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Gender Biasness of Traditional Ethics : A Brief Analysis


Dr. Shirtaz Begam Laskar, Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, Janata College, Kabuganj, Cachar, Assam, India

Traditional ethics has excluded all questions of ‘gender’ from its purview on the presumption that philosophy as a general discipline should have been concerned with human qua human or with the universal human nature as such. It is argued that the scope of philosophy is not desired to be narrowed down by any limited or partial concern, since its concern has always been a universal one. Questions of one’s contingent attributions inclusive of gender would speak of the concrete realities of individual existence, specific to her nature. These would not form a part of the so-called invariably common, abstract and formal essence of humans. Therefore, they should in no way constitute any genuine concern for philosophy. The form of ethics that requires some sort of commitment toward the claims of universal applicability is expected to assume a sex/gender neutral character. But feminists opine that instead of fulfilling its avowed norms the traditional ethics has taken a biased stance in viewing woman’s nature all throughout and hence portrayed its corrupt character. They have identified the traditional ethical theories as basically male-centric because those accounts have failed to theorize woman’s moral experience and agency. Feminists say that the only possible way to eliminate this gender biasness is to bring gender from the periphery to the centre of disciplinary pursuits. Hence, gender mainstreaming of each and every discipline inclusive of ethics is an urgency.

Keywords: Ethics, Sex, Gender, Feminist Philosophy

  1. Gilligan, Carol (1982) In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women’s Development, London, Harvard University Press, p.7
  2. Gould, Carol, C. (1997) “Woman Question: The Philosophy of Liberation and the Liberation of Philosophy” in Key Concepts in Critical Theory-‘Gender’ (ed.) Carol Gould, A Humanities Press, New Jersey, pp.108-11
  3. As cited in “Plato?s Republic and Feminism” by Julia Annas, in Philosophy, Vol. 51, No.197, July 1976, Cambridge University Press, p.308
  4. As cited in Plato’s Dialectic on Women: Equal, Therefore Inferior by Elena Blair, (2012), Routledge, New York, 143
  5. As referred in Engendering Origins: Critical Feminist Reading in Plato and Aristotle, by Bar. On, Bat. Arni (1994) New York, State University of New York Press p.17
  6. As cited in “Does Reason Have gender?” by Ferguson . Ann (1999) In Women and Values, Reading in Recent Feminist Philosophy,Marelyn Pearsall(ed), New York, Wordsworth Publishing Company 61
  7. On, Bat. Arni (1994) Engendering Origins: Critical Feminist Reading in Plato and Aristotle. p.17
  8. Ibid, 2
  9. Aristotle (1943) Generation of Animals, A.L.Peck (trans.) Cambridge Massachusetts, Harbard University Press, xx.732a, pp.131-133
  10. Ibid, xx,728a
  11. Aristotle, (1932) Politics, H. Rackham (trans.) Loeb Classical Library, 1254b 10-14
  12. Ibid ,1260a10ff
  13. Freeland, Cynthia(1994) “Nourishing Speculation : A Feminist Reading of Aristotlian science” in Critical Feminist Readings in Plato and Aristotle, Albany, Sunny Press, p 145-146
  14. Ferguson, Ann (1999) Ibid p61
  15. Lange, Lynda (1983) “Women Is Not a Rational being: On Aristotle?s Biology of Reproduction” in Discovering Reality, Sandra Harding & Merill Hintikka (eds), Dordrecht, Holland D. Reidel, 2
  16. Ibid, 2
  17. Okin, Susan Moller (1979) Women in Western Political Thought, Princeton. ch.4.
  18. As cited in Rachel, J. (2003) The Element of Moral Philosophy, 4th edition, New York, Mc Graw Hill, p160
  19. Kant, I.(1960) Observation on the Feeling of the Beautiful and the Sublime, (trans.) John Goldthwait, Berkeley, University of Calif,p.81
  20. bid, 79
  21. Herman, Barbara.(1993) Could It Be Worth Thinking about Kant on Sex and Marriage? In A Mind of One’s Own: Feminist Essays on Reason and Objectivity. New York: West View Press, p50
  22. Kant, I. (1949) Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals, Indianapolis: Boobs Merill, as quoted in “The Women Question: Philosophy of Liberation and Liberation of Philosophy” by C. C. Gould in Key Concepts in Critical Theory of Gender, C.C.Gould (ed) New Jersey, Humanities Press. P.211
  23. Ibid,p211
  24. Ibid, p212
  25. Gould, C. C. (1997) “Woman Question: The Philosophy of Liberation and the Liberation of Philosophy” in Key Concepts in Critical Theory-‘Gender’ (ed.) Carol C. Gould, A Humanities Press, New Jersey, 211-212
  26. Ibid,p212
  27. Ibid,p212
  28. Rousseau, J.(1993) Emile, trans by Barbara Foxley, London, Every man Library, p324
  29. Ferguson, Ann (1999) Ibid p63
  31. Schopenhauer, A.(1970) “On Women” in Essays and Aphrorisms, trans. R.J. Hollinhdale, London, Penguin Books, p 82-83
  32. Ibid, p84

How to Cite

MLA 9th Edition

Laskar, Shirtaz Begam. “Gender Biasness of Traditional Ethics : A Brief Analysis.” BL COLLEGE JOURNAL, vol. 1, no. 1, July 2019, pp. 108–19.


APA 7th Edition

Laskar, S. B. (2019). Gender Biasness of Traditional Ethics : A Brief Analysis. BL COLLEGE JOURNAL1(1), 108–119.



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