Deze week trok een artikel van prof. Rae Langton in The New York Times mijn aandacht. Ze zet er op een heldere en pittige manier in uiteen waarom er zo weinig vrouwelijke filosofen in de geschiedenis van de filosofie te vinden zijn en vooral ook waarom de pertinente vragen die ze aan grote filosofen stelden tot op heden onbeantwoord bleven. Een gemiste kans voor de filosofie van verleden, heden en toekomst, noemt ze dat.
Philosophy is often introduced through its history, beginning with Socrates, who banished the weeping women, as prelude to the real business of philosophizing. Other banishments followed, so it can be tempting to see an unbroken all-male succession, as course lists (including my own) still testify. That part too is misleading. Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia, in her notable correspondence with Descartes, offered the most enduring objection to Descartes’ dualism: How can immaterial mind and material body interact? She is puzzlingly absent from standard editions that include his contemporary critics. Maria von Herbert provoked a deep question for Kant: is moral perfection compatible with utter apathy? She is puzzlingly absent from the latest Kant biography and her letters survive elsewhere for their gossip value (sex! suicide!). With omissions like these we let down philosophers of past, present and future. We feed the stereotype, and the biases Descartes despised. One more joke then: “How many feminists does it take to change a light bulb?” “It’s not the light bulb that needs changing.” via The New York Times
Rae Langton is a professor of philosophy at the University of Cambridge and a fellow of Newnham College. She taught at Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 2004 to 2012. Her most recent book, “Sexual Solipsism: Philosophical Essays on Pornography and Objectification,” was published by Oxford University Press in 2009.