Analytical feminism

Analytical feminism is a line of philosophy that applies analytic concepts and methods to feminist issues and applies feminist concepts and insights to issues that have traditionally been of interest to analytic philosophers. Like all feminists, analytical feminists insist on recognizing and contesting sexism and androcentrism.[1]


The term “analytical feminism” dates back to the early 1990s when the Society for Analytical Feminism was opened in at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.[2] It is used as an opportunity to discuss and examine issues concerning analytical feminism, in part to contrast the more prevalent influences of postmodernism and post-structuralism, and also to demonstrate that analytic philosophy is neither inherently or irredeemably male-biased. Analytic feminists have attempted to rehabilitate certain key concepts, such as truth, reason, objectivity, agency and autonomy, both because they are normatively compelling as well as in some ways liberating and empowering for women. Not limited to these concepts, analytical feminism has contributed to the historical arena of analytic philosophy such as the philosophy of language, epistemology, metaphysics and the philosophy of science.[3]

In 1995, the American philosophical magazine Hypatia published a special issue[4] clarifying the meaning of analytic feminism in the mainstream Anglo-American analytical context and in the range of feminist philosophical positions. In this issue, the authors such as Ann Cudd of the University of Kansas, Ann Garry of California State University Los Angeles, and Lynn Hankinson Nelson of the University of Washington proposed that analytic feminism typically was unrecognized and somewhat depreciated by not only analytical philosophers but academic feminist agenda as well.[5] Considered a sub-category of both analytic philosophy, and feminism, analytic feminism acknowledge the philosophical traditions of both fields while simultaneously addressing prominent issues within said fields.

Philosophical approach

Analytical feminism, as defined by Ann E. Cudd: "Analytic feminism holds that the best way to counter sexism and androcentrism is through forming a clear conception of and pursuing truth, logical consistency, objectivity, rationality, justice, and the good while recognising that these notions have often been perverted by androcentrism throughout the history of philosophy." (1996: 20) Analytic feminists engage the literature traditionally thought of as analytic philosophy, but also draw on other traditions in philosophy as well as work by feminists working in other disciplines, especially sociology and biology. They, like most analytic philosophers, value clarity and precision in argument and tend to use more rigorously structured logical and linguistic analysis in reaching their conclusions and positions as compared to other philosophical approaches.

The majority of philosophers, including feminist philosophers, have at least some formal training in analytic philosophy, with some possessing extensive education and experience regarding analyticity. There has been a conscious effort to use the word ‘analytical’, the reason being that within the field of philosophy there is sometimes an inclination to assume all feminist work as tied to other methods to philosophy, whereas upon review much of the work in feminism is closer in method to analytic conventions.[6]

According to most analytic feminists, the best method for scholars to counter sexism and androcentrism in their respective areas of inquiry is by forming a clear conception of and practicing logical consistency and neutrality.[7]


Even though analytical feminists retain only some traditional concepts, it is not doctrinaire—indeed, there is even a spirit of contrarianism within it. Nevertheless, analytic feminists share a thing that we may call a "core desire" rather than a core principle, that is to say, the need to hold on to enough of the essential normative notions of the modern European tradition to aid the kind of normativity which is necessary for both feminist political theory and philosophy. This "core desire" finds its appearance by means of the core concepts of analytical feminism.[8]

Bridge building

Analytic feminists' use of core ideas and their excerpt to the work of traditional analytic philosophers permit them to communicate with and build bridges amongst different types of scholars, for example, traditional analytic philosophers, other feminist philosophers, and, in some cases, scientists or scholars in social studies.[9]

Reconstructing philosophy

One tenet of analytic feminism holds that if philosophers positions are applicable universally, they must be usable by men and women alike, and from a range of social situations. This is a basis for what can be considered the reconstruction of philosophy via analytic feminism. This approach, which somewhat mirrors the construction of feminist philosophy tradition, attempts to limit the creation of areas or categories of philosophy that apply to only some women and feminists. It's an attempt to apply to 'all' (men and women) instead of 'some' (women and/or feminists) with specific examples of topics being feminine ethics, gynocentric ethics, or lesbian ethics. The basis for this universal approach would be an analytic feminist ethics and metaphysics which would create and establish a new criterion of adequacy for the fields of ethics and metaphysics. The goal of Miranda Fricker and Jennifer Hornsby, editors of The Cambridge Companion to Feminism in Philosophy, is to have this position included in the mainstream of the discipline (Fricker and Hornsby 2000).

Not basing the approach on any 'essential' characteristics, be they experiences or otherwise, it can maintain the importance of a variety of perspectives, while crafting a 'working' theory. 'Working' is defined as being particularly inclusive, of both men and women, but also simultaneously eliminating oppressive consequences. A wide range of experiences, interests, and background must be reflected with the theory 'working' only if it is applicable to all these issues and concerns.

There are a variety of approaches regarding the reconstruction of philosophy within analytic feminism. Some philosophers, such as Bailey (Bailey 2010) and Gary (Garry 2012), include the use of intersectionality in their approach. Miranda Fricker (2007) and Kristie Dotson (2011) make use of concept of Privilege (social inequality) in theirs, particularly with regard to epistemic ignorance and epistemic injustice.[10] In 2018, Alice Crary offered a critique of some of these recent trends in analytic feminism.[11]


  1. ^ Ann E. Cudd. "One Woman's Attempt at a Definition". Archived from the original on 2012-03-24.
  2. ^ Norco College - Riverside Community College District. "Society for Analytical Feminism".
  3. ^ Monash University Publishing. "History of Analytical Feminism".
  4. ^ "Hypatia-Special Issue: Analytic Feminism-August 1995". Hypatia. 10 (3). 1995. doi:10.1111/hypa.1995.10.issue-3.
  5. ^ Alessandra Allegrini. "THE NATURALISM QUESTION. HOW TO RE-THINK THE ANALYTIC – CONTINENTAL DICOTHOMY FROM A FEMINIST EPISTEMOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE". Archived from the original on 2011-09-28. Retrieved 2011-06-14.
  6. ^ Samantha J., Brennan; Anita M., Superson (2005). Hypatia. pp. 1–9. ISSN 0887-5367.
  7. ^ bookrags. "Analytic Feminism".
  8. ^ Nelson, Jack; Nelson, Lynn Hankinson (2003). Feminist Interpretations of W. V. Quine (2003 ed.). ISBN 978-0-271-02295-6.
  9. ^ Moulton, Janice (1989). Women, knowledge, and reality: explorations in feminist philosophy (1996 ed.). ISBN 978-0-415-90712-5.
  10. ^ Ann, Garry, (September 2010). Analytic Feminism (Spring 2011 ed.). ISBN 978-1-158-37777-0.
  11. ^ Crary, Alice. "The methodological is political: What’s the matter with ‘analytic feminism’?" Radical Philosophy RP 2.02, June 2018

External links

Anita Superson

Anita Superson is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Kentucky. She was also the visiting Churchill Humphrey and Alex P. Humphrey Professor of Feminist Philosophy at the University of Waterloo during the winter term of 2013.

Ann Cudd

Ann E. Cudd is Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor & Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh. From August 2015-August 2018, She was Dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences at Boston University. She was formerly Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Studies as well as the University Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of Kansas. She is also an affiliated faculty member with the Women, Gender, and Sexualities Studies Program. Cudd is one of the founders of analytical feminism, was a founding member of the Society for Analytical Feminism, and served as its president from 1995-1999.

Feminist philosophy

Feminist philosophy is an approach to philosophy from a feminist perspective and also the employment of philosophical methods to feminist topics and questions. Feminist philosophy involves both reinterpreting philosophical texts and methods in order to supplement the feminist movement and attempts to criticise or re-evaluate the ideas of traditional philosophy from within a feminist framework.

International relations theory

International relations theory is the study of international relations (IR) from a theoretical perspective. It attempts to provide a conceptual framework upon which international relations can be analyzed. Ole Holsti describes international relations theories as acting like pairs of coloured sunglasses that allow the wearer to see only salient events relevant to the theory; e.g., an adherent of realism may completely disregard an event that a constructivist might pounce upon as crucial, and vice versa. The three most prominent theories are realism, liberalism and constructivism. Sometimes, institutionalism proposed and developed by Keohane and Nye is discussed as an paradigm differed from liberalism.

International relations theories can be divided into "positivist/rationalist" theories which focus on a principally state-level analysis, and "post-positivist/reflectivist" ones which incorporate expanded meanings of security, ranging from class, to gender, to postcolonial security. Many often conflicting ways of thinking exist in IR theory, including constructivism, institutionalism, Marxism, neo-Gramscianism, and others. However, two positivist schools of thought are most prevalent: realism and liberalism.

The study of international relations, as theory, can be traced to E. H. Carr's The Twenty Years' Crisis, which was published in 1939, and to Hans Morgenthau's Politics Among Nations published in 1948. International relations, as a discipline, is believed to have emerged after the First World War with the establishment of a Chair of International Relations at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. Early international relations scholarship in the interwar years focused on the need for the balance of power system to be replaced with a system of collective security. These thinkers were later described as "Idealists". The leading critique of this school of thinking was the "realist" analysis offered by Carr.

However, a more recent study, by David Long and Brian Schmidt in 2005, offers a revisionist account of the origins of the field international relations. They claim that the history of the field can be traced back to late 19th Century imperialism and internationalism. The fact that the history of the field is presented by "great debates", such as the realist-idealist debate, does not correspond with the historic evidence found in earlier works: "We should once and for all dispense with the outdated anachronistic artifice of the debate between the idealists and realists as the dominant framework for and understanding the history of the field". Their revisionist account claims that, up until 1918, international relations already existed in the form of colonial administration, race science, and race development.A clear distinction is made between explanatory and constitutive approaches when classifying international relations theories. Explanatory theories are ones which postulates the world is something external to theorize about. A constitutive theory is one which suggest that theories actually help construct the world.

List of political ideologies

In social studies, a political ideology is a certain set of ethical ideals, principles, doctrines, myths or symbols of a social movement, institution, class or large group that explains how society should work and offers some political and cultural blueprint for a certain social order. A political ideology largely concerns itself with how to allocate power and to what ends it should be used. Some political parties follow a certain ideology very closely while others may take broad inspiration from a group of related ideologies without specifically embracing any one of them. The popularity of an ideology is in part due to the influence of moral entrepreneurs, who sometimes act in their own interests. Political ideologies have two dimensions: (1) goals: how society should be organized; and (2) methods: the most appropriate way to achieve this goal.

An ideology is a collection of ideas. Typically, each ideology contains certain ideas on what it considers to be the best form of government (e.g. autocracy or democracy) and the best economic system (e.g. capitalism or socialism). The same word is sometimes used to identify both an ideology and one of its main ideas. For instance, socialism may refer to an economic system, or it may refer to an ideology which supports that economic system. The same term may also be used to refer to multiple ideologies and that is why political scientists try to find consensus definitions for these terms. While the terms have been conflated at times, communism has come in common parlance and in academics to refer to Soviet-type regimes and Marxist–Leninist ideologies whereas socialism has come to refer to a wider range of differing ideologies which are distinct from Marxism–Leninism.Political ideology is a term fraught with problems, having been called "the most elusive concept in the whole of social science". While ideologies tend to identify themselves by their position on the political spectrum (such as the left, the centre or the right), they can be distinguished from political strategies (e.g. populism as it is commonly defined) and from single issues around which a party may be built (e.g. civil libertarianism and support or opposition to European integration), although either of these may or may not be central to a particular ideology. There are several studies that show that political ideology is heritable within families.The following list is strictly alphabetical and attempts to divide the ideologies found in practical political life into a number of groups, with each group containing ideologies that are related to each other. The headers refer to names of the best-known ideologies in each group. The names of the headers do not necessarily imply some hierarchical order or that one ideology evolved out of the other. Instead, they are merely noting that the ideologies in question are practically, historically and ideologically related to each other. As such, one ideology can belong to several groups and there is sometimes considerable overlap between related ideologies. The meaning of a political label can also differ between countries and political parties often subscribe to a combination of ideologies.

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