On the Uses and Abuses of Doing Feminist Philosophy with Hegel

Di Rachel Falkenstern

In: Feminist Metaphilosophy L , No. 2 ( 2021 )

Sezione Saggi / Articles


This article highlights the interplay between historiography of philosophy, its historical and social-political context, and the canon – its contents and its formation – and their influences on metaphilosophical issues in feminist engagements with Hegel. It argues for the importance of recognizing how professional practices are shaped by wider historical and social-political forces, and how norms and definitions of philosophy are influenced by such forces. Section 1 outlines background on the place of women in Hegel’s philosophy and some early feminist engagements with it. Section 2 draws connection between metaphilosophical aspects of recent Anglophone feminist-Hegelian work, its historical contexts, and philosophy’s culture of justification. Section 3 further develops ideas from the previous sections, using historiography of philosophy to connect them to the exclusions of women and feminist concerns from philosophy in 19th-century Germany, which continue to affect Anglophone philosophy today. Section 4 very briefly concludes to suggest that, despite the narrow definition of philosophy set by Anglophone norms, other traditions – such as continental feminist philosophy – serve as exemplars of existing alternative approaches. We ought to insist on the truth of philosophy’s ever-changing definitions and recognize the benefits of its pluralism.