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 (September 2019)
Phil Papers Profile
ORCID ID: 0000-0002-3898-4266
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 (September 2019)
Phil Papers Profile
ORCID ID: 0000-0002-3898-4266
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."
Selected chapters edited and translated into German by Daniel James. Der Realität Widerstehen: Soziale Konstruktion und Sozialkritik, Forthcoming from Suhrkamp.
Author Meets Critics session on Resisting Reality at the Pacific APA 2013.
Response to Charles Mills (handout). Mills' comments published here.
Response to Karen Jones (handout). Jones' comments published here.
My published response in Philosophical Studies.
Reviews of Resisting Reality:
Michael D. Burroughs. 2014. Social Theory and Practice 40(1): 145-152.
Theodore Bach. 2014. Ethics.
Mari Mikkola. 2013. Hypatia.
Kristina Lepold. 2013. Zietschrift für Philosophische Literatur.
Alessandra Tanesini. 2013. Radical Philosophy.
Michael Root. 2013. Analysis.
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).
Reviews of Adoption Matters:
Sandra Patton-Imani. 2005. Perspectives on Politics 3(4): 874-875.
Hilde Lindeman. 2006. The Philosophical Review, Vol. 115, No. 4 (Oct., 2006), pp. 546-548.
Debra Satz. 2007. “Remaking Families: A Review Essay.” Signs 32(2): 523-538.
Åsa Carlson. 2007. Theoria 73(4): 554-58.
Cricket Keating. 2007. “Relationality and the Politics of Resistance.” Political Theory 35(1): 78-84.
Suki Ali. 2007. Feminist Theory 8(1): 105-107.
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.
Doing Justice to the Social
The project has two central themes. One is that philosophers, at least in mainstream Anglo-American philosophy, have paid insufficient attention to the social domain. The focus is on persons (individual minds, action, and speech), or on the state, which is conceptualized as “bigger” kind of individual. The roles of culture and cultural norms are often ignored. This has left us with impoverished explanatory and normative theories and few resources to address problems of social injustice that don’t have state solutions. The book will develop resources for thinking about the ontological, epistemological, and political dimensions of the social. The second theme is that a renewed conception of ideology and ideology critique is helpful in conceptualizing the role of culture, and in situating social justice as 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.
Titles in bold indicate that the linked paper is the published version. Be aware that until the paper is published, the text may change.
"Taking a Stand: Second-Order Pathologies or First Order Critique?" Forthcoming in a festschrift for Axel Honneth, ed., Julia Christ, Kristina Lepold, Daniel Loick and Titus Stahl.
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.
"Failures of Individualism: The Materiality of Social Systems." Forthcoming in the Journal of Social Philosophy.
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.
"How Not to Change the Subject." Forthcoming in Shifting Concepts: The Philosophy and Psychology of Conceptual Variability, ed., Teresa Marques and Åsa Wikforss, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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.
"Why I Don't Believe in Patriarchy: Comments on Kate Manne's Down Girl." Forthcoming in a symposium on Down Girl for Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
"Practical Reason and Social Practices." - Forthcoming in the Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Practical Reason, ed. Ruth Chang and Kurt Sylvan. New York: Routledge.
"Going On, Not in the Same Way" - Forthcoming in Conceptual Ethics and Conceptual Engineering, ed. Alexis Burgess, Herman Cappelen, and David Plunkett. OUP.
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.
"Social Explanation: Structures, Stories, and Ontology: A reply to Díaz Léon, Saul, and Sterken." 2016 Nomos Symposium. Forthcoming in Disputatio Vol. X No. 50.
"Cognition as a Social Skill" - to be published in the Australasian Philosophy Review. My reply to commentators: "Agency within Structure, and Warranted Resistance."
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.
"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.
"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.
last updated:29 August 2018