I am known around these parts to snark about the culture and climate in the world of academic philosophy, but I try to keep it in check, generally.
But recently, I saw something on the Feminist Philosophers blog that made me roll my eyes so hard that I can’t help but snark out loud today. November 17th was World Philosophy Day (woot!). To celebrate, The Philosopher’s Eye, the blog of the online philosophy journal The Philosopher’s Compass, decided to take the opportunity to ask about the future of the discipline:
Today is World Philosophy Day, people. This is the day when we come together all over the globe (possibly) to honour our august and noble discipline, and are encouraged to entertain new and unfamiliar ideas.
To celebrate, the Philosopher’s Eye is pleased to announce that we will be bringing you five cutting-edge opinion pieces written by highly distinguished philosophers. Each short piece will explore the theme: ‘The Future of Philosophy’, and will be posted as follows:
This was followed by articles from five guys. In the comments (and as a direct result from the post on Feminist Philosophers) is a discussion wherein the managing editor of the blog justifies his approach. He writes, ” I’d like to assure all of our readers that it is in no sense the position of The Editor’s Cut event (or Wiley Blackwell, or The Philosopher’s Eye) that the future of philosophy is somehow an all-male affair… several female philosophers were invited to participate, but none accepted.”
He goes on to graciously deal with the criticism from the feminist philosophers and ask for helpful resources to help prevent such incidents in the future (which the feminists provide, as we are wont to do).
Now, here’s where I get fundamentally annoyed. I would think that people who make a life out of thinking hard about difficult things could wrap their big brains around one fairly simple idea: it might be a function of un-interrogated privilege that allows you to say, in your defense, that women were asked to participate, but alas, did not. It might also be a function of said privilege that allows you to then wash your hands of something that you didn’t really think was a priority to begin with. It might be a function of the same privilege that lets you carry on as though all is really just fine, without even noting that you think it unfortunate that there aren’t any women on your list (and one person of color, as best as I can tell).
This is symptomatic and commonplace, unfortunately. So, I thought I’d do a little feminist philosophy crowd-sourcing here. Who do YOU think represent the future of philosophy? Here are my thoughts, share yours in the comments.
1. UNESCO’s Third Assembly of the International Network of Women Philosophers. Check out the current issue here. This year (on World Philosophy Day, no less) they hosted an incredible session called, “Arab Spring, Sustainable Spring” in which women philosophers from the Arab world and those from other parts of the world discussed the emergent trends in the Middle East. You can find the agenda here.
2. Toward a Political Philosophy of Race by Falguni Sheth. Seriously, I can’t tell you how much I wish I had this when I was in grad school.
3. Visible Identities: Race, Gender, and the Self by Linda Martin-Alcoff. Changed the way I think about identity politics.
Ok, I’ll stop! Your turn, y’all.