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17 Editorial

Notes
In this issue we publish an important study, the
first to appear in Radical Philosophy, of sexism in
philosophy. Michele Le Doeuff’s article, ‘Women
and Philosophy’, breaks new ground in the analysis
of the politics and history of philosophical practice.

The depth and force of her argument lies in the
thesis that the sexism of philosophy cannot be
eliminated merely by transforming the behaviour
or raising the consciousness of individual women
and men philosophers, but demands a radical transformation of philosophy itself, in its relations and
modes of production. Michele Le Doeuff writes in
an academic situation and in the context of political
struggles which are specific to France; but this
does not mean that her findings are irrelevant for
British philosophy. Her demonstration that philosophy is not an innocent spectator, but an agent of
sexual oppression will, we hope, stimulate avequally searching investigation of sexism in
British philosophy.

Michael Ryan and Martine Meskel are members
of GREPH, the militant French study group on
philosophy teaching on whom we reported in RP16.

Their letter to RP rightly emphasises that contacts
between fraternal groups in different countries can
throw into relief our respective theoretical and
institutional situations. Our dialogue may also
serve to call in question the idea of inherited
national styles of philosophising, and show how
modern academic philosophies engender the nationalism and chauvinism which commonly invest
philosophical ‘traditions’.

Colin Gordon’ s extended survey of Michel
Foucault’s work since 1970 attempts to negotiate
some of the (by now notorious) hazards of theoretical ‘importation’. Foucault himself argues in the
interview translated here that the political engagement of intellectuals has become increasingly
centred on specific sites of social conflict; hence it
is not inappropriate for RP, with its commitment
to political struggle on a particular institutional
terrain, to introduce some of his work to Englishspeaking readers. The difficulty of the questions
raised by Foucault’s theses on power and truth is an
index of the new political and theoretical challenges
which he has posed. For us, his work also raises
(once again) the issue of whether our task is to
renew philosophy or to dismantle it.

lan Craib’ s article, starting from problems
raised within sociology, relates itself to the
frequently lamented antithesis between ‘scientific’

and ‘humanist’ tendencies in Marxist philosophy; it
attempts to alter the terms of this debate by deriving from Lukacs a ‘humanist’ account of Marxism’s
scientificity.

Kate Soper examines here an underdeveloped
aspect of the study of the capitalist mode of production, and pOints towards the kind of articulation of
theory and concrete analysis which historical mater-

ialism makes possible. The present upsurge of
fundamental Marxist researches may indicate an
exit route from the cycle of philosophy’s deaths and
rebirths, via which the problem of the specificity of
the philosophical might be both subverted and
understood.

In forthcoming issues:

Daniel Ben-Horin: Television and the Left
Barbara Easton: Feminism and the Contemporary Family
Robert Fitch: Planning New York City
Articles on political parties, trade unions, and social mow:ments
in the United States

In recent issues:

John Judis and Alan Wolfe: American Politics at the Crossroads
Fred Block: Marxist Theory of the State
Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English: The Manufacture of
Housework
Max Gordon: The Communist Party of the 19305 and the
New Left, with a response by James Weinstcin
Richard Lichtman: Marx and Freud

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