In the introduction to The Second Sex, Simone de
Beauvoir notes that "a man never begins by establishing himself as
an individual of a certain sex: his being a man poses no problem."
Nancy Bauer begins her book by asking: "Then what kind of a problem
does being a woman pose?" Bauer's aim is to show that in answering
this question The Second Sex dramatizes the extent to
which being a woman poses a philosophical problem.
This book is a call for philosophers as well as feminists to
turn, or return to, The Second Sex. Bauer shows that
Beauvoir's magnum opus, written a quarter-century before the
development of contemporary feminist philosophy, constitutes a
meditation on the relationship between women and philosophy that
remains profoundly undervalued. She argues that the extraordinary
effect The Second Sex has had on women's lives, then and
now, can be traced to Beauvoir's discovery of a new way to
philosophize -- a way grounded in her identity as a woman. In
offering a new interpretation of The Second Sex, Bauer
shows how philosophy can be politically productive for women while
remaining genuinely philosophical.
Subjects: Philosophy, Sociology
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