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December 1, 2019 / Congau

Feminist Philosophy

Most societies in history have been dominated by men. Women have usually been socially inferior with less influence and less opportunities. It was therefore not unreasonable that when ages of enlightenment dawned upon humankind during the last one or two centuries, this injustice was addressed.

There have been and are other oppressed groups as well – ethnic and racial subdivisions, professional groups, underprivileged castes, the poor – all with their worthy complaints, but few of them have formed a philosophy of their own. Feminism, however, has in many cases not stopped at attacking discrimination and promoting gender equality, it has rather elevated its struggle to a permanent ideology and even a philosophy. For ideological feminists, it wouldn’t be enough if all oppression of women ended, there would still be an irreconcilable antagonism between the two genders. Just like certain religions see the forces of nature in an eternal struggle between good and evil, some feminists seem to consider the gender division as an elementary cosmological fact overriding all other categories.

But although the gender dichotomy is certainly a biological fact of nature found in every animal specie on Earth, it can’t be the starting point of the pure thought of a philosophy. Whatever one sees as the prevailing force of nature in the philosophical sense, it must be something that is not just an accident of physical circumstances. It is completely imaginable that a rational creature could exist that was not divided into genders or had three or four genders. That creature would otherwise face much the same philosophical problems as humans do, so gender can’t be the most essential fact about human existence.

A philosophy is a system of thought grounded on one essential element. That is, the root of the system must be something that the thinker conceives of as absolutely necessary, a basic element that is ultimately not dependent on physical observation.

Feminism is a worthy struggle, but it’s not a philosophy in its own right. Philosophically it must be categorized under a world view that sees oppression and domination as the leading forces and gender as only one out of several other causes.

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