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Week Three, Anderson

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 1 month ago

Week Three, Pamela Sue Anderson, A Feminist Philosophy of Religion 



Part I  Background Matters      Nathalie

  •  A focus of Pamela Sue Anderson’s proposal is the rationality of religious belief.  Her aim is to ask philosophers of religion to begin by scrutinizing the construction of belief prior to its justification (3).  Given the proposal, what would be the significance of desiring religious beliefs? 



Part II Chapter One   The Rationality of Religious Belief      Lisa


  • One of Anderson's main arguments in this chapter is that "the epistemological framework by which one's beliefs are constructed makes all the difference" (33).  What does she think is at stake in examining the feminist epistemological frameworks she discusses?
  • What is the crisis of rationality?  Why does she argue for refiguring rather than rejecting rationality?



Part II Chapter Two  Feminists and the Rationality of Belief, I: Strong Objectivity      Kristin

In Chapter 2, Anderson discusses feminist critiques of conventional empirical realist objectivity, and then explains how feminist standpoint epistemology attempts to remedy these critiques.  How do feminist standpoint epistemologists critique conventional objectivity on its own terms and then argue on behalf of what Anderson calls “strong objectivity”?  Why does Anderson suggest that insights from standpoint epistemology can both augment and limit a feminist philosophy of religion?  What do you think of her suggestion that it may be possible to read strong objectivity “as a reform of earlier philosophical accounts of objectivity” (85)?



Part II Chapter Three  Feminists and the Rationality of Belief, II: Female Desire      Hagit


In the attempt to ‘expose reason’s repressed content’ (105), Anderson presents Kristeva’s claim that the relationship between the repressed maternal and the autonomous identity is parallel to the relationship between rationality and irrationality (108); and Irigaray’s understanding of religion as a relationship between/in men through a woman, who is reduced to maternity (116).

- What exactly is the relationship between reason and desire in these ‘more inclusive epistemologies of religious belief (99)’ according to Anderson?


- Is there for a way out of Kristeva’s melancholic trap [of refusing the matricide and with it language (114)] for Anderson?


Part III Chapter Four   Myth, Mimesis, and Religious Belief      Hillary


  • On page 140, Anderson notes an “ancient opposition between logos and muthos.”  By embracing the traditionally denigrated half of this binary, is Anderson engaging in Irigarayan mimicry?  How so or how not?
  • If a myth always retains its core, the “rethinking” and “transformation” Anderson suggests on page 143 are enabled.  Is it possible and/or desirable to revolutionize using myth?
  • On page 148, Anderson notes that she believes “neither strictly patriarchal nor strictly matriarchal meanings have to dominate.”  Do you think she makes this possible with her presentation of myth and mimesis?
  • If myth contributes to gaps in patriarchal texts, how is myth not constitutive?



Part III Chapter Five   Figuring the Rationality of Religious Belief, Action, and Devotion      Kate

1. In Chapter 5, Anderson introduces the concept of "yearning."  What work does she want this concept to do, and does it succeed?



Part IV  Conclusion      Evan

1. In section 5 of this chapter, Anderson talks about the dangers of reducing all oppression to a privileged, western idea of patriarchy (230-5). Does Anderson present an adequately non-reductive account of patriarchy? In what ways, if any, does she reach too far in trying to universalize her experience?


2.  Does Anderson's personal deity do what it is supposed to do and successfully avoid the danger of reifying the oppressive values of the believer's time? Does it serve as a proper vehicle for the feminine/feminist imaginary?

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