The Virtue of Feminist Rationality (Bloomsbury Studies in Philosophy)

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9781472533456: The Virtue of Feminist Rationality (Bloomsbury Studies in Philosophy)
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Feminist philosophers have been some of the most vocal critics of reason and rationality. While most feminists realize that rationality is a concept that cannot be entirely abandoned, few have considered how to construct a positive account of rationality.

This book represents a sustained argument for a feminist theory of rationality. It opens by asking the question: is reason inherently masculine? Deborah K. Heikes goes on to answer this question negatively and to examine what feminists actually want from a theory of rationality, specifying what a virtue theory of rationality is and how it works. She identifies those features that feminists believe are central to reason, identifying four dichotomies that are central to feminist thinking (mind/body, reason/emotion, identity/difference, objectivity/subjectivity), and argues that they can be captured by conceiving of rationality as a virtue concept. She further demonstrates how a specifically feminist theory of rationality can provide objective grounds for feminists' moral, political and epistemic agendas.

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'This is a rich and rewarding book which provides aninnovative feminist account of reason as a substantive and normative notion.Its argument proceeds within the framework of virtue theory and exploits productivelysome of the dichotomies surrounding the concepts of reason and rationality. Itis a must read for anybody interested in feminism or rationality.' -- Alessandra Tanesini, Professor in Philosophy at Cardiff University, UK The Virtue of Feminist Rationality is an essay on the virtue of reason that takes seriously feminist and post-colonial critiques of Enlightenment rationality,while preserving those elements that are essential to human wisdom in the broadest sense of the term. The book eruditely weaves together historical and contemporary sources on reason and rationality, covering canonical themes and oppositional criticisms, to construct a virtue theory of rationality that denies the dichotomies that historically placed women in subordinate positions.Yet, Heikes insists that rationality is too precious to be abandoned as sexist or reactionary, particularly for feminists and humanists. Her account of reason is of an embodied practice, integrally connected to emotional as well as perceptual experience, that at its most virtuous seeks to be objective, judicious, and pragmatic, yet does not deny its fallibilism. The result is a rich account of reason that can serve our human philosophical quest for wisdom. -- Ann E. Cudd, Professor of Philosophy at University of Kansas, USA

About the Author:

Deborah K. Heikes is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, USA. She is the author of Rationality and Feminist Philosophy (Continuum, 2010).

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