Note: By downloading any of the following published papers you agree that it shall be for your own personal use ONLY. If you need it for other purposes, please contact the copyright holder (usually the publisher) for permission. See also:
CV (November 2022)
Phil Papers Profile
ORCID ID: 0000-0002-3898-4266
My name in traditional Chinese characters: 薩利・哈斯蘭格
My name in "simplified" Chinese characters: 萨利·哈斯兰格
Note: By downloading any of the following published papers you agree that it shall be for your own personal use ONLY. If you need it for other purposes, please contact the copyright holder (usually the publisher) for permission. See also:
CV (November 2022)
Phil Papers Profile
ORCID ID: 0000-0002-3898-4266
My name in traditional Chinese characters: 薩利・哈斯蘭格
My name in "simplified" Chinese characters: 萨利·哈斯兰格
What is Race? Four Philosophical Views, by Joshua Glasgow, Sally Haslanger, Chike Jeffers, and Quayshawn Spencer. Oxford University Press, 2019.
'What is race?' is a question that has haunted human interaction and vexed scholars. In this book, four race theorists debate how best to answer it, applying philosophical tools and principles of social justice to cutting-edge findings from the biological and social sciences. Each of the authors presents a distinct view of race. Sally Haslanger argues that race is a socio-political reality. Chike Jeffers maintains that race can be cultural as well as political. Quayshawn Spencer pursues the idea that race is biologically real. And Joshua Glasgow argues that either race is not real, or if it is, it must be real in a way that is neither social nor biological. Each offers an argument for their own view and then replies to the others. The result is a lively debate that shines a light on multiple ways of thinking about race.
Critical Theory and Practice (The 2015 Spinoza Lectures (booklet)). Amsterdam: Koninklijke Van Gorcum, 2017.
(pdf, 51 pages)
Resisting Reality: Social Construction and Social Critique. Oxford University Press, 2012. This is a collection of mostly previously published papers (1993-2012). Winner of the 2014 Joseph B. Gittler Award for "outstanding scholarly contribution in the field of the philosophy of one or more of the social sciences."
Persistence: Contemporary Readings. Edited by Sally Haslanger and Roxanne Marie Kurtz. (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, Fall 2006).
Theorizing Feminisms: A Reader. Edited by Elizabeth Hackett and Sally Haslanger. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005).
Adoption Matters: Philosophical and Feminist Essays. Edited by Sally Haslanger and Charlotte Witt. (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2005).
Books in Progress
Analyzing Ideology: Rethinking the Concept. Ed. Robin Celikates, Sally Haslanger and Jason Stanley (OUP) - a collection based on the Yale Ideology Conference, 2016. Under contract with Oxford University Press.
Doing Justice to the Social
The is a collection of papers, most of which have been published, on social practices, social structure, and social justice, with some additional material as well as addendums to the papers that reflect back on them with an eye to improvement and also to make explicit connections between them.
One theme of the collection is that philosophers, at least in mainstream Anglo-American philosophy, have paid insufficient attention to the social domain. The focus on persons (individual minds, action, and speech), or on the state (which is conceptualized as “bigger” kind of individual) fails to account for the role of culture and cultural norms in social formations. This has left us with impoverished explanatory and normative theories to address problems of social injustice that don’t have state solutions. The book develops resources for thinking about the ontological, epistemological, and political dimensions of the social.
The second theme is that while dominant conceptions of social justice focus on political and economic solutions, culture - or what I call a cultural techne - is a crucial component of social practices and the structures they compose. As a result, cultural critique is necessary to achieve justice, and changing culture is a task best addressed through social movements. My account of social justice is materialist, anti-utopian, anti-individualistic, anti-rationalistic, but also committed to the possibility of moral knowledge and social justice achieved through contentious politics.
Oxford Handbook on Social Ontology. Ed., Stephanie Collins, Brian Epstein, Sally Haslanger, Bernhard Schmid. Under contract with Oxford University Press.
Linked titles in bold indicate that the linked paper is the published version. Be aware that until the paper is published, the text may change. Please check with me/us if you want to quote it.
"Intersecting Social Systems and the Reproduction of Injustice." Tanner Lecture (University of Michigan) 2023.
Societies are complex systems – or clusters of interacting systems – that reproduce themselves: their culture, their practices, and their structures, in ways that are unjust. In this lecture, I will take up two broad questions: What does it mean to say that injustice is systemic, and how does that affect our efforts to promote justice? How, do social systems interact and reproduce themselves? By considering case studies involving the criminal justice system, the immigration system, and child protective services, I will argue that we need to rethink how gender and race are produced and reproduced. In this lecture, I am asking about the process of social reproduction rather than providing a normative theory of justice (or injustice). However, in order to understand and intervene in injustice successfully, we need to be clear about what we are up against.
"Situated Knowledge and Situated Values." The Amherst Lecture, 2022.
An important feature of theoretical projects that aim to promote social justice is their commitment to empowering those in oppressive circumstances so that they can solve their own problems. One argument for this is that the oppressed have situated knowledge – both moral knowledge and empirical knowledge of the circumstances – that others lack. I argue in this lecture that another way to understand this commitment is by exploring how values evolve in the context of social practices. If social values are contingent historically and materially grounded constructions, then change will involve a process of reconstructing existing values or constructing them anew in practice. I argue that such path dependency is compatible with values - and social justice - being objective, but not to be discovered by theory alone.
"The Adoption "Alternative"." Forthcoming in Adoption and Culture.
According to the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, the possibility of adoption renders abortion unnecessary: “States have increasingly adopted ‘safe haven’ laws, which generally allow women to drop off babies anonymously; . . . and that a woman who puts her newborn up for adoption today has little reason to fear that the baby will not find a suitable home” (34). I argue that, considering the history of foster care and adoption, poor Black and Brown women have little reason to be as sanguine about this as the majority opinion suggests.
"Discipline." Forthcoming in The Philosopher.
A reflection on the idea of an academic discipline and the distinction between academic freedom and freedom of speech. Some of the ideas are drawn from an essay I contributed to MIT's Faculty Newsletter in response to a free speech controversy on campus: "Academic Freedom and Freedom of Expression."
"Amelioration as Course Correction," with Stephen Yablo. Forthcoming in the Oxford Handbook in Applied Philosophy of Language, ed. Luvell Anderson and Ernie Lapore.
Must amelioration involve meaning change? Not necessarily, if we view words as evolving abstract particulars not unlike songs. Not anything goes, of course. There will have to be guard rails. Our picture has three main elements: (i)Reference electromagnetism: Eligibility-makers are allowed relating to us and our practices. (ii) Selection not redirection: Meanings are a special sort of object-kind, like statue or ship, except the objects in this case are interpreted words. Disputes about the meaning of a word are like disputes about which of the ship-like objects earlier in the harbor the owner can/should lay claim to. They are resolved not by bringing in further ships (words), but by clarifying which of the ones already in play that it makes sense to be going on with. (iii) Extending charity: Ameliorative interpretations, if not revisionary, must be reconcilable with earlier usage. Helpful here is an extended version of charity that forgives misstatements traceable to specific errors/oversights, AND those reflecting the limited conceptual opportunities available in the speaker's cultural milieu.
"Social Justice, Culture, and Law." (The Hart Lecture 2022.) Forthcoming in the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies.
One important way to promote social justice is to change the laws to distribute rights, primary goods, and other benefits and burdens more fairly. But justice isn't only about distribution, and law is not always the best way to promote social change. As Lawrence Lessig has argued, law can serve as a way to change social norms; but legal changes that are insensitive to entrenched cultural norms are often unhelpful. This paper sketches an account of social structure as a complex of social meanings, material conditions, and normative constraints, and points to multiple levers for social change, with special attention to the importance of community activism and social movements.
"Agency within Social Structures." Forthcoming in What is Structural Injustice? ed., Jude Browne and Maeve McKeown, Oxford University Press.
Societies (and many of their parts) behave in distinctive ways. Their changes are hard to predict. They are self-organizing and adaptive. They tolerate considerable change and maintain themselves without central control, but even small changes can make a big difference. If a society is a complex system – if, qua system, it is equivalent to an ant hill with humans in the place of ants – then it might seem that there is little room for human agency. We can allow that the workings of the system are non-linear, but that is little solace to agents if our choices don’t matter. From the point of view of agents, we are capable of acting for reasons that are relatively transparent to us; we deliberate. Our choices are not controlled by a system in which we are mere cogs. Where can we locate agency within social systems? This paper provides an account of social systems as constituted by practices enacted by agents. Social structures shape our agency, but our agency also shapes social meanings, and in doing so, shapes intelligibility within practices, what practices we use for coordination, and thus the shape of social structures and systems.
"Social Systems and Intersectional Oppression," in New Conversations, ed., Ruth Chang and Amia Srinivasan, Oxford University Press.
Societies are complex dynamic systems, as are hearts, brains, ant hills, weather systems, economies, and ecosystems. Such systems are self-organizing, without central authorities, due to their internal structure. This paper argues that the structure of a social system is constituted by social practices; such practices establish roles and positions that expose those who occupy them to different vulnerabilities. When such vulnerabilities are exploited and become entrenched, the structure is oppressive. The literature on oppression, however, takes it to be a form of group-based injustice, e.g., racial oppression, gender oppression, class oppression. But we can see from a case study of racialized women’s labor that social practices differentiate individuals along the lines of race, gender, and class, so not all women, or all Black people are subject to the same entrenched vulnerabilities. So does it make sense to speak of “women’s oppression” or “racial oppression” tout court? Dembroff argues that there are two systems, patriarchy and White supremacy, that constitute a single causal structure, e.g., misogynoir, but can be differentiated by their essential ideologies. Although Dembroff’s argument helpfully situates the phenomenon within the causal modeling literature, it is unclear whether or how the different ideologies are causally significant, and so whether they actually constitute systems. I argue, in contrast, that there is one system that produces multiple race-gender-class (and more, e.g., citizenship status, disability status) vulnerabilities. No one is oppressed as a woman, or as Asian. Instead oppression is more fine-grained and tied to social practices. However, we can describe the one system as patriarchal, White supremacist, or capitalist by noting patterns in who suffers what consequences.
"Encoding Race and Structural Racism: Philosophical Perspectives." With Arden Ali, Jerome Hodges, and Lily Hu.
What is race? In what sense is race “real”; in what sense is it an illusion? How should scientific inquiry take race into account (or not)? How should systems that distribute key social benefits and burdens take race into account (or not)? Does fairness require colorblindness? If not, how can we incorporate considerations of race that do not lead to other kinds of harms? These questions arise in a broad range of disciplines, but have now taken on another dimension of significance as automated computational and machine learning tools are increasingly folded into systems that address complex social coordination problems. After reviewing the philosophical literature, we argue that the main issue is not how or whether we adequately represent racial phenomena, or how we can trade-off legitimate “non-race-related” interests with an aim of racial “fairness,” but how such computational systems contribute to the production of race; the normative issue, then, is not how to be fair, but how to dismantle racism.
"Systemic and Structural Injustice: Is there a Difference?" Philosophy (First View), pp. 1-27.
The terms ‘structural injustice’ and ‘systemic injustice’ are commonly used, but their meanings are elusive. In this paper, I sketch an ontology of social systems that embeds accounts of social structures, relations, and practices. On this view, structures may be intrinsically problematic, or they may be problematic only insofar as they interact with other structures in the system to produce injustice. Because social practices that constitute structures set the backdrop for agency and identity, socially fluent agents reproduce the systems, often unknowingly and unintentionally. The account aims to capture how agents both depend on and enact structures, and do so in ways that, as Ta-Nehisi Coates says, ‘land on the body’.
Interview:"From Social Construction to Social Critique: An Interview with Sally Haslanger." by Jeremiah Joven B. Joaquin and Hazel T. Biana. Hypatia 37(1): 164-176.
"Reproducing Social Hierarchy (or Not!)" Kneller Lecture, Philosophy of Education Society. Philosophy of Education 77(2): 185-222. With commentaries by Quentin Wheeler-Bell and Jennifer Morton.
Education systems not only teach knowledge and cognitive skills, they also teach social know-how. Social skills are extremely important for doing well in life, but they also make one a fluent participant in unjust and harmful practices. This raises moral dilemmas for individuals. But the deeper problems are structural, for it is not feasible for individuals to just opt out of the dominant social practices. This paper argues that integrating diverse knowers into an educational community is not sufficient to disrupt ideology, even if they are included as equals. Situated knowledge is not the same as a critical standpoint. I then outline one process for gaining a critical standpoint through consciousness raising. Consciousness raising prompts a paradigm shift in our understanding of the status quo and offers epistemic resources for a social justice movement. (Of course knowledge does not make us free – we must organize in order to effectively resist and remake unjust structures.) I conclude that education for social justice should make available resources and opportunities for individuals to engage in consciousness raising together, and to give them the skills for this process to be undertaken, as needed, over a lifetime.
"Feminism and the Question of Theory." Discussion of of Amia Srinivasan's The Right to Sex. 2021. The Raven.
"If You are Committed to Justice, Why Aren't You an Activist? Comments on Allen Buchanan." Journal of Applied Philosophy 38(5): 747-752. https://doi.org/10.1111/japp.12546
"Ideology in Practice: What Does Ideology Do?" The Acquinas Lecture, Marquette University Press. Published version also available from Amazon. ISBN: 0874621976
In asking “What does ideology do?” I mean to be asking both, what does ideology do for us theoretically, and what does ideology do to us and with us as social subjects. These questions arise as the concept of ideology is beginning to play a more significant role in mainstream Anglo-American philosophy, and different scholars are entering the discussion from different traditions. The traditions use the term ‘ideology’ in different ways and, within the different traditions, controversies over whether the idea of ideology is theoretically or politically useful have appeared, disappeared, and reappeared over time (Purvis & Hunt 1993). This paper sketches a particular challenge for those working on social justice – why is it that most of us, most of the time, act in ways that perpetuate injustice? – and an approach to this challenge that relies on a theory of ideology to answer the question. I will consider several objections to the idea that ideology is either necessary or adequate to this task, and will then develop an account of ideology – inspired by Althusser, among others – that embeds it in social practices that helps to avoid such objections.
"Political Epistemology and Social Critique." Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy 7: 23-65.
Under conditions of ideology, a standard model of normative political epistemology – relying on a domain-specific reflective equilibrium – risks status-quo bias. Social critique requires a more critical standpoint. What are the aims of social critique? How is such a standpoint achieved and what grounds its claims? One way of achieving a critical standpoint is through consciousness raising. Consciousness raising offers a paradigm shift in our understanding of the social world; but not all epistemic practices thatappear to “raise” consciousness, are warranted. However, under certain conditions sketched in the paper, consciousness raising produces a warranted critical standpoint and a pro tanto claim against others. This is an important epistemic achievement, yet under conditions of collective self-governance, there is no guarantee that all warranted claims can be met simultaneously. There will be winners and losers even after legitimate democratic processes have been followed.
"Methods of Social Critique." (Presented at the Wittgenstein Symposium, 2019.) In Crisis and Critique: Philosophical Analysis and Current Events: Proceedings of the 42nd Wittgenstein Symposium. Edited by Anne Siegetsleitner, Andreas Oberprantacher, Marie-Luisa Frick, and Ulrich Metschl. Berlin: De Gruyter, pp. 139-155.
Social critique takes aim at institutions, practices, and structures from a position embedded witin those institutions, practices and structures. It is not a project in ideal theory, but does it depend on ideal theory? This paper considers three methods of non-ideal theory: the medical model, the applied ideal theory model, and the critical theory model, with a focus on the latter two. It argues that the method of applied ideal theory, understood as a domain specific, relatively a priori reflective equilibrium (as Scanlon interprets Rawls), suffers from a version of normative status quo bias. This is inadequate to challenge the effects of ideology. The paper goes on to sketch a version of social critique that draws on oppositional consciousness and suggests that some forms of consciousness raising can provide a better epistemic basis for social critique.
"Practical Reason and Social Practices." In the Routledge Handbook of Practical Reason, ed. Ruth Chang and Kurt Sylvan. New York: Routledge, pp. 68-82.
"Autonomy, Identity, and Social Justice: Appiah's The Lies that Bind, A Review" Philosophy and Public Issues (New Series) 10(2): 19-32.
"Taking a Stand: Second-Order Pathologies or First Order Critique?" In Debating Critical Theory: Engagements with Axel Honneth, edited by Julia Christ, Kristina Lepold, Daniel Loick and Titus Stahl. Rowman & Littlefield, pp. 35-49.
The Critical Theory tradition is shaped by the goal of ideology critique. A central idea is that society suffers from “social pathologies of reason.” The emancipatory goal of critique is to free us from epistemic distortions and illusions so that we are able to realize a rational form of life, both individually and collectively. In this paper, I consider Axel Honneth’s approach to critique. After offering an interpretation of Honneth’s version of the Critical Theory model, I argue that his view rests on a set of background ideas about social change that are implausible and overly rationalistic. Moreover, although Honneth’s approach is free of some of the more worrisome elements of 20th century Critical Theory that he himself notes, there is an alternative that better meets the methodological commitments of critical theory. I will then sketch a conception of ideology, inspired by Althusser and Foucault, and offer an alternative model of critique.
"How Not to Change the Subject." In Shifting Concepts: The Philosophy and Psychology of Conceptual Variability, edited by Teresa Marques and Åsa Wikforss, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 235-259.
This paper elaborates on the view suggested in "Going On, Not in the Same Way" to develop the argument that conceptual engineering (or conceptual ethics) is compatible with an externalist semantics. I distinguish epistemic amelioration from semantic amelioration. I argue that epistemic amelioration is common: through inquiry of all sorts we improve our understanding of the content of our thought and talk without changing meanings. Semantic amelioration - amelioration in which we change the intension of a concept - might appear to be incoherent. But because we introduce resources to distinguish concepts from intensions within an externalist semantics in order to do justice to the epistemic and functional role of concepts, these roles can take priority in individuation, allowing that intensions can evolve.
"Failures of Individualism: The Materiality of Social Systems." Journal of Social Philosophy. https://doi.org/10.1111/josp.12373
This paper argues that some familiar versions of methodological individualism (both ontological and explanatory) assume that the social domain consists in the actions of individuals, and so should be explained (ultimately) by individuals' attitudes. I argue that this approach does not give us the resources to explain the workings of social systems and their parts - transportation systems, food distribution systems, health care systems, and the material conditions they depend on - because the systems are as affected by the materiality of their parts as by the attitudes of individuals. I propose that we should look to functional explanations - understanding social functions as systems functions rather than etiological functions - to better understand the social domain and how it works.
"Why I Don't Believe in Patriarchy: Comments on Kate Manne's Down Girl." For a symposium on Down Girl for Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 101: 220-229. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/phpr.12697
"Going On, Not in the Same Way" - In Conceptual Ethics and Conceptual Engineering, edited by Alexis Burgess, Herman Cappelen, and David Plunkett. Oxford University Press, pp. 230-260.
This chapter considers, within an externalist semantics, several ways we might understand the project of improving our concepts to promote greater justice. The tools that culture provides us – such as language, concepts, and inferential patterns – provide frames for coordination and shape our interaction. There are multiple ways these tools can fail us, e.g., by the limited structure of options they make intelligible. However, we can sometimes reconfigure the resources so that our practical orientations are more responsive to what is good and coordinate in ways that are just. Such reconfiguration often happens in law; it also occurs in social movements, counter-publics, subaltern communities, and in fascist propaganda. Contestation over meaning is not “mere semantics” for – together with political and material change – it can shape our agency and our lives together.
"Cognition as a Social Skill" (including 11 commentaries and a response ("Agency within Structures and Warranted Resistance") - Australasian Philosophy Review (2019) 3(1): 5-25.
Agency takes place within a web of social meanings – a cultural technē – that we draw on as we engage in social practices. When the cultural technē guides us to engage in unjust structures, it is an ideology; the practices, structures, institutions, along with the thinking and acting shaped by the ideology, are ideological formations (See also Haslanger 2017). Drawing on work by Tad Zawidzki and Victoria McGeer, I recommend that we attend to the aspects of cognition that are shaped for coordination, and argue that fluent and intelligible agency both depends on and reinforces social practices. As a result, social change requires not just changes of mind, but also changes of culture. This is possible because cultures are not hegemonic frames, but context-specific sets of tools that are contested, repurposed, and creatively expanded. I also draw some conclusions for epistemology.
"Disciplined Bodies and Ideology Critique." in Glass Bead.
Drawing on Althusser and Foucault, I argue that ideology mediates our relationships with our bodies so that we cannot rely on the body to provide an epistemic ground for ideology critique. Drawing on standpoint epistemology, I argue that a foundational ground is not required for critique and a broadly holistic approach - including experience (including affect), beliefs, and values - is adequate as a source of and justification for critique.
"Social Explanation: Structures, Stories, and Ontology: A reply to Díaz Léon, Saul, and Sterken." (2016 Nomos Symposium.) Disputatio 10(50): 245-273. https://doi.org/10.2478/disp-2018-0015
"What is a Social Practice?" Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement to Philosophy 82 (July 2018): 231-247.
This paper provides an account of social practices that reveals how they are constitutive of social agency, enable coordination around things of value, and are a site for social intervention. The social world, on this account, does not begin when psychologically sophisticated individuals interact to share knowledge or make plans. Instead, culture shapes agents to interpret and respond both to each other and the physical world around us. Practices shape us as we shape them. This provides resources for understanding why social practices tend to be stable, but also reveals sites and opportunities for change. (Challenge social meanings! Intervene in the material conditions!)
"Culture and Critique." Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume XCI (2017), pp. 149-173. Presented at the Joint Sessions of the Aristotelian Society and the Mind Association. Clare Chambers, commentator.
How do we achieve social justice? How do we change society for the better? Some would argue that we must do it by changing the laws or state institutions. Others that we must do it by changing individual attitudes. I argue that although both of these factors are important and relevant, we must also change culture. What does this mean? Culture, I argue, is a set of social meanings that shapes and filters how we think and act. Problematic networks of social meanings constitute an ideology. Entrenched ideologies are resilient and are barriers to social change, even in the face of legal interventions. I argue that an effective way to change culture is through social movements and contentious politics, and that philosophy has a role to play in promoting such change.
"The Sex/Gender Distinction and the Social Construction of Reality." In the Routledge Companion to Feminist Philosophy, Ed. Ann Garry, Serene J. Khader, and Alison Stone. New York: Routledge, 2017, pp. 157-167.
"Racism, Ideology, and Social Movements." Res Philosophica January 2017, 94(1):1-22.
Racism, sexism, and other forms of injustice are more than just bad attitudes; after all, such injustice involves unfair distributions of goods and resources. But attitudes play a role. How central is that role? Tommie Shelby argues that racism is an ideology, and that an ideology is a set of false beliefs that arise out of and serve pernicious social conditions. In this paper follow Shelby in taking the primary task of a theory of racism to be explanatory: what explains ongoing racial injustice? I argue, however, that (shared) bad attitudes are not the best explanation of racial injustice. Rather, racism is a homeostatic system whose elements include interdependent social meanings, norms, and rules; material conditions; individual attitudes; and practices. On my view, an ideology is a set of social meanings that guide unjust social practices in such systems. Ideological meanings give rise to habits of mind that distort, obscure, and occlude important facts about racial groups and result in a failure to recognize their interests. How do we disrupt such practices to achieve greater justice? I argue that this is sometimes, but not always, achieved by argument or challenging false beliefs; we need to change culture, and this is better achieved through social movements that replace old meanings new ones.
"Objectivity, Epistemic Objectification, and Oppression." In the Routledge Handbook to Epistemic Injustice. Ed. Ian Kidd, José Medina, and Gaile Pohlhaus. New York: Routledge, pp. 279-290.
I discuss a particular form of epistemic injustice: epistemic objectification. Epistemic objectification occurs when a group’s actual or imagined epistemic weaknesses are wrongly taken to be due to their nature, or essential to them as a group. Epistemic objectification is often bundled with other forms of objectification that essentialize or naturalize subordinated statuses. It is important to identify how such moves discredit the voices of the subordinate or marginalized so their resistance is muted or distrusted. This discrediting is a form of testimonial injustice. But the injustice of epistemic objectification is more than testimonial. Certain models of objectivity, or objective reality, support what I call status quo reasoning that works, under conditions of oppression, to justify subordinating practices quite generally. Status quo reasoning is both an epistemic injustice – since it is one factor in the perpetuation of epistemic marginalization – and also an epistemic tool of oppression.
Translated into Spanish by Ekai Txapartegi Zumeta.
Translated into Basque by Ekai Txapartegi Zumeta.
"Jane Addams’s “Women and Public Housekeeping.” 2017. In Ten Neglected Classics of Philosophy, ed. Eric Schliesser. Oxford University Press, pp. 148-176.
Jane Addams’ broadside, "Women and Public Housekeeping" (1910) argues that household tasks that traditionally keep women out of the public realm also provide knowledge that would make them excellent city leaders. I argue that this is an early example of feminist epistemology that also challenges assumptions about where to find excellent philosophy.
"Injustice within Systems of Coordination and Cognition: Comments on Madva for Brains Blog." Brains Blog Ergo Symposium, ed. Aaron Henry, March 6, 2017.
"Theorizing with a Purpose: The Many Kinds of Sex." 2016. In Natural Kinds and Classification in Scientific Practice. Ed. Catherine Kendig. New York: Routledge, pp. 129-144.
Abstract: The idea of a natural kind purports to be of something that constitutes “the world’s joints” and is captured in good explanations. Traditionally, natural kinds are assumed to be “mind-independent.” But a plausible account of explanation takes it to be a practice of asking and answering questions. Explanations should be evaluated as answers to legitimate questions; good answers are not always in terms of “mindindependent” kinds. Drawing on the example of sex, this paper explores some of the ways differences in the word are either marked or created by us, and how these differences matter for our explanatory purposes. I argue, following Epstein (2015), that explanatory kinds can be both anchored and grounded in social facts and, moreover, that explanatory projects – like other practical projects - depend on theoretical scaffolds to provide means toward our ends.
"What is a (Social) Structural Explanation?" 2016. Philosophical Studies 173(1): 113-130. Published online 9 January 2015. (Originally presented at the Oberlin Colloquium, 2014).
Abstract: A philosophically useful account of social structure must accommodate the fact that social structures play an important role in structural explanation. But what is a structural explanation? How do structural explanations function in the social sciences? This paper offers a way of thinking about structural explanation and sketches an account of social structure that connects social structures with structural explanation.
"Social Structure, Narrative, and Explanation." 2015. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45(1): 1-15.
Abstract: Recent work on social injustice has focused on implicit bias as an important factor in explaining persistent injustice in spite of achievements on civil rights. In this paper, I argue that because of its individualism, implicit bias explanation, taken alone, is inadequate to explain ongoing injustice; and, more importantly, it fails to call attention to what is morally at stake. An adequate account of how implicit bias functions must situate it within a broader theory of social structures and structural injustice; changing structures is often a precondition for changing patterns of thought and action and is certainly required for durable change. (handout 5/27/14; video)
"The Normal, the Natural and the Good: Generics and Ideology" Politica & Società 3 (2014): 365-392.
Abstract: A follow-up article drawing on my "Ideology, Generics and Common Ground," arguing that it is possible to account for a broad variety of generics (including normative generics), when used in explanatory contexts, by including in the common ground two assumptions about essence: Essentialist Assumption: Robust (meaningful?) regularities are not accidental. They are due to the natures of things. Normative Assumption: Things should express their natures and under normal circumstances they will. Abnormal circumstances are not good and should be avoided or changed. If this is plausible, then it may not be necessary to postulate distinct kinds of generics to accommodate the phenomena.
"Individualism, Interpretation and Injustice: A Reply to Stahl, Betti, and Mikkola." Krisis 1 (2014).
"Studying White Black: Trust, Opportunity and Disrespect." Du Bois Review, 11:1 (2014): 109-136.
Abstract: How should we explore the relationship between race and educational opportunity? One approach to the Black-White “achievement gap” explores how race and class cause disparities in access and opportunity. In this paper I consider how education contributes to the creation of race. Considering examples of classroom micropolitics, I argue that breakdowns of trust and trustworthiness between teachers and students can cause substantial disadvantages and, in the contemporary United States, this happens along racial lines. Some of the disadvantages are academic: high achievement is more difficult when one faces mistrust, ego depletion, effort pessimism, and insult. And within a knowledge economy, exclusion from knowledge work makes one vulnerable to injustice. But the problem goes deeper than achievement, for schools are contexts in which we develop self-understandings and identities that situate us as members of society. If students of color are systematically denied full participation in trusting conversations that create shared knowledge – especially, knowledge that holds power within the dominant culture – they are unjustly deprived resources to form flourishing selves that are suited to the positions of power and authority.
The argument suggests that knowledge is not best understood simply as a commodity to be distributed, and opportunity is not just a matter of access. The unfair distribution of knowledge is a bad thing, but the more grave injustice is the systematic violation of moral and epistemic norms that distorts the development of flourishing selves. Moreover, even if access is granted, those who are motivated and talented can fail: they drain their willpower by coping with insults, or reasonably lose optimism about their efficacy. Over time, motivation may shift away from achievement, and under the circumstances this can be a rational response. The barriers to achievement are many, but true opportunity is impossible without trust and trustworthiness.
"Social Meaning and Philosophical Method." (handout, 12/29/13)
Eastern APA Presidential Address, 2013. Published in APA Proceedings and Addresses, vol 88, (2014) pp. 16-37.
"Liberatory Knowledge and Just Social Practices." APA Newsletter on Law and Philosophy, 12:2 (2013): 6-11. (Special issue on Catharine MacKinnon.)
"Race, Intersectionality and Method: Reply to Critics." Philosophical Studies 2013. (Originally presented in Author Meets Critics session at the Pacific APA 2013, responding to Charles Mills and Karen Jones).
"Language and Race" with Luvell Anderson and Rae Langton. In Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Language, ed., Delia Graff Fara and Gillian Russell (Routledge 2012).
“Ideology, Generics, and Common Ground.” In Charlotte Witt, ed., Feminist Metaphysics: Essays on the Ontology of Sex, Gender and the Self, pp. 179-207. (Dordrecht: Springer 2010).
Abstract: Further discussion of the problem of ideology critique (see Haslanger 2007 below), however, not pursuing the relativist strategy proposed there. Drawing on work by Sarah-Jane Leslie and others, I consider how generics such as ‘Women are submissive’ and ‘Blacks are violent’ might implicate false claims about the nature of women and Blacks. Once these implicatures are accepted into the common ground, they become part of the ideology that sustains racist and sexist social structures. One form of critique, then, will be to take aim at such implicatures and block them through meta-linguistic negation and other linguistic and non-linguistic interventions.
“Language, Politics and “The Folk”: Looking for “The Meaning” of ‘Race’.” The Monist (April 2010).
Abstract: Much of the contemporary discussion of race employs a “semantic strategy” according to which one first determines the ordinary meaning of ‘race,’ and then inquires whether there is anything in the world corresponding to that meaning (see Glasgow 2009, 12). Although some inquire into the meaning of ‘race’ a priori and others empirically, the strategy seems to assume an internalist approach to meaning. I favor an externalist approach to meaning. In this paper I explain why, while also exploring how the “jazz model of meaning” (suggested by (Schroeter and Schroeter 2009; Schroeter and Bigelow 2009)) might be particularly useful for theorizing race and other social categories.
“Family, Ancestry and Self: What is the Moral Significance of Biological Ties?” In Adoption and Culture, 2010.
Abstract: A discussion of David Velleman’s essay, “Family History” and related topics. I argue that acquaintance with one’s biological progenitors is not necessary for human well-being. However, in contexts where such knowledge is highly valued, those without it may be stigmatized and their well-being diminished. Although it may be important to provide, as far as possible, information about one’s biological progenitors and even to consider this a right, it is also important to question the value of acquaintance with biological progenitors and to acknowledge the importance of fictive kinship, alloparenting, and other social resources in all of our lives.
“Preliminary Report of the Survey on Publishing in Philosophy,” Presented at the APA Committee on the Status of Women in the Profession Session, Eastern APA, December 2009. APA Newsletter on Feminism and Philosophy.
“Exploring Race, in Life, In Speech and in Philosophy: Comments on Josh Glasgow’s A Theory of Race.” in the Symposia on Gender Race and Philosophy, Fall 2009.
"Changing the Ideology and Culture of Philosophy: Not by Reason (Alone)." presented at the Central APA (April 2007) at a panel sponsored by the APA Committee on the Status of Women. Hypatia 23:2 (April-June 2008): 210-223.
Includes an overview of data on the representation of women authors in seven journals in philosophy (Ethics, Journal of Philosophy, Mind, Noûs, Philosophical Review, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Philosophy and Public Affairs).
“A Social Constructionist Analysis of Race,” in B. Koenig, S. Lee and S. Richardson, ed., Revisiting Race in the Genomic Age, Rutgers University Press, 2008.
Abstract: A discussion of philosophical accounts of race for a broad interdisciplinary audience including those working in biology and medicine. Explains the account of race I articulate in “Gender and Race...” Haslanger 2000 (see below). Initially presented at the Mellon Seminar, Revisiting Race and Ethnicity in the Context of Emerging Genetic Research at Stanford University (2005):http://bioethics.stanford.edu/events/mellon.html
“”But Mom, Crop-Tops Are Cute!” Social Knowledge, Social Structure and Ideology Critique,” Philosophical Issues, 17, The Metaphysics of Epistemology, 2007, pp. 70-91.
Abstract: If social facts are constituted by a kind of social consensus, then those whose beliefs conform with the consensus seem to have knowledge. But how, then, can ideology critique gain an epistemic grip? I set up the puzzle and consider whether recent relativist strategies in philosophy of language provide resources to show how social beliefs can be true relative to a milieu, and yet allow genuine disagreement between milieus.
"What Good Are Our Intuitions? Philosophical Analysis and Social Kinds." Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume, vol. 80, no. 1 (2006): 89-118. Presented at the Joint Sessions of the Aristotelian Society and the Mind Association, Southampton, July 2006.
“Social Construction: Who? What? Where? How?” In Theorizing Feminisms, ed., E. Hackett and S. Haslanger (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), pp. 16-23.
"What Are We Talking About? The Semantics and Politics of Social Kinds." Hypatia 20:4 (Fall 2005):10-26.
Abstract: Theorists “analyzing” the concepts of race and gender disagree over whether the terms refer to natural kinds, social kinds, or nothing at all. The question arises what we mean by the terms, and it is usually assumed that ordinary intuitions of native speakers are definitive. I argue that contemporary semantic externalism can usefully combine with insights from Foucauldian genealogy to challenge mainstream methods of analysis and lend credibility to social constructionist projects.
"You Mixed? Racial Identity without Racial Biology." In Adoption Matters: Philosophical and Feminist Essays, ed., Charlotte Witt and Sally Haslanger (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2005).
Abstract: If racial categories are to be understood as positions in a social structure (as I argue in "Gender and Race: (What) Are They?..."), then in principle one can be raced without incorporating that fact into one's self-understanding. How, then, should we understand racial identity? I argue that a common model (suggested by Ian Hacking and developed by Anthony Appiah) that analyzes racial identity in terms of the content of one's intentions to act (e.g., as a person of race R) is inadequate to capture a broad range of unintentional and even unconscious behavior that are plausibly relevant to one's identity. I offer an alternative proposal that takes into account unreflective, unintended, and unconscious aspects of racial embodiment.
"Future Genders? Future Races?" In Philosophic Exchange 34 (2003-4): 4-27.
"Oppressions: Racial and Other." In Racism in Mind, ed., Michael Levine and Tamas Pataki. (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2004).
“Racial Geographies,” in Families by Law: An Adoption Reader, ed., Naomi Cahn and Joan Hollinger. (New York: New York University Press, 2004), pp. 208-211.
"Social Construction: The "Debunking" Project." In Socializing Metaphysics, ed., Frederick Schmitt. (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield).
Abstract: In his book The Social Construction of What?, Ian Hacking offers a schema for understanding different social constructionist claims along with a framework for distinguishing kinds or degrees of constructionist projects. Hacking’s efforts are useful, but his account leaves many of the philosophical aspects of social construction projects obscure, as are the connections, if any, with more mainstream analytic philosophy projects. My goal in this paper is to argue that although Hacking’s approach to social construction is apt for some of those working on such projects, it does not adequately capture what’s at issue for an important range of social constructionists, particularly many of us working on gender and race. Moreover, a different way of understanding social construction reveals interesting connections and conflicts with mainstream analytic projects.
"Gender, Patriotism, and the Events of 9/11." Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice 15:4 (2003): 457-461.
"Persistence Through Time." In the Oxford Handbook in Metaphysics, ed. Michael Loux and Dean Zimmerman. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003).
Abstract: Things change: objects come into existence, last for awhile, go out of existence, move through space, change their parts, change their qualities, change in their relations to things. All this would seem to be uncontroversial. But philosophical attention to any of these phenomena can generate perplexity and has resulted in a number of longstanding puzzles. This essay reviews recent attempts to account for the persistence of things through change and defends the idea that it is possible for ordinary objects to endure. It expands on my previous work in the area by exploring how an eternalist, non-tenser who also believes in endurance, can respond to a number of criticisms attempting to show that this combination of views is untenable.
"Topics in Feminism", (With Nancy Tuana) The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring Edition, 2003), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2003/entries/feminism-topics/>.
"Feminism and Metaphysics: Negotiating the Natural." In the Cambridge Companion to Feminism in Philosophy, ed., M. Fricker and J. Hornsby. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), pp. 107-126.)
Abstract: Is there a place within feminist inquiry for metaphysics? Does feminist theory have anything to offer metaphysicians? My goal in this paper is to begin to answer these questions, with full awareness that both subject areas are too large, too multi-faceted, and too contested to capture comprehensively. However, if we take an aporematic approach to metaphysics, then we must acknowledge that what questions we ask, and what puzzles arise in our attempts to give answers is going to be, to some significant extent, a parochial matter: it will depend on cultural and historical context, broader theoretical needs, etc. In a social context in which sexist and racist views are widely held and institutionalized, there is a compelling need for theories that diagnose, explain, and replace the sexist and racist beliefs. We need not suppose that these theories will be gynocentric--in the sense that they privilege a special female or feminine perspective; rather, they are feminist insofar as they engage the realities of women's oppression with the goal of ending it. As these theories emerge, they may be relevant to metaphysics in two ways: feminist theories--including feminist moral and political theory and epistemology--may have repercussions that must be accommodated in our metaphysics; and feminist insights into the cultural/historical context of the metaphysical puzzles we consider may diffuse and/or replace them. I go on to consider a specific set of feminist arguments concerning the social construction of nature and, more specifically, the body, and argue that the sense in which such social construction is plausible, it is compatible with a "thin" metaphysical realism.
"Gender and Race: (What) Are They? (What) Do We Want Them To Be?" Noûs 34:1 (March 2000): 31-55.
Abstract: This paper proposes social constructionist accounts of gender and race. The focus of the inquiry--inquiry aiming to provide resources for feminist and antiracist projects--are the social positions of those marked for privilege or subordination by observed or imagined features assumed to be relevant to reproductive function, or geographical origins. I develop these ideas and propose that other gendered and racialized phenomena are usefully demarcated and explained by reference to these social positions. In doing so, I address the concern that attempts to define race or gender are misguided because they either assume a false commonality or marginalize some members of the group in question.
"What Knowledge Is and What It Ought To Be: Feminist Values and Normative Epistemology." Philosophical Perspectives 13 (1999): 459-480.
"Ontology and Social Construction." Philosophical Topics 23:2 (Fall 1995): 95-125.
"On Being Objective and Being Objectified." In A Mind of One's Own: Feminist Essays on Reason and Objectivity, 2nd edition. Edited by Louise M. Antony and Charlotte E. Witt. (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2002), pp. 209-253. Originally published in the 1st edition, (c) 1993.
"Ontology and Pragmatic Paradox." Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, New Series, Vol. 92 (1992), pp. 293-313.
"Endurance and Temporary Intrinsics." Analysis (1989) 49(3): 119-125.
"Persistence, Change, and Explanation." Philosophical Studies (1989) 56(1): 1-28.2a "
Other Essays, Book Reviews, etc.
"Academic Freedom and Freedom of Expression." MIT Faculty Newsletter (November/December 2021)
"The Problem with Philanthropy." Agora in The New Statesman, October 16, 2020
"On Sexism and Gender Bias." SHASS Election Insights, October 11, 2016.
"Is this Really Who We Are?" MIT Faculty Newletter (January/February 2016).
Class IV Induction Presentation, American Academy of Arts and Sciences Bulletin (Winter 2016).
Review of Sarah Richardson's Sex Itself: The Search for Male and Female in the Human Genome. In Hypatia Reviews Online.
"Comments on Sider's Four Dimensionalism." (for APA Session, Dec. 30, 2003) (c) Sally Haslanger, 1/30/04.
"Topics in Feminism." (with Nancy Tuana and Peg O'Connor). Entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Introduction to group of entries addressing different topics in feminism. Although there are many different and sometimes conflicting approaches to feminist philosophy, it is instructive to begin by asking what, if anything, feminists as a group are committed to. Considering some of the controversies over what feminism is provides a springboard for seeing how feminist commitments generate a host of philosophical topics, especially as those commitments confront the world as we know it. This link goes to the Stanford Encyclopedia Page which is updated periodically.
Comments on Charles Mills' "Race and the Social Contract Tradition." Presented at the Central APA, April 22, 2000. (c) Sally Haslanger, 4/22/00.
"Feminism and Metaphysics: Unmasking Hidden Ontologies." Published in the APA Newsletter on Feminism and Philosophy, spring 2000. (c) Sally Haslanger, 5/1/00.
last updated:29 August 2018