Explain the distinction Jean Grimshaw makes between misogyny and philosophically significant ‘maleness’ of philosophical theories.

Topics: Philosophy, Ethics, Animal Pages: 3 (993 words) Published: November 9, 2013
1. Explain the distinction Jean Grimshaw makes between misogyny and philosophically significant ‘maleness’ of philosophical theories. Jean Grimshaw argues the idea that the discipline of Philosophy is gendered in some way by making a distinction between misogyny and philosophically significant ‘maleness ‘of philosophical theories. The ‘maleness’ of philosophy is characterised by the fact that most of the practitioners of philosophy have been and are still male. Grimshaw argues that this fact alone does not establish the ‘maleness’ of philosophy but gives a sense of understanding. The second point Grimshaw argues is the way in which male philosophers devalue women and how women are believed to be inferior or held in contempt. Grimshaw notes how the views of male philosophers about women are misogynistic, using a phrase taken from Schopenhauer, ‘women are directly fitted for acting as the nurses and teachers of out early childhood by the fact that they themselves are childish, frivolous and short-sighted in a word they are big children all their life long.’ Grimshaw uses this phrase to represent the patronising views male philosophers have towards women. Another example of this is when Aristotle’s misogynistic persona compares women to slaves by the functioning of their lives. Aristotle states that the life of a slave is simply a means to an end, by serving their master as a free man, and the woman’s role was similarly functional, in which to produce heirs. However, these examples of misogyny are not in themselves enough to establish the ‘maleness’ of philosophy in any philosophically important sense. Not all views that philosophers hold about anything are necessarily relevant in interpreting or understanding their philosophical theories. 2. What reasons does Peter Singer give for his view that ‘differences between humans and animals’ are irrelevant to considerations of the moral ‘equality for animals’? Peter Singer explores the moral considerations when taking...

References: Jean Grimshaw, ‘The Maleness of Philosophy’, in Philosophy and Feminist Thinking (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1986) pp. 36-52
Mark Sagoff, ‘Animal Liberation and Environmental Ethics: Bad Marriage, Quick Divorce’, in Environmental Philosophy, edited by Michael E. Zimmerman, et al. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1993, pp. 84-94
Peter Singer, ‘Practical Ethics’ (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979) pp. 48-71
R.G. Swinburne, ‘Arguments for the Existence of God’, in Key Themes in Philosophy, edited by A. Phillips Griffiths. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989, pp. 121-133
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