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Which Of Nietzsche's Ideas Are The Most Useful For Feminist Theory And Practice?

3205 words - 13 pages

This paper will examine which of Nietzsche's ideas are the most useful for feminist theory and practice. I intend to discuss the exclusion of women throughout the history of philosophy, demonstrating how this can be useful for feminist theory. I will talk about Nietzsche's use of dualisms and how his anti-essentialist ideas can be useful with also taking a look at Jacques Derrida's ideas. Lastly I will discuss Nietzsche's ideas about language and how language is used for creating reality. Let it be known that this is a complex question, so therefore by providing specific evidence, also could be seen as arguable to others depending on individual beliefs. Therefore I have chosen to be selective, as no attempt will be made to be encyclopedic, rather I have selected some of the cardinal strengths within the subject matter. Feminist theory, it should be mentioned from the beginning of this paper, is not a unified theory. As women experience the social world differently (according to class, age or 'race'), there exist different feminist standpoints within the feminist tradition - i.e. Marxist or Postmodernist feminists (and this explains the need to talk of Feminisms - in plural). (Smith D. (1987). In general though, feminist theorists in order to explain the marginal position women's issues hold in the social sciences - and why they are merely 'added on' in the academic discourse, focus their critique upon traditional scientific approaches existing in the social sciences, offering alternative theories of knowledge. In addition, they attack concepts that originate from the founding fathers of each discipline. (Smith D. (1987). Nietzsche's philosophy has been subject to harsh criticism, including feminist critiques that have been only too eager to push away his philosophy on the grounds of its alleged outdated and rampant misogyny. But many feminists including the likes of Kelly Oliver and Marilyn Pearsall (1998) have argued that Nietzsche's philosophy empowers a feminist project by its potential to expose prevailing power structures of domination.Throughout history, women have been excluded from the critique of philosophy, with a complete lack of attention focused on women's thoughts and ideas. However, there are some female philosophers such as Simeone De Beavoir and Susan Langer; but they were never taken seriously by men, or the world of academics, due to the context in which they were wrote. There has always been a gender bias within philosophy itself with philosophy trying to develop universal truths, obtaining objective knowledge. This was set with a valuation being put on masculine ideas and a devaluation of feminine ideas; this mainly was due because women's ideas were classed as unreasonable. The reason why women's ideas were classed as unreasonable is because of dualisms; male philosopher's accounts talk about man as it encompasses women, giving them valuation as they (biologically so to speak) deal with reason. On the other hand, women have...

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