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Queen's University
PHIL 115

Week 3 24/01/2013 06:28:00 It was difficult to challenge common opinion about anything, and philosophers have to challenge them. Those opinions that are self-evidently stupid now were probably commonly accepted ideas from the past. Chapter 3: Are there good reasons for excluding women by law for certain social roles and professions?  No. Women are not well-suited to working in the medical, business, legal, political, and scientific professions.  This is because women are on average less intellectually capable than men.  Mill implicitly grants that some women are more capable than others, sometimes moreso than men.  If there are some women with extraordinary talents, why justify excluding them by law?  Have women failed to catch up to men?  No. In the arts, some women have surpassed the achievements of male artists.  In philosophy, women are not prominent because of the limited opportunities presented to women in the ancient intellectual world. o Maybe this isn’t a bad thing. Many intellectuals have a bad habit of becoming fanatic of their own ideas. o When a philosopher purports a theory, it is common for him/her to apply it to everything and become extremists of their own views. o Mill argues that women are less likely to do this, as they tend to be more mindful of the effects of their ideas on others.  Who has the right to vote? Why do we exclude women from this right?  To defend the current policy, we have to hold that women hold outrageous political opinions (not true), or that they’re not politically astute (not true). o We must worry about unfit women when they vote as much as we must worry about unfit men who vote or run for office. o England was run by kings of queens of various competencies.  Men seem as fit for political power as men.  On utilitarian grounds, women should vote.  Women are believed have a more nervous temperament than men.  Women are highly emotional, though there are men with the same temperament. o We don’t think that a man with such a personality should be restricted from any professions in the way women are restricted. o It is said to be a driving force in some artist’s brains.  They are believed to be better multitaskers o Whether this is true or not, it is irrelevant.  All these hypotheses are speculations and not empirically demonstrable.  What makes it possible for anybody to think with originality?  Education. You become capable of original thought by studying the ideas of those who came before us.  It makes sense that women do not have a good standing in intellectual pursuits as they have not been educated as much as men.  It is possible that the great ideas of men could have been theorized by their wives. Mill’s essays were sometimes co-written by his wife.  Much of the work put forth by creators of creative work is a desire for fame.  It is derived from socialization, not an innate trait of some people. It is not specific in men. Chapter 4 Would society be better off if women had the same rights as men?  Yes. It should be obvious that the current marital laws violate the utilitarian standard.  Those who disagree must prove why keeping women subservient to men and who are victims of domestic violence is beneficial to society.  Social advantages: replacing injustice with justice always promotes the common good.  Marriage is very important, as the strongest and most pervasive relationship in the universe.  Equal rights would have a similar effect to the social changes that took place when we eliminated hereditary kings and queens. o It removed the widespread idea that certain human beings were born superior to other human beings.  The progress of ideas could only increase with the number of minds working on problems.  The liberation of women maximizes happiness and liberty in our society.  Mill asks readers to revisit the transition from boyhood to manhood. It was an important transition, and the male becomes his own person, like a release of bondage. o This is an important experience, and women wo
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