Philosophy from the Female Perspective

Topics: Philosophy, Ethics, Gender Pages: 6 (2200 words) Published: December 8, 2005
Virginia Held is a modern day philosopher with theories on the feminist view in philosophy. All of the major philosophers have always written from the male perspective. As far back as the Bible, most major writings have always been geared towards men. They were considered the predominant species from the creation of Eve from Adam's rib. Many philosophers have described worlds that were based upon men, war, and reason. These theories were based on the experience of man. Women were too emotional and simple to understand the complexity of the world. Philosophers have always focused on man's influence and role in the world. These philosophers have downplayed or ignored the role of women in history. This paper will discuss the gender biased opinions of other philosophers as well as the importance of women in life. Virginia Held states that the history of philosophy has always been in favor of man. All theories have been based upon the male point of view. Philosophers' theories have been based on "assumptions and concepts that are by no means gender neutral". (Morality and Moral Controversies, pg. 89) Held's paper discusses the biased point of views displayed by many prominent philosophers. She has maintained that with the appearance of feminism and feminist ethics, major changes will have to be made in philosophy and theories. It is a fact that men and women have a different view on all things. This can be attributed to the fact that man and woman have different beliefs on what is important. This is not because women are unreasonable, but because of emotion. While women will try to do what is right, their theories of right and wrong are based upon the feelings that they have for the individual. A perfect example of this would be someone close to us was sick and needed medicine.

The family is poor and cannot afford to pay for it. Should it be stolen? In the typical male, as described by philosophers, the medicine would not be stolen. Immanuel Kant's theory is that unless it is your own life at risk, man need not be bothered. From a woman's perspective, if the person is someone they cared about, they would steal the medicine. The difference in the philosophical approach between men and women is the effect of caring. While men are not entirely without emotion, women use emotion to shape their ethics and philosophies. According to most philosophers, man is supposed to live life without emotion. Thomas Hobbes believed that men existed in a state of war. Their reason for being was to fight and kill one another. In his views there was no need for women. Under Hobbes' theory, man was simply sprung from the earth with no mother to nurture. They were able to raise themselves and mature without contact with each other. Christine DiStefano has pointed out all of the problems with this point of view. She states that Thomas Hobbes was misleading in the role of man and woman in reproduction. According to Hobbes' theory, the world is inhabited by "a body politic of orphans" (Morality and Moral Controversies, pg. 92) who are independent and raised themselves. Christine DiStefano states that under Hobbes' theory, the role of the female in the development of human social interactions has been completely removed. Each being, all male, has had no instruction from any adult, male or female. Immanuel Kant recognized the effects of emotion on the human body. He acknowledged that humans were in fact at the mercy of feelings and emotion. Kant's theory was that morality was based upon rational thought. Kant also believed that

women were incapable of completely rational thoughts and therefore they were lacking in morals. Women were immoral creatures that needed a man's guidance to prevent them from succumbing to their natural desires. All philosophers that have discussed the female perspective in their theories have always believed that a man was responsible for their safekeeping. During medieval times,...
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