[Glimpse of light] – Vartan Ghazarian

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Pure naked woman sitting forward of painter with crossed legs under glimpse of light.

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Dimensions:20 × 2 × 25 cm
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Philosophy’s Big Oversight

If the discipline is concerned with the nature of human existence, then a canon dominated by men isn’t just incomplete—it’s distorted.

What image does the word philosopher conjure? Maybe Socrates, bearded and barefoot, counseling Plato on the agora; Rousseau on one of his solitary walks around the outskirts of Paris; Sartre sucking pensively on his pipe at the Café de Flore. What it may not call to mind is a woman.

And perhaps for good reason: The field of philosophy has always had a stark gender imbalance. And it’s no different today. Though women tend to be overrepresented in the humanities in general, philosophy is an outlier. A 2018 survey of the American Philosophical Association’s membership reported that 25 percent of respondents were women, and one 2017 study similarly found that women made up 25 percent of faculty in U.S. philosophy departments.

There are likely multiple contributing factors, many of which aren’t unique to philosophy: exclusionary professional cultures, unconscious bias from peers and professors, sexual harassment within departments. And just as the myth of the mathematically superior male brain has discouraged women from pursuing careers in STEM, myths about men’s propensity for abstract thought still shape conversations about philosophy.

In How to Think Like a Woman: Four Women Philosophers Who Taught Me How to Love the Life of the Mind, the journalist Regan Penaluna, who earned her Ph.D. in philosophy from Boston University, writes ambivalently of navigating male-dominated philosophy departments, where she wondered if her negative experiences were the result of sexism or her own inadequacy. (It didn’t help that women thinkers were rarely acknowledged in her coursework or included on syllabi.) She compares her pernicious self-doubt to Descartes’ pestering, deceptive demon—a concept that the Spanish nun Teresa of Ávila actually articulated nearly a century before Descartes did.

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Weight2 kg
Dimensions20 × 2 × 25 cm
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