite right [13:23] You: Yet we choose them because they are women.... [13:24] You: and the reason for that is simply because we already have seen too many men in philosophy.....98 out of 100 list [13:24] You: As Itsme said..an epistemological approach..I agree with that [13:24] arabella Ella: hiya [13:24] Gemma Cleanslate: :-) [13:24] Cailleach Shan: Hey Ara [13:24] AristotleVon Doobie: hello arabella [13:25] Mickorod Renard: hi ara [13:25] Qwark Allen: hi mick, hi ara [13:25] Cailleach Shan: Will you use a linear method for the women as you did for the blokes Herman? [13:25] arabella Ella accepted your inventory offer. [13:25] You: Yes Cailleach..I want to use the same method.... [13:26] Reaser Pencer: I find the main barrier to any male though tis aggression [13:26] Reaser Pencer: thought [13:26] You: and in respect to the women philosophers it might be more interesting, as we can place them in their historical context which constantly is dominated by male philosophers [13:27] itsme Frederix: aggression domination - [13:27] Reaser Pencer: yes [13:27] Reaser Pencer: an dI am male lol [13:27] You: Well Reaser, what we will NOT do here is discuss the psychological differences between men and women [13:27] AristotleVon Doobie: It will be interewsting to dicover womens influence on men's philosopical thought [13:27] Reaser Pencer: ok [13:27] Cailleach Shan: Yea.... no unnecessary ranting please. [13:28] Reaser Pencer: lol [13:28] You: Dont misunderstand me..... [13:28] itsme Frederix: if thre is such an influence, lates first just listen what they say [13:28] You: it is just a pragmatic reason [13:28] Reaser Pencer: onl;y an observation [13:28] You: the discussion about men and women in all respects is everywhere [13:29] You: feminism, politics, psychology, women studies....name it [13:29] You: what we are here concerned about it pure philosophical issues [13:29] Reaser Pencer: :-) [13:29] Gemma Cleanslate: if you go off track you will be dragged back [13:29] Gemma Cleanslate: lol [13:30] You: and yes.....maybe there might be something named a female approach, tho I not yet agree to that [13:30] Reaser Pencer: oops [13:30] You: Yes Gemma, definitely...^_^ [13:30] Gemma Cleanslate: we have all been through that [13:30] itsme Frederix: all clear and for some ... if there is a female approach thee might be a male approach too .. oke [13:31] You: My question is are women mathematicians different from men mathematicians? [13:31] Elia Scribe: More men mathematicians [13:31] Qwark Allen: yes [13:31] Cailleach Shan: mmmmm never seen a male mathematician in a skirt. [13:31] You: Yes Itsme...what we have seen sofar was philosophy....and we took for granted that they were all men [13:31] Qwark Allen: cause of men brain [13:31] AristotleVon Doobie: fundamentally, empirical data has no gender [13:31] Qwark Allen: more into logic [13:31] itsme Frederix: that is not answer to the question [13:31] arabella Ella: but dont some women imitate men, like thatcher in politics, and some dont ... [13:32] You: You got a point there, Cailleach ^_^ [13:32] Reaser Pencer: when I did a summer school in m,aths , no one thought the same you know [13:32] You: Tho Scotland may have? [13:32] Qwark Allen: i saw one at scotland [13:32] Cailleach Shan: hahahahaha [13:32] arabella Ella: or india or mid east [13:32] Gemma Cleanslate: very true [13:32] Ninjah Valeeva: I think that female and male are the same in their soul [13:32] Cailleach Shan: ok ok I surrender. [13:32] You: lol [13:32] Laila Schuman: in the visual arts... there is a tendency for women to make smaller (in size) artworks in the same medium than men do... [13:33] Elia Scribe: unless gender is a data poiont Ari. [13:33] Mickorod Renard: there was something in science mag the other week about maths not being seen as cool for women in the usa [13:33] itsme Frederix: also the moon is seen different [13:33] arabella Ella: i see the moon very differently to you itsme [13:33] arabella Ella: and math too [13:33] Laila Schuman: their theoretical capabilities are equal tho [13:34] You: I agree Laila [13:34] arabella Ella: brain capabilities [13:34] Ze Novikov: absolutely [13:34] You: Well...brains are fun.... [13:34] itsme Frederix: lets stick to humans [13:34] You: when you start reseach about the difference between male and female brains....really fun what you find... [13:35] Qwark Allen: they are diferent in many ways [13:35] arabella Ella: yes? [13:35] Samuel Okelly: am i right in thinking that we are to assume no qualititive difference regarding gender herman? if so, are we focusing solely on a social commentary or critique? [13:35] You: on the one hand I found an article that said: no significant differences [13:35] AristotleVon Doobie: viva la differance [13:35] Reaser Pencer: are they? [13:35] Qwark Allen: no no!!! there are fisiological diferences at brains, cause of hormones [13:35] arabella Ella: then we should ask ... nature or nurture? [13:35] Reaser Pencer: ok [13:35] You: on the other hand I found an article that said....at least hundred different brainareas fire in female brains than in male brains [13:35] You: BUT.... [13:36] You: and in this respect it is an interesting philosophical issue... [13:36] You: the male or female identity and the neuroscanners [13:36] Qwark Allen: women brain have more speach centers, then men ones [13:36] Qwark Allen: men only have one at left lobule [13:36] You: SO I read too Qwark.... [13:36] Qwark Allen: women several at both lobules [13:36] Reaser Pencer: so why do I not particularly like teh male way of thjinking? [13:37] Gemma Cleanslate: lololl [13:37] You: Well.....listen to this....May answer Reaser's question [13:37] Qwark Allen: because sometimes seems so dumb, cause of false logics [13:37] Reaser Pencer: thanks [13:37] AristotleVon Doobie: surely the moon visualization differences must be questioedn as to whether nature aor nuture [13:37] arabella Ella: pity is some females adopt male way of thinking ... but so much depends on upbringing and education too [13:37] AristotleVon Doobie: Hello Aya [13:37] You: The brain of a man consists of boxes.... [13:37] Qwark Allen: testosterone rules [13:37] Reaser Pencer: lol [13:38] You: when a man discusses a subject..he opens a specific box for it [13:38] Aya Beaumont: Hello people [13:38] Gemma Cleanslate: aya [13:38] Reaser Pencer: hello Aya [13:38] AristotleVon Doobie: It has so far, Qwark, but not forever [13:38] You: after that he closes the box again and puts it back [13:38] Ze Novikov: Aya [13:38] arabella Ella: hiya Aya [13:38] Cailleach Shan: At the end of the class add up the male contributions and the female .... I will take a bet there are more male ones. [13:38] itsme Frederix: lets just take the qualities and join these to make life better [13:38] Qwark Allen: estrogens hormone it`s better for surre then testorone [13:38] Gemma Cleanslate: oh i disagree arabella and you give a lot [13:38] You: The female brain howerever looks like acompletely all over wired knot [13:38] Mickorod Renard: thats nice itsme [13:38] arabella Ella: but Cail ... on SL one has no evidence for gender [13:38] You: everything is connected with everything... [13:38] Gemma Cleanslate: in questions also [13:39] Qwark Allen: yes it is [13:39] Paula Dix: i woudl say there is more difference from a person to another than between genders [13:39] You: so that is the difference why men and women think differently (^_^) [13:39] arabella Ella: ty gemma ... [13:39] Cailleach Shan: lol.... good point Gem. [13:39] Qwark Allen: you think wrong paula [13:39] Paula Dix: why? [13:39] Qwark Allen: because there are big diferences at gender [13:40] Qwark Allen: we got to know them [13:40] Elia Scribe: Seems simplistic Herman. How do you come to the box versus spagetti model? [13:40] Paula Dix: you have men with female thinking and vice versa [13:40] Qwark Allen: fisiologicaly [13:40] Gemma Cleanslate: lololol [13:40] Elia Scribe: physio Qwark [13:40] You: This was the theory of a comedian on YouTube Elia...^_^ [13:40] Cailleach Shan: @ Elia...??? [13:40] itsme Frederix: mmm Quark you might be right but it is not an argument convincing me that Paula thiks wrong [13:40] Paula Dix: yes they are qwark, and they matter, but their weight is much smaller than people try to make it looks like [13:40] Qwark Allen: that is usually hormone mal function [13:40] AristotleVon Doobie: I personally love that there is a difference between men and women [13:41] Mickorod Renard: hormone levels change in both sexes during a lifetime,,and thus so do ways of thought [13:41] Elia Scribe: Well, comedy is philosophy. [13:41] Gemma Cleanslate: ahha ari [13:41] Qwark Allen: i`ve study this theme for 20 years [13:41] Gemma Cleanslate: to the rescue [13:41] Qwark Allen: i can teach you something [13:41] AristotleVon Doobie: How boring thsi w4rold woud be [13:41] Paula Dix: oh no qwark, you think homossexualism is a something to be treated?? [13:41] Cailleach Shan: lol.... more human chaos.. [13:41] Qwark Allen: i`m psychiatric nurse [13:41] itsme Frederix: mmm prof hard time you get [13:42] Qwark Allen: it is proved that is a genetic disorder [13:42] Qwark Allen: now you can think what you want [13:42] Aya Beaumont: Disorder? [13:42] Paula Dix: disorder??? oh no, no way... [13:42] You: OK OK......I guess that wil do...^_^ [13:42] Qwark Allen: yes [13:42] Qwark Allen: disorder [13:42] Cailleach Shan: Herman.... is this first class to get all the gender stuff out of the way? [13:42] AristotleVon Doobie: back to women ? [13:42] Samuel Okelly: disorder? [13:42] Aya Beaumont: Qwark, you REALLY don't have a clue, do you? [13:42] Qwark Allen: it is a disorder [13:42] Paula Dix: i live on a psychiatrist home, she is totally against what youre sying [13:42] Qwark Allen: not a desease [13:42] You: PLZ.....PLZ......Back to PHILOSOPHY!!! [13:43] Gemma Cleanslate: :-) [13:43] Cailleach Shan: PLEASE!!!! LET'S NOT GET PERSONAL. [13:43] Paula Dix: and she is hetero btw :))) [13:43] Qwark Allen: one thing it`s what we believe and accept [13:43] Mickorod Renard: how do hormone levels alter peoples ways of thinking? [13:43] Elia Scribe: I think we're a rift. Look for Herma's island. [13:43] Reaser Pencer: apparently there is a physical difference in the brain [13:43] Aya Beaumont: I prefer the term variant, Qwark. [13:43] You: PLZ.....PLZ......Back to PHILOSOPHY!!! [13:43] Elia Scribe: adrift. [13:43] You: PLZ.....PLZ......Back to PHILOSOPHY!!! [13:43] You: PLZ.....PLZ......Back to PHILOSOPHY!!! [13:43] You: PLZ.....PLZ......Back to PHILOSOPHY!!! [13:43] You: PLZ.....PLZ......Back to PHILOSOPHY!!! [13:43] You shout: PLZ.....PLZ......Back to PHILOSOPHY!!! [13:43] Qwark Allen: eheheh [13:43] You: PLZ.....PLZ......Back to PHILOSOPHY!!! [13:43] Qwark Allen: lolololo [13:43] Reaser Pencer: lol [13:43] You shout: PLZ.....PLZ......Back to PHILOSOPHY!!!PLZ.....PLZ......Back to PHILOSOPHY!!! [13:43] KirShan Andel: lol, what are these ppl saying? [13:43] itsme Frederix: now we did it, he is looping [13:43] KirShan Andel: wtf, get real [13:43] Qwark Allen: you ppl need to study a lil more to understand it [13:43] You: Ok fun time is over... [13:43] Paula Dix shuts up :) [13:43] You: You all made your point in one way or the other..:-) [13:44] Gemma Cleanslate: :-) [13:44] AristotleVon Doobie: this is the establshing of class protocol [13:44] You: We will study our women philosphers in historical order [13:44] Reaser Pencer: seharazade? [13:44] Aya Beaumont: Yaaay! Hildegard of Bingen!!! =) [13:44] itsme Frederix: sapho [13:44] AristotleVon Doobie: Eve? [13:44] Paula Dix: lol [13:44] Laila Schuman: do you feel the environment of a given place at a given time influences philosophers in general [13:44] Mickorod Renard: hysterical order? [13:44] You: so we'll have several themes...history, philosophy and mayby some social/cultural aspects [13:45] arabella Ella: Mick??!!** [13:45] arabella Ella: ouch [13:45] You: I think we are always influenced by our environment [13:45] You: Laila [13:45] AristotleVon Doobie: realy, you chauvism is showing Mick [13:45] Mickorod Renard: thankyou [13:46] You: No Mickrod...this will not be a psycho-analytical approach [13:46] arabella Ella (smiles ... males can be hysterical too at times ...) [13:46] AristotleVon Doobie: indeed ara [13:46] You: stop that...lol [13:46] Cailleach Shan: Can we send out for the beer now? [13:46] Gemma Cleanslate: lolololol [13:46] You: before i get hysterical myself [13:46] Mickorod Renard: ok,,,but I still think hormones are an issue [13:46] Aya Beaumont: They can be histrionic too. =) [13:47] You: Control your hormones Mickorod [13:47] itsme Frederix: isn't there somethin like IM for most of what is said? [13:47] itsme Frederix: and a blocker [13:47] Ze Novikov: ty Caileach!!! [13:47] Elia Scribe: How will you draw the line between psychology and philosophy, Herman? [13:47] Mickorod Renard: I meant in male and female thought paterns [13:47] AristotleVon Doobie: Itsme, the threshing has to be done [13:47] Gemma Cleanslate: maybe you should start with a review of what you mean by epistomologically [13:47] Gemma Cleanslate: so we will all be on the page [13:47] You: With an Occamian razor, Elia [13:48] Elia Scribe: How will you apply it? [13:48] Ze Novikov: lol [13:48] Paula Dix: lol [13:48] Samuel Okelly: :) [13:48] You: Severely [13:48] Ze Novikov: lol [13:48] Ze Novikov: sharply [13:48] Elia Scribe: Uh oh. [13:48] You: Yes Ze, and I'll keep it sharp too [13:48] Samuel Okelly: is it surprising that "a man" introduces an idea of nominalism? [13:48] Laila Schuman: in an african villiage...the men make the decisions... they have a meeting and state the problem [13:49] itsme Frederix: you might hurt yourself [13:49] arabella Ella: but Herman from what you said ... each one of us may have prejudices, including yourself ... no one can be 100 percent objective [13:49] You: we'll see Itsme [13:49] Laila Schuman: then they go home and talk to the women... to get a more social slant on the question... [13:49] Laila Schuman: then return and say... this is what i think... [13:49] You: What question is that Samuel? [13:49] Cailleach Shan: Sounds like our house Laila. [13:50] You: SOunds famliar indeed Laila...^_^ [13:50] Samuel Okelly: occam and reducing things to the esstential element? isnt that a very "male" approach? ;-) [13:50] Laila Schuman: lol they all pretend they did not talk to the women..that is secret [13:50] AristotleVon Doobie: I think that is a prevalent methodology other places too Laila, just not publicizeed [13:50] itsme Frederix: Well Sam we did not hear the woman yet [13:50] You: You are using the prejudice that women use more words, Samuel....^_^ [13:50] AristotleVon Doobie: the influence of women has been great [13:50] Samuel Okelly: :) [13:51] itsme Frederix: of men to Ari, just listen around [13:51] You: Well....I think this is a prommising start for our project [13:51] AristotleVon Doobie: yes [13:51] You: I thank you all for your enthousiastic participation in the discussion [13:52] Paula Dix: cant we say that mostly thru history women had the same prejudices against them as males? [13:52] AristotleVon Doobie: Thank you, Professor [13:52] Cailleach Shan: lol you had better bring a cane with you next week Herman.... to keep us in order. [13:52] Gemma Cleanslate: yes [13:52] AristotleVon Doobie: I think not, Paula [13:52] Ninjah Valeeva: Thank you Professor [13:53] You: I will Cailleach.....I alread y have effective planns to control the situation ^_^ [13:53] Ninjah Valeeva: Aurevoir tout le monde ! [13:53] Elia Scribe: Where women are concerned, sometimes order succumbs to creativity. [13:53] Mickorod Renard: thanks Professor [13:53] You: Au revoir Ninjah [13:53] Qwark Allen: ty herman!! was the first of very interesting classes for sure [13:53] Gemma Cleanslate: lolol [13:53] Samuel Okelly: a la prochaine nin [13:53] arabella Ella: thank you herman and apologies for arriving late ... [13:53] DaisyDee Dumpling: ty all....I hope I know a little more next week [13:53] Hello: Qwark Allen donated L$50. Thank you very much for supporting us, it is much appreciated! [13:53] Paula Dix: why not? we´re they waiting for men to freed them? was it and educational thing? [13:53] You: It's ok Arabella..did you get the note? [13:53] Gemma Cleanslate: when will we see the list herman [13:54] arabella Ella: yes ty herman [13:54] You: Oh I forgot to tell [13:54] Samuel Okelly: thanks herman :) tc every1 :) [13:54] You: The list is already published on the blog!!!!! [13:54] DaisyDee Dumpling: bye Samuel [13:54] Gemma Cleanslate: ah [13:54] Qwark Allen: cya [13:54] AristotleVon Doobie: I may have misunderstood your question Paula [13:54] Ze Novikov: bb Samuel [13:54] You: yw Samuel..:-) bye [13:54] Gemma Cleanslate: i look this morning [13:54] Gemma Cleanslate: and did not see it [13:54] Gemma Cleanslate: will look again [13:54] You: no....I posted it an hour ago..just before class [13:54] Gemma Cleanslate: cailleach lol [13:54] DaisyDee Dumpling: Thank you Herman, will see you next week [13:55] Paula Dix: i mean, i think mostly women had some 50% on how societies were organized [13:55] Cailleach Shan: Thanks herman.... I just took a leap.... [13:55] Cailleach Shan: Bye everyone.. [13:55] Paula Dix: bye [13:55] Gemma Cleanslate: bye [13:55] Mickorod Renard: bye cail [13:55] itsme Frederix: still the last entry is 101 [13:55] arabella Ella: bye cail [13:55] You: Bye Caileach [13:55] You: The list is on the profile page [13:55] Laila Schuman: off to real life... see you all... waves [13:56] itsme Frederix: ok [13:56] You: bye Laila [13:56] Paula Dix: bye [13:56] Qwark Allen: bye laila [13:56] Mickorod Renard: bye laila