Re‐Imagining the Philosophical Conversation

In Russell Blackford & Damien Broderick (eds.), Philosophy's Future. Wiley. pp. 201–211 (2017-04-27)
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Abstract

From its inception, philosophy has represented itself as a dialogue, or conversation, among those who are lovers of wisdom. It has also been largely a conversation among men. Diotima, the absent female presence, who teaches Socrates about love and philosophy, consigns the lovers of women to bodily reproduction, and associates men with the polis and invention of law. But the polis is composed of both women and men, and a truly progressive philosophy would be a conversation between them. Since at least the fifteenth century, women in Europe have dreamed of a philosophy that would be a conversation that included them. This chapter looks back at the history of women's attempts to refashion philosophy as a dialogue between the sexes, and their dreams for the progress of the polis. Contemporary academic philosophy largely excludes these attempts from the history of philosophy, and distorts and represses an important aspect of the reality of our philosophic past. This chapter argues that the progress in civilization that has taken place in Europe cannot be disentangled from the contributions already made by women to our shared political assumptions. Progress in moral and political philosophy, if it is possible, will involve retrieving, extending, and deepening that contribution, so that the polis, along with the philosophy that sustains it, becomes fully conscious of itself as the outcome of a negotiation between humans who are embodied and sexually diverse.

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Karen Green
University of Melbourne

Citations of this work

Viewpoint Convergence as a Philosophical Defect.Grace Helton - forthcoming - In Sanford C. Goldberg & Mark Walker (eds.), Attitude in Philosophy. Oxford University Press.

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