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The Feminist Pacifism of William James and Mary Whiton Calkins

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2020

Abstract

In this paper, I accompany William James (1842–1910) and Mary Whiton Calkins (1863–1930) in the steps each takes toward his or her respective proposal of a moral equivalent of war. I demonstrate the influence of James upon Calkins, suggesting that the two share overlapping formulations of the problem and offer closely related—but significantly different—solutions. I suggest that Calkins's pacifistic proposal is an extension of that of her teacher—a feminist interpretation of his psychological and moral thought as brought to bear on the problem of war. Calkins's brand of pacifism widens the scope of James's “moral equivalent of war” in a way that is consonant with feminist ideals of inclusiveness and social justice. I conclude by commenting on how James's and Calkins's pacifism can continue to be extended fruitfully in contemporary feminist pacifist theory and practice.

Type
Open Issue Content
Information
Hypatia , Volume 29 , Issue 4 , Fall 2014 , pp. 889 - 905
Copyright
Copyright © 2014 by Hypatia, Inc.

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Footnotes

Previous versions of this paper were presented in February 2013 at the Committee for the Status of Women Session at the Central Division meeting of the American Philosophical Association (APA) in New Orleans, Louisiana; and in December 2013 at the William James Society Session at the Eastern Division meeting of the APA in Baltimore, Maryland. The paper has improved as a result of exchanges with panelists and audience members at each of these presentations. I would like to gratefully acknowledge Scott L. Pratt, whose mentoring was indispensable in the early stages of writing this essay. I also thank two anonymous Hypatia reviewers for their helpful comments.

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