PHIL 242 - ““The Feminist Standpoint””
- “Every subject posits itself as a transcendence concretely, through projects; it accomplishes its
freedom only by perpetual surpassing towards other freedoms; there is no other justification for
present existence than its expansion towards an indefinitely open future. Every time
transcendence lapses into immanence, there is degradation of existence into ‘in-itself’, of
freedom into facticity.”
- Statement about what human nature is, what is a good life
- Hartsock rejects this
MATERIALISM, NECESSITY (PEE EXAMPLE)
- ‘Materialism’(as Hartsock uses it): The most important forces in politics are material— i.e.
how we extract, produce, and distribute goods from the natural world.
- “Washing the toilet used by three males, and the floor and walls around it, is, Mira thought,
coming face to face with necessity. And that is why women were saner than men, did not come
up with the mad, absurd schemes men developed: they were in touch with necessity, they had to
wash the toilet bowl and floor.”
- From Marilyn French, The Women’s Room
- Being in touch with the way the world actually is and how we change and develop is what
connects us to the truth
- We should not escape from the gross truth because you will not see the facts about existence
CORE IDEA: THAT DOING WORK CONNECTS YOU TO THE WORLD, THAT MAKING
OTHERS WORK SEPARATES YOU FROM IT
- Do all women have a feminist perspective, for Hartsock?
- Not necessarily. If the kinds of work you do shapes how you see the world, then the
different works that different women do shapes whether or not they have this
- How do men fit into the picture? Could biological males have the feminist perspective?
- They could, but it’s a very big task
- So is the biological difference between men and women relevant to the difference between men
and women’s experiences and perspective?
HOW DO DIFFERENT KINDS OF WORK SHAPE YOUR PERSPECTIVE?
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BOSSESAND WORKERS
- This connects them directly with nature;
- involves both their minds and bodies in a unified way;
- focuses their attention on qualitative features of their environment;
- and draws their attention to change.
- But bosses treat the world in terms of commodities: Things that can be bought and sold on the
market (i.e. things with market value rather than use value).
- This separates them from nature; - and even from their bodies;
- focuses their attention on quantity rather than quality;
- and makes the world seem static and unchanging.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WORK ON THEASSEMBLY LINEAND IN THE HOME
- (Characteristically male) wage labour is partly separated from material life;
- When women do ‘women’s work’,
- their lives are not “mediated” by anyone else,
- they are even less wrapped up in commodities than workers
- and they simply do more work.
- So women’s work is “deeper and more thoroughgoing than that available to the worker.”
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PRODUCTIVE WORK AND REPRODUCTIVE WORK
- Fetus example: no clear difference between the self and the other.
- Childcare: “Helping another to develop, the gradual relinquishing of control, the experiencing
of the human limits of one’s own actions—all these are important features of women’s activity
- Our cult