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Feminist philosophy refers to philosophy approached from a feminist perspective. Feminist philosophy involves both attempts to use the methods of philosophy to further the cause of the feminist movements, and attempts to criticise or re-evaluate the ideas of traditional philosophy from within a feminist framework.
There is no one school of feminist philosophy: feminist philosophers, as philosophers, are found in both the analytic and Continental traditions, and the myriad different viewpoints taken on philosophical issues within those traditions; and feminist philosophers, as feminists, are found belonging to the many different varieties of feminism.
Feminist epistemologists have challenged traditional ideas of how we know things and of rationality, by arguing that these traditional philosophical ideas are based on male assumptions and perspectives and ignore women's voices. Some feminists have also particularly attacked the aggressive argumentative style of traditional philosophy as being male-focused and patriarchal in nature. However, other feminists[who?] have defended the traditional philosophical method, arguing that the aggressiveness of traditional philosophy can be used to feminist ends. Some feminists[who?] have criticised other feminists[who?] for attacking traditional philosophy as aggressive, on the grounds that aggression is a valid female trait, and that feminists should not seek to repeat traditional sex roles which say women can't be aggressive (much less intellectually so).
Feminist philosophy critics
Critics of feminist philosophy are not generally critics of feminism as a political or cultural movement; only some of the philosophical positions put forth under the title "feminist philosophy".
Writers and thinkers who have criticised aspects of feminist philosophy include:
A phenomenological approach to the question of gender, that treats masculinity and femininity not as pertaining ascriptively to males and females, but as alternative ways, open to both women and men, of human beings presenting themselves as who they are, is taken by the Australian philosopher, Michael Eldred. 'Feminine' being is then thought as an 'interstitial' mode of encounter between you-and-me rather than showing off who one is in self-presentation. This approach is indebted to both the German tradition of dialogical philosophy and to Heidegger's questioning return to Greek ontology in search of as yet latent, alternative historical modes of (human) being apart from the established Western modes of 'substantial' standing presence..
- Gatens, M., Feminism and Philosophy: Perspectives on Difference and Equality (Indiana University Press, 1991)
- Moulton, Janice, 1993, “A Paradigm of Philosophy: The Adversary Method”, Discovering Reality, S. Harding and M. B. Hintikka (eds.), Hingham, MA: D. Reidel, 149–164.
- Eldred, Michael, 2005, 'Barely encountering you'
- Eldred, Michael, 2008, 'Metaphysics of Feminism: A Critical Note on Judith Butler's Gender Trouble'
- Eldred, Michael, 1999, Phänomenologie der Männlichkeit Roell, Dettelbach, 266 pp. ISBN 3-89754-137-8