Feminist Perspectives on Argumentation

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (forthcoming)
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Abstract

Feminists note an association of arguing with aggression and masculinity and question the necessity of this connection. Arguing also seems to some to identify a central method of philosophical reasoning, and gendered assumptions and standards would pose problems for the discipline. Can feminine modes of reasoning provide an alternative or supplement? Can overarching epistemological standards account for the benefits of different approaches to arguing? These are some of the prospects for argumentation inside and outside of philosophy that feminists consider. The further concern is that the academic study of argumentation – in philosophy and other disciplines – has failed to account for the type of reasoning needed for social justice movements. What resources for addressing these concerns can be found in informal logic and interdisciplinary argumentation theory? Since part of the perceived problem derives from assuming that arguing is a contest, are more collaborative epistemological frameworks better? Can regular politeness or civility hedge against undesirable tendencies of argumentation? Can “critical thinking” pedagogy involving argument educations answer the needs of social justice?

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Catherine Elisabeth Hundleby
University of Windsor

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