Here we present the first ever special issue of
Radical Philosophy on Women, Gender and Philosophy.
Much has been written in the past ten years in this
country by feminist women working in the social
sciences and in economics – on women and the state;
on the family and the role of women in it; on women
and psychoanalytic theory; indeed, on women and
sexuality. There has also been plenty of feminist
writing in the field of literary studies. Outside
the British Isles, in the English-speaking world
– particularly in the US and in Australia – articles
have been written by feminist teachers of philosophy
on the topic of women and philosophy. But, in this
country, very little has appeared, and there is much
unexamined territory to be explored. We feel that we
are beginning to plug a large hole with the material
Jenny Lloyd explores Simone de Beauvoir’s
appropriation of Sartre’s concept of ‘Otherness’;
she discusses its origins in Hegel, and reveals some
of its limitations. Joanna Thompson comments on the
restriction of the use of the ‘natural light of
reason’ in Descartes’ to the males of the species.
Russell Keat deals with something he calls
‘masculinism’ in philosophy; and my piece is a
discussion of Dale Spender’s work on language.
Perhaps we should- say a word about the non
appearance of an issue like this before now. As
may be apparent, 90% of the editorial board of
Radical Philosophy is male. Additionally, female
teachers of philosophy in Britain constitute a small
minority of teachers of philosophy. It is probably
not surprising, therefore, in the absence of our
commissioning such material, that we have not
received articles on feminism and philosophy. This
time we commissioned some articles. We hope very
much, however, that this will not be a one-off issue;
on the contrary, we would like there to be many more.
Please, if you have relevant material, send it to us.