Sunday, January 29, 2012

Pun and Crime-ishment

Apologies for the silly heading, but I have just read what is hands down better than the best three things I have ever seen on the subject of incarceration and crime in the U.S. Adam Gopnik's "The Caging of America" in the January 30th New Yorker magazine is something all citizens should read on pain of solitary confinement until they do.

(WR) The Map is Not the Territory

Biblical Scholar Rachael Havrelock on lines in the sand:
"When we as scholars look at the Bible, we don't see a uniform document, but instead we have collated traditions and documents and political ideas that come from very different quarters. So, some of the sources in the Bible come from really different historical periods, and some of the sources in the Bible come from really different ideological or political schools. So, there were about five different "maps" as it were that emerged from the Hebrew Bible. Now there are no cartographic maps - it's all words. But there are boundary lists, which is the ancient Hebrew way of talking about space and imagining it. So, there are these five different maps: one of them reaches all the way to the Euphrates River [in present-day Iraq]; one of them ends at the Jordan River; one of them encompasses both sides of the [Jordan] River Valley; one of them is a very constricted area around Jerusalem; and one of them is a very fluid regional model where national groups or tribal groups aren't really so discreet, but rather they overlap and have competing claims ..."

Friday, January 27, 2012

(WP) Aristotle on Women's Reason

As a careful observer often able to overcome his own preconceptions, Aristotle may well have known intelligent and articulate Athenian women, and accurately observed that they could indeed reason as well as men. His analysis of (citizen) gender difference, since he is not disposed to challenge the status quo but only to describe it, must therefore rest on something other than natural ability. To the extent that the state of affairs in which men seldom took women seriously seemed natural or inevitable to him, "women's reason lacks authority" seemed to settle the question of what the difference was.

We can surely fault Aristotle for not seeing this state of affairs as something demanding reform rather than complacent description. But we can also, reading charitably, be impressed that he had the character to admit that women can reason, and we can see that the error might stem less from active misogyny (ALL Greek men were at least passive misogynists, after all) than from an epistemic risk embedded in all empirical inquiries.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

(WR, WP) Enforcing Modesty

Recent NY Times editorial of interest to both Women and Philosophy and World Religions:
I welcome short comments here, or (if you are a course blogger) you might put a note here referring people to your blog, and start a discussion there.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

(WP) Film/Discussion

Of interest to everyone, but of particular relevance to all of us in Women and Philosophy, is Tuesday evening's screening and discussion of MissRepresentation, 7-9 pm in Sullivan Lounge. I hope to see you there.

Monday, January 2, 2012

(WP) Toying with Gender

Good piece in last Saturday's New York Times by Peggy Orenstein:
An excerpt: "At issue, then, is not nature or nurture but how nurture becomes nature: the environment in which children play and grow can encourage a range of aptitudes or foreclose them. So blithely indulging — let alone exploiting — stereotypically gendered play patterns may have a more negative long-term impact on kids’ potential than parents imagine."