Monday, February 27, 2012

Philosophy's Blind Spot

I just received a promo textbook for teaching Intro to Phil. It contains 34 excerpts from primary texts. Five of those cover Hinduism and Buddhism. One of them is by a woman--a literary theorist writing about feminist aesthetics. Well, the world's population includes a whole lot of Hindus and Buddhists.

3 comments:

Jason Hills said...

Is the compendium historical or recent? I can see why that might occur in historic work, in which case "blind spot" might better be phrased "blinded spot."

Evelyn Brister said...

Fundamentals of Philosophy, published by Pearson, edited by Stewart, Blocker, and Petrick. Like many Intro texts, it includes some historical primary material (Aristotle), some commentary on historical material, and some contemporary material. Of the living authors, I don't recognize most of the names. For topics like "human rights," it would be not difficult at all to include a female author.

In fact, in this case as in so many others, women are under-represented relative to their rate of scholarly productivity. It becomes likely that the pattern (in general, but not definitive in any particular case) indicates that editors either pick A) the same readings that have become canonized in other books, or B) readings written by people in their own social networks. B) becomes pernicious when women (and others who don't fit a standard image of a philosopher) are left out of those networks.

Catherine Hundleby said...

arg!!! I just looked at another that looked pretty promising from Hackett. It was great except.... no women!! ok two, out of about 40.