BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT: PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION AND WOMEN
Can feminist theology take the shape of philosophy of religion without contradiction? Philosophy of religion as practised by privileged Anglo- Americans has posed epistemological and ethical problems for women which, in turn, have led to proposals for a feminist philosophy of religion. Before consideration of the latter let us gain background on the opening question.
Women have been excluded by Western philosophy since its earliest days in Ancient Greece. Genevieve Lloyd has argued that the history of philosophy begins by imagining female powers as what have to be excluded by thinkers seeking to be rational. For Lloyd, ‘femaleness [is] symbolically associated with what Reason supposedly left behind – the dark powers of the earth goddesses, immersion in unknown forces associated with mysterious female powers’. Today it is a great concern for women, and at least some men, who seek recognition as philosophers of religion, that reason has been defined by the symbolic, if not the actual exclusion of femaleness. To address the problem of gender exclusion, this essay will set the scene for an alternative sketch of rationality.
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