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Posts tagged ‘Susan Moller Okin’

Serene Khader's Decolonizing Universalism: A Transnational Feminist Ethic: Comment at the Eastern APA

These comments were originally presented at the Eastern American Philosophical Association in Philadelphia on January 9, 2020 at the satellite meeting of the Society for Philosophy in the Contemporary World.

I appreciate this book and am glad to have it in the world. Serene Khader canvasses a breadth of debates of multicultural and transnational feminism within the field. She frames possible objections and offers responses in many cases just as the reader begins to consider that objection and in other places where the raising of the objection clarifies Khader’s position. The book is highly readable both for non-academics and technically sophisticated for scholars. I taught the book in my feminist philosophy course that focused on transnational feminism this past semester and it became a touchstone for debates throughout the course. Khader offers nuanced frameworks that aim to be effective in on the ground transnational feminist activism. I have now read and reread this book three or four times and I can say that the initial objections have melted away as I have continued to sit with it, but I think there is still something in my initial concerns that I now think are about whether universalism can be decolonized within a liberal framework. Khader herself points to these questions. In conclusion, I’ll ask whether an alternative notion of universalism in a Marxist or post-Marxist vein is what Khader’s project invites.

I would sum up my remarks with four questions:

  1. Who is the book for?
  2. What work does the sense of universalism that Khader aims to recover do?
  3. What is the status of this account as non-ideal theory?
  4. Can universalism be decolonized within a liberal framework?
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Friendship, Part II: Aristotle and Romantic Friendship

Cross-posted from Genetic Method.

In my last post on friendship, I responded to my friend Ashley Vaught’s questions about the role of proximity in friendship in Aristotle.  I  consider some questions there about whether virtue friendship is possible when we are still on the way to becoming completely virtuous.  I was left wondering how we can ever become virtuous if we need friends to become virtuous but we can’t be virtue friends before we are completely virtuous.  Perhaps it isn’t just that friendship is impossible, but rather that our friends who help us become virtuous must be more virtuous than we are.  One possibility is that virtue in Aristotle unlike in Plato can be partial and always underway since virtue is practiced and requires a practice of ethical perception which is then limited based on our individual habits of seeing.  Against the view that friends become virtuous and then become capable of having complete and virtuous friendships with us, I think that Aristotelian virtue friends make us have more complete virtue because together we can see better, ethically speaking.  It is not lost on me that my exchange with Ashley over friendship in Aristotle illustrates how friends help us see more and better.  I appreciate the meta-ness of that more and better being about how friends help us see more and better.

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