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.
Are there good reasons for excluding women by law for certain social roles
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
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
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
o We don’t think that a man with such a personality should be
restricted from any professions in the way women are
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
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
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
It is derived from socialization, not an innate trait of some people.
It is not specific in men.
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
Those who disagree must prove why keeping women subservient to
men and who are victims of domestic violence is beneficial to
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
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