Nussbaum on Butler w/ a Pollitt kicker

kelley oudies at
Mon Nov 22 09:43:07 PST 1999

one percent of the population obtains a phd. say about 2% go to grad school in phd prgrams then --a high estimate. fact is, most people in grad school --*especially* in the humanities-- are there because they're from upper mddle class backgrounds. if you look at the numbers by race, of course ther e are very few people of color to begin with and they are disproportionately represented in professional degree programs like education, health, social work, library sciences, nutrition. they often tend to have lived a fairly sheltered life. for ex, among the 1000 or so students i surveyed [undergrads at elite liberal arts colleges in the northeast] less than 10% held job prior to going to college.

i'm having trouble wrapping my head around your support for butler here. what is it about her theory that you find compelling enough to defend her against nussbaum's charges.

btw, those women you refer to --okin, chodorow, rubin-- they *did* examine social structures. are families and childrearing practices and the juridico-legal system not social strucutres? is identity not structural? i think not and, in that case, butler also examines social structure:. identity practices *are* structural. so what do you think belong to the realm of "social structure"?


At 11:39 AM 11/22/1999 -0500, you wrote:
>>Nussbaum believes philosphers should be "lawyers for humanity." One could
>>say she has a legalistic, Rawlsian-liberal take on things that plays down
>>popular movements and wider economic forces.
>Peter, this was my impression too after reading the New Republic piece.
> "Butler is like the Pied
>>Piper leading all the children away!" she told me.
>Yes, a modern day sophist, she seems to be saying. And pretty insulting to
>equate people in their 20s with children. Sure, there are pressures given
>the mcdonaldization of the university--esp on those without an aristocratic
>inheritance--to get some kind of theory quick and easy. But to think
>graduate students are not aware of the pressures on them--and the
>compromises it leads to--is pretty insulting. Oh well.
> "For her, philosophy is nothing less
>>than an intellectual tool for the improvement of mankind."
>Please. I share your impression of the limits of her New Republic review.
>At any rate, the whole ethico philosophical critique of welfare economics
>on the face of it seems to me not that interesting. But I haven't read
>Nussbaum or Sen on this.
>Yours, Rakesh

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