Why do Mary Wollstonecraft, Simone de Beauvoir, and Hannah Arendt appear alongside Aristotle, Leibnitz, and Wittgenstein in a list of the 50 greatest philosophers of all time, which omits Spinoza, Frege, and Popper? Why does a list of 90 supposedly famous philosophers include people like St. Teresa of Avila and Anna Comnena, whoever they were? It is done to be politically correct. The lack of great female philosophers is so complete that it is felt that one or two women must be put on such lists so as to suggest that it is not beyond a woman to think deeply.
It was in the 1980s that political correctness began to affect philosophy departments, which started preferentially hiring women. It didn’t matter if they were inferior philosophers to those men who were rejected; the important thing was that they were women. But such was the dearth of female philosophers that soon women who weren’t even philosophers but only feminists started being hired, as a result of which we are now overrun by women described as philosophers who can hardly think but only pursue their political agenda under this description. Little do they care about justice, truth, or logic, which preoccupied those who came before them. They are obsessed with differences between the circumstances of the sexes while unwittingly demonstrating the explanation: that men and women differ, as in women’s tendency to place feelings over reason and their special capacity for self-deception, which enables them to think that they have said something profound when they have only said something fashionable.
This essay illustrates this in a way that can be readily verified by anyone willing to take a glance at YouTube.
1. Erin McKenna
Speaking in 2013, Erin McKenna felt that it was no accident that men dominated in philosophy, yet wasn’t sure why this was. Could it be because philosophers traditionally argued, she wondered, arguing being something that could be seen as aggressive? In other words, perhaps women were too nice for philosophy. She went on to ask why philosophy had to sideline feelings. Why did reason have to be the thing? She said she got her students to say whether they thought that reason was better than emotion and told them that, according to neurobiologists, the two could not be separated. Her point was presumably that if you can’t have one without the other, then you can’t value one above the other, or therefore say that an effusion of emotion might not be as much philosophy as a reasoned argument. According to the title of the video, its topic was women in philosophy, yet Erin McKenna didn’t mention any philosophy done by women despite there having been perfectly respectable female philosophers such as Iris Murdoch and Janet Radcliffe Richards. She gave no sign of actually being interested in philosophy.
2. Catarina Dutilh Novaes
Catarina Dutilh Novaes is another female philosopher who seems to find the sex disparity in philosophy more interesting than philosophy. Of all the subjects in the humanities, she said in 2017, philosophy was the one with the lowest proportion of women, of whom there were especially few in logic and the philosophy of mathematics. What could explain this? Were women simply less interested in philosophy than were men, and perhaps especially uninterested in the philosophy of logic and mathematics? She didn’t think so, and referred to Cordelia Fine’s The Delusion of Gender. Could it be sexism, then? There was a lot of this about, but it couldn’t be the whole explanation, she thought. Perhaps it was a matter of unconscious psychological phenomena, she speculated, spinning away from her first suggestion, which had hit the nail on the head. Not that there aren’t excellent female logicians, such as Susan Haack.
3. Cordelia Fine
Cordelia Fine, also described as a philosopher, began a talk in 2015 by mentioning books like Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus and the suggestion that men and women differ because their brains are different, which could make men interested in building systems and solving problems while women are disposed to nurture people and tune in to their feelings. Presenting such “gender-essentialist” ideas as patently absurd, she got a laugh each time she mentioned one. But seriously, she said, she wouldn’t be arguing that there were no differences between the sexes. We should just be careful when making assumptions about how brain differences relate to behavioral differences and be aware that neuroscience might be being led astray by misperceptions of sex differences.
Without giving any reason to think that we might be being careless in our alleged assumptions or that the eyes of neuroscientists might be deceiving them, she said that she would make three points. First, there are large overlaps between men and women on any sex-related trait. So far, so obvious, except in the case of a trait like getting pregnant, I suppose. Secondly, the sex differences we see are not found everywhere. She gave no examples of places where they were not found. Thirdly was “mosaicism,” which turned out to mean that masculine and feminine traits do not always line up with the sexes. Feminine traits can be found in men, and masculine traits can be found in women: again, obvious. Contrary to her statement that she would not be arguing that the sexes are essentially the same, she seemed to be grasping at any poor point that might suggest this.
4. Jennifer McWeeny
Interviewed in 2014, Jennifer McWeeny, an Associate Professor of Philosophy, said that she became a feminist after reading The Women’s Room, where the fate of the main character made her realize that society’s problems were structural. Would she have concluded after reading Noddy Goes to Toyland that Noddy had gone to Toyland?
For her, the great question of the day is whether we ignore oppression or resist it. Feminists resist it in all its forms, not just as sexism but also as racism, heterosexism, classism, ableism, and speciesism. What philosopher would use such words, at least so unreflectingly?
On the subject of maps, she said that we needed something like them to help us theorize the social world, not seeming to realize that she was using maps as a metaphor for theories, so she was therefore only saying that we need theories to help us theorize. The insight came to her when she was hill-walking with a map — but since then she has found a problem with the map idea: Maps look at the landscape from above, and are therefore related to conquest and colonialism.
Coming to taxonomy, which she called ontology, she said that the most basic distinction we draw is between ourselves and other animals, warning that we must make sure that our categories represent reality. She didn’t say how we could have gone wrong with this distinction, but stated that we must not think that our categories of human and non-human mean that humans connect only with other humans. How many people might think that humans “connect” only with other humans? Aren’t most people familiar with the concept of a farm animal or a pet? Growing solemn, she said that we had many opportunities to benefit from harming animals, such as by wearing clothes or doing medical research.
This woman could have done little harm as an infant-school teacher, but feminism had made her an Associate Professor of Philosophy.
5. Kate Richardson
In a debate in 2018, Kate Richardson, a Professor of Ethics, argued on the following grounds, among others, that sex robots should be banned. First, when men can marry their robots, what will happen to us? Did her opponent in the debate, who worked for a robotics company, want to “skip women”? Secondly, sex robots come out of the “egocentric misogyny” seen in men’s lack of empathy for prostitutes. She didn’t say how much empathy she thought prostitutes had for men, or explain, given the assumption that sex robots come out of egocentric misogyny, what vibrators come out of. Thirdly, she asked what would happen if someone painted an agricultural robot black, which would be racist. She derived her ethics from anti-slavery, she said, which was odd, since one would normally derive a position like anti-slavery from one’s ethics. Fourthly, half of the world’s wealth belongs to six people, she said, most of whom are white, while women are exploited, raped, and murdered. Fifthly, corporations are unelected and thus have no mandate. It is a myth to say that they were useful. Some men think themselves free to buy a child in the Philippines and watch it being raped. Her general idea seemed to be that capitalism is bad and men are bad, especially if they are white, therefore sex robots should be banned. I repeat: She is a professor of ethics.
She also stated: “Robotics is capitalism’s god system, because under capitalism, human beings are in the loop because they need to be, and to make money.” Sorry? According to her, porn stars undergo extreme torture; therefore men who watch porn want women they can torture. She said she made a “radical distinction” between people and property. Didn’t she know, as someone interested in slavery, that people can be property? She said that our culture turns women and children into sex objects, missing a “radical distinction” between the two, nor is it “our culture” that turns women into sex objects. They turn themselves into sex objects — very rationally, if they want to attract a man — but they can be criticized if they present their young daughters as sex objects, as by putting them into glamour contests for the under-tens, just as homosexuals can be criticized for presenting young boys as sex objects when making them mascots in their parades.
In a discussion with two men on the future of technology, she proposed a new definition of consciousness. Everyone in the audience, she suggested, had been thinking about people all day; therefore the essence of consciousness is that it is concerned with people. Not only was this a poor definition of consciousness, which would mean that ceasing to think about people would render one unconscious, but it was a typically egocentric thing for a woman to say. She might have been thinking about people all day, but plenty of men would have spent the day working on abstract or technical problems without thinking about people even once. As a woman, she couldn’t see this. She could not rise above her sex.
6. Patricia MacCormack
In 2019 Patricia MacCormack, a Professor of Continental Philosophy, published a book called The Ahuman Manifesto: Activism for the End of the Anthropocene, which argued that we should stop reproducing. No more people: We must wipe ourselves out. Her basic premise, she was quoted in a newspaper article as saying, was that “humanity has caused mass problems and one of them is creating this hierarchical world where white, male and heterosexual able-bodied people are succeeding, and people of different races, genders, sexualities and those with disabilities are struggling to get that.” Get that? And how could the alleged failure of certain groups to “get it” be so grave a problem that we must put an end to ourselves as a species? But then this multiply tattooed and pierced woman changed tack, saying that her central argument was actually that mankind was enslaved to the point of zombiedom by capitalism, which had damaged the world so badly that we should phase out reproduction. According to the book’s blurb on Amazon, the term “ahuman” had paved the way for a mode of thinking that actively embraced issues like human extinction, death studies, and the apocalypse as an optimistic beginning. So here was another valuable contribution to philosophy from a woman.
7. Judith Butler
The world’s most famous female philosopher is Judith Butler, so let us see what she has to say. In 2015 she began a talk on impressions and responsiveness like this: “When we speak about becoming formed as a subject, we invariably presume a threshold of susceptibility or impressionability that may be said to precede the formation of our conscious and deliberate I”. Okay, what might this mean? If by becoming formed as a subject Judith Butler meant being conscious and capable of receiving impressions through the senses, whereas by forming one’s “I” she meant becoming conscious of oneself, she was saying that consciousness precedes self-consciousness. Yet even having obscured this statement of the obvious by clouds of verbiage, she still did not dare to go that far. It wasn’t that consciousness preceded self-consciousness, but that it may be said to precede it. May be said by whom? May be said truly or falsely? Her statement added up to nothing. This appeared to be a small intellect trying to look big.
8. Patricia Williams
Coming to black women philosophers, they differ from white ones in that what concerns them is racial politics. In 1997 Patricia Williams, a Professor of Law at Columbia University who since 2019 has been a member of the American Philosophical Society, gave the Reith lectures, which were published as Seeing a Color-Blind Future. Again, it was hard to see through the fog of her words, but it did not seem that a color-blind future was the kind she wanted to see.
She felt, no doubt to everyone’s astonishment, that black people are victimized by whites. How? Well, when her son was at nursery school, his teachers feared that he might be color-blind, yet an ophthalmologist found that his eyes were fine. It turned out that he had only taken his teachers’ endlessly repeated statement that we mustn’t see color, because color doesn’t matter, too literally. How did this mean that he had been victimized? According to Williams, his teachers had seen his “anxious response” as a physical deficiency — which, she suspected, is typical of the way black people are treated by certain types of whites:
This anxiety redefined as deficiency suggests to me that it may be illustrative of the way in which the liberal ideal of color-blindness is too often confounded. That is to say, the very notion of blindness about color constitutes an ideological confusion.
But was it white people with a belief in equal treatment who were confused here, or Patricia Williams, who seemed to find a problem with this principle on account of an irrelevant story about her son? But according to her, only by escaping our ideological confusion could we save black people from being “pulled between the clarity of their own experience and the often alienating terms in which they must seek social acceptance.” In other words, where black people are concerned equal treatment is no good. They must continue to be favored under programs such as affirmative action.
Most of that was on the first page. Further down page 2 she states: “There’s a lot of that in the world right now: someone has just announced in no uncertain terms that they hate you because you’re dark, let’s say.” Let’s say? Well, why not? Why don’t we say that white people go round telling black people that they hate them? It might help Williams make her next point, which is that although color-blindness might be a legitimate hope for the future, to embrace it now would be “to enshrine the notion with a utopianism whose naivety will assure its elusiveness.” Well, isn’t this just the problem? Treat black people like other citizens and you’ll only enshrine the notion of equal treatment with a utopianism whose naivety will assure its elusiveness — especially if you can’t stop telling them how much you hate them.
9. Kimberlé Crenshaw
Kimberlé Crenshaw, an early exponent of “critical race theory” who is also a Law Professor at Columbia and also described as a philosopher, gave a TED talk in 2016, ostensibly about intersectionality, a concept of her own invention, the burden of which turned out to be to say that black women are being killed left, right, and center by the police. She began by explaining why we hadn’t heard of any of the victims. It was because of a lack of frames: “There are no frames for us to see them, no frames for us to remember them, no frames for us to hold them.” Without explaining what a frame is, she said that their absence results in a “trickle-down approach to social justice” that lets people “fall through the cracks of our movement.” Only with frames can we see how certain problems impact every member of a targeted group. Thus far she had asserted little, yet see what she had presupposed! Her audience belonged to a movement concerned with social justice and was trying, without success, to catch or save members of targeted groups — presumably meaning black women, who were presumably being targeted by the police.
Proceeding as though she had established that any of this was true, she asked how the situation could be remedied. She held out hope: “It doesn’t have to be this way!” she exclaimed, and told a story about a black woman who was turned down for a job before it was found that she had not been discriminated against on grounds of sex or race. Without showing that the woman had been discriminated against, or even affirming that she had been qualified to do the job, she said that the court’s failure to find that she had been victimized demonstrated the law’s “refusal to protect African American women.” It was this case, she said, that had made her see the importance of frames, which had led her to the concept of intersectionality. Had this existed at the time, it could have provided an “alternative narrative,” which might have enabled us to “rescue this woman from the cracks in the law.” Nor was intersectionality applicable only to racism and sexism: It applied equally to classism, xenophobia, transphobia, heterosexism, and ableism: a concept to solve every problem!
Returning to the police’s alleged campaign against black women, it is so bad, said Kimberlé Crenshaw, that it is hardly surprising that some women had not survived. She described some ways in which black women had died:
They have been shot to death, they have been stomped to death, they have been suffocated to death, they have been manhandled to death . . . They’ve been killed when they’ve called for help, they’ve been killed when they were alone . . .
And so on. She cited no specific case and did not say when or where or why any of these women had been killed — or, more importantly, by whom — leaving it to her audience to assume that it was by the police. “It’s time for a change!” she cried, and then ran a film showing pictures of deceased black women and their names. “We must bear witness!” she yelled, and called ungrammatically on her audience to call out the names “randomly, disorderly, [in] a cacophony of sound!” Women in the audience got up and started shouting. A black woman came up from the wings and let out a gospel wail. But, said Kimberlé Crenshaw, “We must move from mourning to action! It’s up to us!” And that was it; her talk was over. Her philosophical disquisition was complete.
Women postmodernist philosophers
It is striking when reading Cynical Theories, published in 2020, to see how women vastly outnumber men among postmodernist “philosophers,” just as it was striking to see in Dictatorship of Virtue, published in 1994, how women outnumbered men among the early activists of political correctness. Given an idea by men — in the case of postmodernists, men such as Foucault and Derrida — women implement it obediently and zealously. For example, in Cynical Theories we read about Lydia X. Y. Brown, who says that to prefer being able-bodied to being disabled is to oppress the disabled, and about Fiona Campbell, who finds it problematic to see a disability as something to be cured. Kathleen LeBesco says that if an obese person thinks that they have a problem, they have been conditioned into accepting their oppression, while Lucy Aphramor and Jacqui Gringas say that diet plays no part in human health. Robin DiAngelo says that if you deny that you’re a racist, you’re a racist, while Naima Lowe, a lecturer at one of America’s most excruciatingly politically-correct institutions, Evergreen State College, said that the place is overrun by white supremacy. Women’s urge to comply and show that they are up-to-date without seeing any need for thought is something that has not been sufficiently recognized, although the ancient Greeks were aware of it, which is why they did not allow women to take part in politics lest they lead the state to ruin.
A male and a female philosopher
Finally, let us look at two philosophers setting out their stalls, a man and a woman, to see how they compare in saying anything sensible or comprehensible. In 1969 John Searle wrote: “The hypothesis then of this work is that speaking a language is engaging in a rule-governed form of behavior.” The previous year Sandra Harding had written: “The feminist standpoint epistemologies ground a distinctive feminist science in a theory of gendered activity and social experience.” Searle made himself easy to understand, whereas Sandra Harding’s sentence raised the following questions: What is a standpoint epistemology? What is a feminist standpoint epistemology, and how many of them are there? What is feminist science as opposed to science? What is gender? Is it the same as sex? What is gendered activity, and what sort of thing might a theory of gendered activity say? What might a theory of social experience look like? How might feminist science be grounded in a theory of gendered activity and social experience, why would it need to be, and how might such a grounding be effected by feminist standpoint epistemologies? It was Sandra Harding, incidentally, presumably writing as a philosopher of science, who said that Newton’s Principles of Mechanics should be called Newton’s Rape Manual.
The female “philosophers” looked at above display many of the characteristics traditionally associated with women in being more emotional, less rational, and less acute than their male peers. Some appear not only weak in logic, but unable to see the point of it, preferring the world of their own subjectivity. Faithful followers of intellectual fashion — and sometimes vicious with it — they show little interest in the truth and appear to find it easy to think that they have said something important when they have done no such thing. They have produced not philosophy, but inanity or feminist advocacy. This has occurred because, a long time ago now, the bar for entry to philosophy was lowered to a ludicrous extent for women when it should never have been lowered by an inch. No doubt if it were said today that women aspiring to be philosophers should be judged by the same standards as men, the implication being that this is not happening at the moment, would be seen as outlandish, and so the only practical conclusion to be drawn is that anyone wanting to read something by a female philosopher should pick a book published before about 1990, when the effects of this sex discrimination began to be seen. If this rule excludes decent female philosophers who have written later, that is too bad. Missing out on them would be a small price to pay for avoiding the tosh produced by the others.
* * *
Like all journals of dissident ideas, Counter-Currents depends on the support of readers like you. Help us compete with the censors of the Left and the violent accelerationists of the Right with a donation today. (The easiest way to help is with an e-check donation. All you need is your checkbook.)
For other ways to donate, click here.
 Santa Fe Institution, Oct. 14, 2015, “Questioning the Science of Gender Difference: A New Perspective.”
 Thales’ Well, Oct. 5, 2018, “On Sex Robots and Personhood with Kathleen Richardson.”
 Conway Hall, July 17, 2015, “London Thinks: Waiting for GLaDOS (at Conway Hall).”
 CambridgeshireLive, Feb. 18, 2020, “‘The only solution for climate change is letting the human race become extinct.’”
 UCD — University College Dublin, Mar. 6, 2015, “Judith Butler — The Difference of Philosophy (2015); Notes on Impressions & Responsiveness.”
 Patricia Williams, Seeing a Color-Blind Future: The Paradox of Race (London: Virago, 1997.)
 Helen Pluckrose & James Lindsay, Cynical Theories: How Universities Made Everything about Race, Gender and Identity — and Why This Harms Everybody (Swift, 2020).
 Richard Bernstein, Dictatorship of Virtue: How the Battle Over Multiculturalism Is Reshaping Our Schools, Our Country, and Our Lives (New York: Vintage, 1994).
 Mary Beard cites the examples from Greek mythology of Medea and Clytemnestra. Carl Jung’s view was that the anima meant chaos as opposed to the animus, which meant order. To observe women’s propensity for inducing chaos is not to say that there haven’t always been plenty of capable women in middle-ranking positions as matrons or headmistresses, for example, and still today there are principled women.
 John R. Searle, Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language (London: Cambridge University Press, 1969), p.22.
 Sandra Harding, “From Feminist Empiricism to Feminist Standpoint Epistemologies”, Chapter 6 of The Science Question in Feminism [Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1986], pp.141-161, reproduced in Lawrence E. Cahoone (ed.), From Modernism to Postmodernism (Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell, 1996), pp. 617-637.
 Dennis McCallum (ed.), The Death of Truth (Minneapolis: Bethany House, 1996), p. 194, cites Constance Holden, “Reason Under Fire,” Science, vol. 268, June 30, 1995 quoting Sandra Harding.
 Kathleen Stock has shown that she is up to par as a philosopher. See Claremont McKenna College, April 10, 2017, “Are there limits to what we can imagine? Kathleen Stock.”
Enjoyed this article?
Be the first to leave a tip in the jar!
Toward a New Spiritual Revolution
The Fear of Writing
Jonathan Bowden’s The Cultured Thug
David Zsutty Introduces the Homeland Institute: Transcript
“A Few More Steps and We Were . . . On Some Edge of Things”: Staircases That Lead Nowhere, Part 2
Used to Be a Bad Guy: Carlito’s Way at 30
The Suppression of the Maryland Moderates During the Civil War
The Anti-Black Plague “Black Death” of 1347-1351 Kills Half of Europe . . . Black Women Most Affected