Female wisdom

To The Daily Telegraph

You report that the University of Oxford wants 40% of its philosophy reading list to consist of work by female philosophers. I see no reason in principle why sexism should not be combated by such a tactic, and it may succeed in what is presumably its main aim of bringing more women to philosophy. There is, however, an unintended consequence: the reading list will become skewed towards philosophers of the late 20th and 21st centuries. As far as philosophy is concerned, this is a worse bias than sexism: women do not philosophise very differently from men, but recent philosophers do philosophise very differently from former ones, and for the most part (if I may venture a personal opinion) not nearly so effectively.
Dr Alex Abercrombie, Fishguard, Pembrokeshire
(The Week 24 March 2018)

There is a “philosophic” manner of talking philosophically which all professionals seem to indulge in.  My experience is that as soon as most people address “modern philosophy” they dive into a mumbo-jumbo that might well impress their academic peers, but is hard work for human beings.

But let me not be too negative.  Somewhere out there there might be female philosphers who can make it all come alive and even fun.  So bring them on!  Maybe they will encourage us to abandon the Oxford English Dictionary, a must at present, and talk English.  Who knows?  The problem is that they will want to be taken seriously by the male philosophers.

And this is an Epicurus blog!  When I started this blog I wanted to write in ordinary, comprehensible English about issues of the day that everyone understood, and try as best I could to suggest what Epicurus might have said were he alive today.  This is just one minor attempt to make the subject accessible.  But the fact is that you are reading it – and it doesn’t matter if it is written by a male or a female, does it?

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