Underappreciated Articles By Women Philosophers 2008-2018
In honor of International Women’s Day, I’d like to open up a space for readers to identify articles by women philosophers published over the past 10 years that they think warrant more attention than they’ve gotten.
Journal articles and chapter contributions to edited volumes are both welcome. The idea is to signal boost possibly overlooked work, so pointers to work published in less familiar or popular venues would be great.
Please include the title, author, and, if possible, a link to the article (or at least an abstract of it). Brief comments about why you’ve chosen it are encouraged.
P.S. If you are thinking of contributing something else to the comments here besides what’s being asked for, please see this first.
“On Essentially Conflicting Desires” by Patricia Marino. 2009.
Philosophical Quarterly 59(235): 274-291
This article is on a very common phenomenon—conflicting desires—and, in my view, successfully defends a view most philosophers may initially be inclined to resist. It has also been overlooked by some subsequent high-profile work related to conflicting desires (for example, work on regret).
Abstract: It is sometimes argued that having inconsistent desires is irrational or otherwise bad for an agent. If so, if agents seem to want a and not‐a, then either their attitudes are being misdescribed—what they really want is some aspect x of a and some aspect y of not‐a—or those desires are somehow ‘inconsistent’ and thus inappropriate. I argue first that the proper characterization of inconsistency here does not involve logical form, that is, whether the desires involved have the form ‘a and not‐a’, but rather the possibility of fulfilling all one’s desires; and secondly, that the ‘essential’ conflicts involved in such inconsistencies are quite common and no worse for an agent than contingent conflicts. I draw implications concerning moral epistemology, moral realism and the logic of attitudes.Report
Eleonore Stump’s “Wandering in Darkness: Narrative and the Problem of Suffering” is a work of genius. (Easily found on Amazon.) See also her fantastic paper “Aquinas on Atonement.”
Same with Lynnne Rudder-Baker’s “Naturalism and the First-Person Perspective.” (Easily found on Amazon.)
Finally, Lorraine Keller’s “The Argument from Intentionality (Or Aboutness)” in “Two Dozen (or So) Arguments for God: The Plantinga Project” is brilliant. (Easily found on Amazon.)Report
Forgot to provide my explanation for why I picked them: they are super good and the authors are women. Not sure what more to say to justify the choices.Report
“Same with Lynnne Rudder-Baker’s “Naturalism and the First-Person Perspective.” (Easily found on Amazon.)”
From the FW/MR (and adjacent) literature:
Jacqui Poltera, “Is Ambivalence an Agential Vice?” Philosophical Explorations (2010).
Hanna Pickard, “Psychopathology and the Ability to do Otherwise,” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (2015).
Krista K. Thomason, “Shame, Violence, and Morality,” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (2015).
Jada Twedt Strabbing, “Responsibility and Judgment,” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (2016).
Monique Wonderly, “Love and Attachment,” American Philosophical Quarterly (2017).Report
Noa Shein, THE FALSE DICHOTOMY BETWEEN OBJECTIVE
AND SUBJECTIVE INTERPRETATIONS OF SPINOZA’S
THEORY OF ATTRIBUTES, Brit J Hist Phil, 2009.
This powerfully argues against the orthodox interpretation of a critical point in Spinoza’s metaphysics–an orthodoxy based on thin and shaky arguments.Report
There have been a lot of first rate articles published about women philosophers in Early Modern Philosophy. I’ll just mention one, Marcy Lascano, “Bodies in the Spiritual World” about Anne Conway, Philosophy Compass, 13 March 2013, in the hopes that others will add more.Report
Rebekka Hufendiek, “Affordances and the Normativity of Emotions”
(One of the best papers in analytic philosophy of emotion that I’ve read.)
Abstract: The normativity of emotions is a widely discussed phenomenon. So far embodied accounts have not paid sufficient attention to the various aspects of the normativity of emotions. In this paper it shall be pointed out that embodied accounts are constrained in the way they can account for the normativity of emotions due to their commitments to naturalism, externalism, and anti-vehicle-internalism. One way to account for the normativity of emotions within a naturalist framework is to describe the intentional objects of emotions as affordances that are of value for the organism. These affordances are part of a biological and social environment we are situated in, and they stand in complex relations to each other and to skillful organisms. I suggest that describing these relations can replace vehicle-internalist approaches but still account for the normativity of emotions within a naturalist framework.Report
In philosophy of perception, philosophy of mind, the following come immediately to mind as papers that haven’t gotten the kudos they deserve (and the same could be said of the authors):
Kathrin Gluer, “In Defence of a Doxastic Account of Experience,” Mind and Language 2009.
Kathrin Gluer and Asa Wikforrs, “Against Content Normativity,” Mind 2009.
Fiona Macpherson, “The Power of Natural Selection,” Journal of Consciousness Studies, 2002.
Diana Raffman, “Is Twelve Tone Music Artistically Defective?” Midwest Studies in Philosophy, 2003.
Diana Raffman, “Borderline Cases and Bivalence,” Philosophical Review, 2005.Report
Sorry I didn’t see the last ten years stipulation.Report
Two excellent works on territory, a super under-theorized area even in light of stuff like Margaret Moore’s new book:
Catala, Amandine. “Remedial theories of secession and territorial justification.” Journal of Social Philosophy 44.1 (2013): 74-94.
Nine, Cara. “Compromise, democracy and territory.” Irish Journal of Sociology 20.2 (2012): 91-110.Report
Jennifer Wang’s “Actualist Counterpart Theory”, Journal of Philosophy
Iris Einheuser’s “Inner and Outer Truth”, Philosopher’s ImprintReport
Julianne Chung, “Taking Skepticism Seriously: How the Zhuang-Zi can Inform Contemporary Epistemology,” Comparative Philosophy 8.2 (2017), 3-29. [http://scholarworks.sjsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1222&context=comparativephilosophy]
This is a terrific piece of epistemology, bringing a cross-cultural perspective to bear on contemporary discussions of skepticism.Report
I’ve been influenced a lot by Erin Eaker’s “A New Starting Place for the Semantics of Belief Sentences” in The Philosophy of David Kaplan (OUP 2009). And also “Keeping Attitude Metaphysics out of Attitude Ascription Semantics (and Vice Versa)” in New Essays on Belief (Palgrave 2013). They deserve more attention, though they’re both in anthologies and so kinda touch to find. Very briefly, she argues against the view that the semantic function of belief reports is to relate a subject to a belief content in a way that reflects the role that the belief plays in the subject’s reasoning and behavior.Report
Marij van Strien (2015) “Vital instability: Life and free will in physics and physiology, 1860–1880” Annals of Science https://scholar.google.com/scholar?cluster=5928103155254769109
Very clearly written article on a very cool topic: it shows how 19th century thinkers tried to exploit a loophole in physics to allow free will.Report
Everything by Mellissa McBay Merritt – fantastic stuff on Kant. e.g.:
Analysis in the Critique of Pure Reason. Melissa Mcbay Merritt – 2007 – Kantian Review 12 (1):61-89. https://philpapers.org/rec/MERAIT
Reflection, Enlightenment, and the Significance of Spontaneity in Kant. Melissa McBay Merritt – 2009 – British Journal for the History of Philosophy 17 (5):981-1010. https://philpapers.org/rec/MERREA
Kant’s Argument for the Apperception Principle. Melissa McBay Merritt – 2011 – European Journal of Philosophy 19 (1):59-84. https://philpapers.org/rec/MERKAF
Varieties of Reflection in Kant’s Logic. Melissa McBay Merritt – 2015 – British Journal for the History of Philosophy 23 (3):478-501. https://philpapers.org/rec/MERVORReport
Seconded. I like “Attention and Synthesis in Kant’s Conception of Experience” by Melissa Merritt & Markos Valaris https://philpapers.org/rec/MELAAS-2Report
– Hannah Arendt: “On Violence” (the role violent action plays on human affairs).
– Julia Annas: “Being Virtuous and Doing the Right Thing” (excellent defense of Aristotle’s ethics in reply to the criticisms against it).
-Sandra Lee Bartky: “Narcissism, Femininity and Alienation” (on conflicts within feminism).
-Iris Young: “Lived Body VS. Gender” (for understanding gender and its relation to our environment/each other/ourselves).Report
Steinvör Thöll Árnadóttir’s “Bodily Thought and the Corpse Problem”: https://philpapers.org/rec/RNABTA (chosen for its novel approach to a problem in personal identity theories)
Sidney Carls-Diamante’s, “The octopus and the unity of consciousness”: https://philpapers.org/rec/CARTOA-11 (chosen for the way it undermines the assumption that the numerical identity (singularity) of individuals is justified by the singularity of consciousness)Report
Two more worth mentioning:
Drayson’s “The personal/subpersonal distinction” (2014)
Fridland’s “They’ve lost control: Refections on skill” (2014)Report
I quite liked Irene McMullin’s paper, “Kant on Radical Evil and the Origin of Moral Responsibility”, Kantian Review, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 49-72 (2013).Report
Cathy Sutton’s “Against Maximality Principles”, for her killer counterexamples to maximality constraints on ordinary-object kinds. Every metaphysician should know these examples! https://philpapers.org/rec/SUTATMReport
Katalin Farkas’ work in philosophy of mind is excellent.
Her book The Subject’s Point of View (2008) is a concise and elegant defense of a deeply internalist view of the mind.
And her article “Constructing a World for the Senses” deserves much more attention than it has received so far.
The article was printed in Uriah Kriegel (ed.), Phenomenal Intentionality. Oxford University Press. pp. 99-115 (2013)
It is an integral part of the phenomenology of mature perceptual experience that it seems to present to us an experience-independent world. I shall call this feature ‘perceptual intentionality’. In this paper, I argue that perceptual intentionality is constructed by the structure of more basic sensory features, features that are not intentional themselves. This theory can explain why the same sensory feature can figure both in presentational and non-presentational experiences. There is a fundamental difference between the intentionality of sensory experiences and the intentionality of thoughts: unlike the former, the latter is not constructed.Report
Chomsky’s 1959 review of Skinner changed history. My 2014 review of Chomsky’s “The Science of Language” remains mostly ignored. I am NOT claiming people should agree with it but it is curious that they do not mention it. Perhaps because I am a woman?
Behme, Christina (2014) A ‘Galilean’ science of language. Journal of Linguistics 50, 3, 671-704
The Science of Language, published in the sixth decade of Noam Chomsky’s linguistic career, defends views that are visibly out of touch with recent research in formal linguistics, developmental child psychology, computational modeling of language acquisition, and language evolution. I argue that the poor quality of this volume is representative of the serious shortcomings of Chomsky’s recent scholarship, especially of his criticism of and contribution to debates about language evolution. Chomsky creates the impression that he is quoting titbits of a massive body of scientific work he has conducted or is intimately familiar with. Yet his speculations reveal a lack of even basic understanding of biology, and an unwillingness to engage seriously with the relevant literature. At the same time, he ridicules the work of virtually all other theorists, without spelling out the views he disagrees with. A critical analysis of the ‘Galilean method’ demonstrates that Chomsky uses appeal to authority to insulate his own proposals against falsification by empirical counter-evidence. This form of discourse bears no serious relation to the way science proceeds.
Audrey Yap (2014). Idealization, epistemic logic, and epistemology. Synthese, 191(14), 3351-3366.
Should be read by all epistemic logicians and epistemologists.Report
One of my favorite exchanges is Sara Moss’s “On the Pragmatics of Counterfactuals” and Karen Lewis’s “Counterfactual Discourse in Context”.
In “Expressing Second-order Sentences in Intuitionistic Dependence Logic” (2013), Fan Yang proved the expressive equivalence of intuitionistic dependence logic and classical second-order logic — roughly speaking establishing an equation “branching quantifiers + Heyting conditionals = second order logic,” a sort of e^(pi*i) = -1 of quantification theory. My impression is that this beautifully presented, startling result is not terribly well-known.Report
I enjoyed reading Charity Anderson’s “On the Intimate Relationship of Knowledge and Action” (2015) Episteme. It’s a very careful, clear, and well-written critique of pragmatic encroachment.
Holly Andersen, “Patterns, Information, and Causation,” Journal of Philosophy 114 (11):592-622 (2017). Brilliant causal theory sensitive to both scientific and metaphysical concerns.Report
Not necessarily underappreciated but:
Gina Schouten, “Restricting Justice: Political Interventions in the Home and in the Market”, Philosophy and Public Affairs, Volume 41, Issue 4, Fall 2013, Pages 357–388
Also, and this is a bit awkward because its in a volume I edited (but that’s how I know it so well), everyone who teaches philosophy — in fact everyone who teachers in the humanities and interpretative social sciences — ought to read:
Kyla Ebels-Duggan, “Autonomy as an Intellectual Virtue”, in The Aims of Higher Education: Problems of Morality and Justice, edited by Brighouse and McPherson, University of Chicago Press, 2015.
Same volume has chapters by Amy Gutmann about the purposes of higher education and Erin Kelly about the structures of universities that should be widely read too.Report
Schier, Elizabeth. (2009). “Identifying Phenomenal Consciousness.” Consciousness and Cognition 18(2) pp.216-22
chosen because it changed my mind about vehicle theories of consciousness, after reading this i became convicned that such theories are testableReport
It’s like a positive wave of feminist power these days. Nice way to appreciate women in science by your article. Hope art will be the next chapter and one Kunstbuchverlag (publisher of art books) starts this new age in art aswell. https://www.kerberverlag.com/en/. Because women did so many impressive projects in history so far! Greetings from GermanyReport