The Feminist-Pragmatist Self

  • Clara Fischer
Part of the Breaking Feminist Waves book series (BFW)


Women’s paradoxical treatment in canonical expositions of change presents a difficulty for lovers of philosophy, as it highlights inconsistencies in theorizing.1 Through gendered (im)mutability, women have been ascribed change or stasis axiologically. Women are conflated with change when it is understood as threatening and destabilizing, on the one hand; on the other, stasis comes to be the preserve of women when change falls under the purview of the male, spirited agent. Thus, mutability and immutability are assessed with regard to their value in a specific context, and, in accordance with negative value, women are afforded their place. Gendered (im)mutability is not just philosophically problematic, though, as the persistent denial of agency to women has underwritten patriarchy and women’s oppression throughout the ages. While such a denial has been premised upon women’s diminished humanity, which in Aristotle’s philosophy arises from women’s supposedly inadequate reasoning capacities, its effect lies in rendering women passive beings, who are incapable of realizing change. Thus, a feminist reconstruction of change must focus on selfhood, and particularly gendered selves in their capacity for change. Having already debunked appeals to “nature,” essentialist classifications of beings, and hierarchical theorizing on change, I undertake such a reconstruction here.


Feminist Theory Reflective Thinking Habitual Conservatism Feminist Analysis Oppressive System 
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© Clara Fischer 2014

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  • Clara Fischer

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