Thursday, April 28, 2016

Feminism update, libertarianism preview

I've started off 2016, according to plan, with a lot of feminism. I've been trying to be faithful with writing some kind of review of each book, whether it's a full-on blog post, a Goodreads review, or even a facebook status. The links are to those items, not to like, amazon pages.
  1. Women in Western Political Thought - Susan Moller Okin
  2. Feminine and Feminist Ethics - Rosemarie Tong
  3. Myths of Gender: Biological Theories about Women and Men - Anne Fausto-Sterling
  4. Justice, Gender, and the Family - Susan Moller Okin (see also this facebook post)
  5. Situating the Self: Gender, Community, and Postmodernism in Contemporary Ethics - Seyla Benhabib
  6. Sex and Social Justice - Martha Nussbaum (See also this blog post on objectification).
This is in addition to the feminist works I read last year (Mill's Subjection of Women and Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center, by bell hooks).

Benhabib's book ended up being a lot more about discourse ethics than feminism specifically, but I'm glad I read it. Feminism plays into discourse ethics by way of the necessity of including diverse perspectives in dialogue. Myths of Gender seemed very good, but I couldn't think of much to say about it. It's the kind of thing that unfortunately probably needs to be updated once every decade or so. And this has been done, both by Fausto-Sterling in newer books and by other feminist scientists. Okin's schtick of analyzing Western canonical philosophers through the feminist lens is pretty rewarding. I highly recommend Tong's book as an introduction to feminist ethics. My favorite book by far has been Nussbaum's book, which is a kind of harmonization of liberalism and feminism through a neo-Aristotelian approach. It also just includes great treatments of important figures in feminism, both good and bad (Andrea Dworkin and Christina Hoff Sommers, for example) and tricky topics (objectification, sex work, colonialism). I reckon I'm about 60% finished with this project. Here are the next books on deck:
  1. Women, Culture, and Development: A Study of Human Capabilities - Martha Nussbaum and Jonathan Glover (eds.)
  2. Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing - Miranda Fricker
  3. Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women - Susan Moller Okin (ed.)
  4. A Vindication of the Rights of Whores - Gail Pheterson (ed.)
  5. Economics for Humans - Julie A Nelson
And this list may expand with new ideas or contract with fatigue. I'll almost certainly take a break after Women, Culture and Development in order to gobble up Deirdre McCloskey's thrilling conclusion to the Bourgeois Trilogy which came in the mail this week.

But I'm already looking forward to my next reading project, which is a deep dive into academic libertarianism. I've come a long way from my youthful Rand-influenced anarchism. Usually I feel more post-libertarian than libertarian, and have lately been calling myself just plain ol' "liberal" more and more. In part because of this, I want to read some classics I missed and read what some of libertarianism's best exponents have to offer. I'm thinking these:

  1. Anarchy, State, and Utopia - Robert Nozick
  2. Liberty and Nature: an Aristotelian Defense of Liberal Order - Doug Rasmussen and Doug Den Uyl
  3. Elements of Justice - David Schmidtz
  4. Liberalism Beyond Justice: Citizens, Society, and the Boundaries of Political Theory - John Tomasi
  5. Rationalism, Pluralism, and Freedom - Jacob Levy
  6. Persons, Rights, and the Moral Community - Loren Lomasky
  7. Rationality in Economics: Constructivist and Ecological Forms - Vernon Smith
  8. Total Freedom: Toward a Dialectical Libertarianism - Chris Matthew Sciabarra
  9. The Tyranny of the Ideal: Justice in a Diverse Society - Jerry Gaus
  10. Jason Brennan's and Bas van der Vossen's book on cosmopolitan justice.
Any suggestions welcome, for either good feminism or good libertarianism.

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