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Experience - Dwyer.docx

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Department
Philosophy
Course
Philosophy 2500F/G
Professor
Prof
Semester
Fall

Description
LEARNING FROM EXPERIENCE – SUSAN DWYER  Many feminist claim that moral argument is not and cannot be insulated from broader political and legal considerations  Argued that fundamental moral categories have been constructed to reflect asymmetries of social power  History is testament to the fact that when political conditions are hostile to women the political inflection of moral argument has negative consequences for women  Moral questions are illumined by a serious examination of moral consciousness – consciousness has two important features 1. It is in eliminable an embodied consciousness 2. It is a consciousness shaped by an agent’s political, cultural, legal and social environment  Moral phenomenology provides feminists with a more productive critique of traditional ethics than has heretofore been offered MORAL INSTITUTIONS  Our intuitions are pretty much all we have to go on in the initial construction  Even if intuitions are held to be judgments questions readily arise concerning the source and justification of these benefits  Problem of partiality – her moral intuitions will encompass direct judgments about what she ought to do in a given situation in which she confronts a moral choice; judgments about the rightness or wrongness of action performed by others  And judgments of praise and blame – like her non-moral judgments, Sarah’s moral judgments depend upon other beliefs she has  Sarah’s intuitions no matter how insightful will not exhaust the data base relevant to the construction of an ethical theory, which, after all, is intended for people besides Sarah  Now groups of people share intuitions too. And the judgments of a group – can be biased in the same ways that those of an individual are  Typically, groups come and are held together in terms of some set of beliefs their members jointly affirm. In turn groups are often individuated in terms of such shared commitments  One of the epistemic advantages of being a member of a particular group is that one can rely on others sharing some pretty fundamental commitments  In other words there has been no robust recognition of sexual difference in moral theorizing  Pregnancy is something only persons with female bodies can experience, yet that feature in most arguments concerning the permissibility of abortion (albeit implicitly) have been male bodies MORALITY AND EMBODIMENT  Person’s body is the very locus of her agency  There is an entire complement of norms governing the appearance of the normal female body  The body can be regarded as a kind of hinge or threshold: it is placed between a psychic or lived interiority and a more sociopolitical exteriority that produces interiority through the inscription of the body’
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