Are utopian visions viable in the 21st century? Utopia has been equated, for many, with totalitarianism. Such visions are not acceptable. The loss of utopian visions altogether is also unacceptable. This book argues that American Pragmatism and Feminist theory can combine to provide a process model of utopia that pushes to build a flexible future that helps us deal with change, conflict, and diversity without resorting to fixed ends.
What does American pragmatism contribute to contemporary debates about human-animal relationships? Does it acknowledge our connections to all living things? Does it bring us closer to an ethical treatment of all animals?
This accessible work of scholarship brings a pragmatist ecofeminist perspective to discussions around animal rights, animal welfare, and animal ethics. Rather than seek absolute moral stands regarding human and animal relationships, and rather than trying to end such relationships altogether, the books urges us to make existing relations better.
Feminism and Farming: A Response to Paul Thompson’s the Agrarian Vision Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-6 DOI 10.1007/s10806-011-9328-0 Authors Erin McKenna, Department of Philosophy, Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, WA, USA Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863.
Introduction -- Defining pluralism : Simon Pokagon, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, and Thomas fortune -- Evolution and American Indian philosophy -- Feminist resistance : Anna Julia Cooper, Jane Addams, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman -- Labor, empire and the social gospel : Washington Gladden, Walter Rauschenbusch, and Jane Addams -- A new name for an old way of thinking : William James -- Making ideas clear : Charles Sanders Peirce -- The beloved community and its discontents : Josiah Royce and the realists (...) -- War, anarchism, and sex : Emma Goldman and Margaret Sanger -- Democracy and social ethics : John Dewey -- Naturalism and idealism, fear, and conventionality : Mary Whiton Calkins and Elsie Clews Parsons -- Race riots and the color line : W. E. B. du Bois -- Philosophy reacts : Hartley Burr Alexander and Morris R. Cohen -- Creative experience : Mary Parker Follett -- Cultural pluralism : Horace Kallen and Alain Locke -- War and the rise of logical positivism : Otto Neurath and Rudolf Carnap -- Mccarthyism and American empiricism : Jacob Loewenberg, Henry Sheffer, C. I. Lewis, and Charles Morris -- The linguistic turn : Gustav Bergmann, May Brodbeck, and W. V. O. Quine -- Resisting the turn : Donald Davidson, Wilfrid Sellars, and the pluralist rebellion -- Philosophy outside : John Muir, Aldo Leopold, Joseph Wood Krutch, and Rachel Carson -- Economics and technology : Lewis Mumford, C. Wright Mills and John Kenneth Galbraith -- Politics : John Rawls, Robert Nozick, Michael Sandel, Martha Nussbaum, and Noam Chomsky -- Civil rights : Martin Luther King, Jr., Richard Wright and James Baldwin -- Black power : Malcolm X, James Cone, Audre Lorde, Bell Hooks, Angela Davis, and Cornel West -- Latin American American philosophy -- Red power, indigenous philosophy : Vine Deloria, Jr. and contemporary American Indian thought -- Feminism -- Engaged philosophy and the environment -- American philosophy today -- Recovering and sustaining the American tradition -- American philosophy revitalized -- The spirit of American philosophy in the new century. (shrink)
it is a bit daunting to be standing here today. I attended my first Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy meeting in 1992 and immediately felt at home. However, I also wondered why there weren’t more women and more feminist papers. Little did I know that my dissertation director and mentor, Charlene Haddock Seigfried, was already in the process of starting a revolution. American philosophy generally, and pragmatism in particular, seemed to me perfectly suited for taking up issues of (...) sexism, racism, classism, homophobia, and intolerance generally. The value of pluralism was more evident even at my first SAAP meeting than at any meeting of the American Philosophical Association. I had found... (shrink)
Dr. Fouts began his lecture with the story of how he and his wife Deborah became involved with Washoe—the first non-human to acquire the signs of American Sign Language (ASL). Project Washoe began in 1966 with Drs. Allen and Beatrix Gardner in Reno, Nevada. There had been other experiments that attempted to get chimpanzees to speak. These experiments were not successful due to anatomical and neurological differences between humans and chimpanzees. (Fouts showed some video of the chimpanzee Vicki trying to (...) say the four words she had learned—mama, papa, up, cup.) Part of the issue is the construction of the chimpanzee’s vocal box while another part of the issue is that chimpanzee vocalizations are tied to their .. (shrink)
A contemporary appraisal of the breadth, significance, and legacy of the work of Charlene Haddock Seigfried, this book brings together writings focused on pragmatist feminism/feminist pragmatism, contemporary pragmatism, William James and the reconstruction of philosophy, education and American philosophy in the 21st century. Charlene Haddock Seigfried is a looming figure in American thought and feminist theory who coined the phrase 'pragmatist feminist' which has become an increasingly important concept in contemporary philosophy. Haddock Siegfried argues that pragmatism and its rich history (...) is a natural ally for feminism and that the creative combination of these two traditions can pave the way for a genuinely emancipatory feminist practice. Pragmatist Feminism and the Work of Charlene Haddock Seigfried explores and pushes this theory and brings it into conversation with some of the most vibrant strands of current philosophy. (shrink)
this paper focuses on animal issues—specifically relating to the animal beings we eat—using the perspective of American pragmatism. This essay grows out of my earlier work that used American pragmatism, specifically the work of John Dewey, to argue that we can develop a productive process model of utopia. In this model, it becomes important for us to critically examine the goals we choose to pursue because what we choose to pursue in the present sets the limits and possibilities of what (...) we will be able to pursue in the future. Utopian visions are future-focused. We need goals, or ends-in-view, to help direct our present actions. If we give up on the idea of perfection often connected with utopian visions, such thinking can be an important way to realistically examine present action in light of future hopes and desires. Rather than seek perfection, the process model of utopia seeks to create and sustain people willing to take on responsibility and participate in directing their present toward a better, more desirable future. This is an ongoing task. (shrink)
: If we had set out to make philosophy as irrelevant to the world as possible, and to make the APA as useless to its members or to the purpose of making philosophy influential, I do not think we could have done a better job. The philosophers working on this in the early 1900s could not seem to effectively sort out the purposes and organization of the APA, and I argue we are not much better at it today. We do (...) not have a strong national office and this leaves us less supported and more vulnerable than our counterparts in religion, literature, languages, the social and natural sciences. With the importance of the liberal arts not fully understood by the general public, philosophy stands out as one of the more vulnerable disciplines—again in large part a result of our own attitude and actions. If we don't publicly value teaching, and if our research is considered best when it can be least understood or applied, why are we surprised that many people wonder if there is still a need to teach philosophy. (shrink)
Eating animals acts as mirror and representation of patriarchal values. Meat eating is the re-inscription of male power at every meal. The patriarchal gaze sees not the fragmented flesh of dead animals but appetizing food. If our appetites re-inscribe patriarchy, our actions regarding eating animals will either reify or challenge this received culture. If meat is a symbol of male dominance then the presence of meat proclaims the disempowering of women.
“We are hers.” These words were said by Deborah Fouts during an interview a former student and I conducted with Roger and Deborah Fouts. We had asked them when they thought Project Washoe had really become theirs by choice and they knew this would be their life’s work. Deborah said, “It started in Oklahoma, but wasn’t really ours until we came to Ellensburg.” Then she said, “I don’t know if it’s really ever been ‘ours.’ It’s not that it’s ours, we (...) are hers.” These words say a lot. Their commitment to Washoe, Moja, Tatu, Dar, and Loulis has never been about fame, career advancement, or money. In fact, their approach to the chimpanzees places them well outside the norm in their own discipline of .. (shrink)
John McDermott will be missed personally by many of us. Even more, though, the profession of philosophy has lost a strong voice for pluralism. McDermott worked tirelessly on behalf of voices that were not being heard. He did this by getting out-of-print works back into the hands of scholars, but he also did this by supporting many people in our Society as they searched for jobs and sought tenure and promotion in a system that does not always recognize the work (...) done in the American philosophical tradition. He reviewed articles and manuscripts and wrote countless blurbs for the backs of books. He did this even when he disagreed with the particulars of other people's work. I know that when I had a... (shrink)
Is Dewey a purely secular philosopher? Is his work on religion and the religious separate and distinct from his social and political views? I think the answer is “yes and no.” For a while now I have thought that what Dewey has to say about religion and the religious is directly related to his overall political project, and this is what I begin to explore in this paper. I believe that while the habits of religion often interfere with democracy, the (...) religious attitude as Dewey defines it is necessary for democracy to work. (shrink)
Singer’s ethics assume an autonomous, impartial, abstract reasoner. Nonhuman animals, like human animals, have an interest in not suffering; so we all agree on an impartial, rational, consistent minimum standard of treatment that we see must extend to nonhuman animals. While I think this kind of argument works well in the “liberal” context of countries based on social contract reasoning, I am not convinced it goes far enough in achieving the desired attitude shift. We are still encouraged to think in (...) terms of the self-interest of an autonomous, impartial, abstract reasoner, and thus there are many instances in which it is perfectly “reasonable” to harm nonhuman animals. To challenge Singer I use views of the individual proposed by socialist feminist and radical feminist theories. Both of these theories (in all their variety) propose a substantial revisioning of the individual and thereby shift the focus from rights talk to issues of responsibility and care. While there are clear dangers in these approaches as well, I believe there is a fruitful combination of Singer’s argument with these feminist approaches that will help us see the deep nature of our connectedness to nonhuman animals and make us realize that the eating of meat is really a form of cannibalism. (shrink)
We conducted a study of how the metaphysical views of farmers might relate to their choices about how to farm. Our particular focus was on the farming of animals for meat and the environmental impacts of the choices about how to raise the animals. We interviewed farmers at six different operations. We analyzed the farms from the perspectives of ecofeminism, deep ecology, the land ethic, and American Pragmatism. Of the farms that participated in our study, one was a fish farm, (...) three raised cattle, and two raised multiple species of animals. Our questions consisted of the following: “How do you view the human relationship with the rest of nature ?“ and “How do these views affect your choices about how to farm?“. (shrink)
This paper reflects on some of the risks and requirements of engagingin feminist pedagogy. Feminist pedagogy seeks to promote an interactive classroom, encourage a de‐centered approach to the teaching and learning process, and take differences seriously. Some of these practices may pose risks for the practitioner in an established academic environment where one may be expected to make “pobjective” judgments and assign grades without regard for difference; where pedagogy designed to encourage an interactive classroom may be taken as indicating lack (...) of “expertise” which is often only recognized as such in authoritative assertiveness. If there is a backlash against critiques of the canon and experimentalism in pedagogy, can feminist pedagogy be a coherent practice in today's academic institutions? (shrink)
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Approaching History through the Future: Some Thoughts from a Feminist PragmatistErin McKennai was recently asked to write on the philosophy of history from a pragmatist perspective. My initial response was that this is not my area of specialization and that I didn’t really have much to say. Then I realized that it was interesting to think about how I view and use notions of history in my work as (...) a feminist pragmatist. It turns out that in my own work, there is a theme of approaching/understanding history through the possibilities of the future. Rather than being confined by settled or fixed views of the present or the past, the present and past are better seen as possibilities for shaping new and different futures. This can be unsettling for many, as humans often like to justify practices and institutions with the idea that “it has to be this way” and/or “it has always been this way.” But unsettling this habit is important if we hope to approach conflict and disagreements in a productive manner that avoids dogmatism and division.Examining my own use of history in my varied philosophical work turned out to be interesting and instructive. It also revealed my reliance on theorists such as Jane Addams, Anna Julia Cooper, and John Dewey in my writing and my teaching. Usually, I work with implicit notions of history and its role in my philosophical writing. The one exception to that was in writing American Philosophy: From Wounded Knee to the Present, co-authored with Scott L. Pratt. In that work, we explicitly took up a pragmatist approach to history rooted in the work of John Dewey. There, we wrote:For Peirce, James, and Dewey, philosophy worth the name began in response to experienced problems—situations marked by confusion, doubt, indeterminacy—and then returned to these problems, aiming to transform and reconstruct them in ways that allowed the inquirer to go forward, to encounter still more experience. Philosophy, then should be understood as an activity that arises from experience. Since [End Page 71] experience is framed by language, culture and history, philosophy is not a transcendental practice engaged with the really real and truly true.(McKenna and Pratt 3)In “Philosophy and Civilization,” Dewey noted that philosophy is closely tied to the histories of cultures. These ties are mutually transformative, as the philosophy produced is rooted in, and shaped by, the place and time just as it then transforms the place, time, and traditions that give rise to it.Dewey’s own philosophy of history guided our work in American Philosophy: From Wounded Knee to the Present as we strove to offer a history of American philosophy that acknowledges its rootedness in particular times and places. In Logic: The Theory of Inquiry, Dewey noted that history is always in the making, when he wrote:The slightest reflection shows that the conceptual material employed in writing history is that of the period in which a history is written. There is no material available for leading principles and hypotheses save that of the historic present. As culture changes, the conceptions that are dominant in a culture change. Of necessity, new standpoints for viewing, appraising and ordering data arise. History is then rewritten. Material that had formerly been passed by, offers itself as data because the new conceptions propose new problems for solution requiring new factual material for statement and test.(LW 12:232–33)Dewey went on to argue that changes happening in the present put the past into a new perspective and bring to light new problems. This means that one’s understanding of the past is changed, and “we gain new instruments for estimating the force of present conditions as potentialities of the future” (LW 12:238). For this reason, in American Philosophy: From Wounded Knee to the Present, Pratt and I embedded the history of American philosophy in actual historical events that we thought could profitably provide context for the philosophy and could themselves be rethought from our present vantage point. We were guided by the standpoint that American philosophy is a tradition committed “to a dynamic, pluralistic world of experience in which knowledge is a... (shrink)