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Research talk in philosophy: Carol Hay

Research talk in philosophy: Carol Hay - Available at University of Iceland
Tue, 03/10/2023 - 15:00 to 16:30


Room 220

Further information 
Free admission

The Institute of Philosophy hosts Carol Hay for a talk on October 3rd, at 15:00-16:30, in room A220, in the Main Building of the University of Iceland. The talk is entitled „Radical Rational Reconstruction“. The talk will be in English and is open to the public.


A central task for anyone interested in using canonical philosophy to shed light on the contemporary political landscape is to consider whether the explicitly sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, colonialist, and ableist statements historical theorists too often make can be uncoupled from the core of the theories themselves.  As a Kantian, and a feminist, I’ve watched my own views on this question evolve considerably over the course of my career.   

In this paper I identify, and consider the relative merits of, two distinct strategies of Kantian rational reconstruction.  (1) Apologist rational reconstruction dismisses Kant’s oppressive statements as permissibly ignorable—either mere products of their time, or appearing in works deemed canonically peripheral.  It thereby aims to reconstruct a relatively straightforward account of what Kant should have said, by his own lights, that’s useful for the purposes of contemporary liberatory social movements. (2) Radical rational reconstruction, on the other hand, takes seriously the possibility that Kant’s oppressive statements ramify throughout his work, and consciously attends to the distinctive experiences of those who are oppressed.  It thereby aims to shift the problems Kantian theorists take up, reorient conventional Kantian tenets, and, ultimately, reconstruct new Kantian frameworks capable of exposing and ameliorating oppressive injustices.  

Short bio:

Dr. Carol Hay is Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Her academic work focuses primarily on issues in analytic feminism, liberal social and political philosophy, oppression studies, Kantian ethics, and the philosophy of sex and love. ​Her recent book Think Like a Feminist: The Philosophy Behind the Revolution (W.W. Norton & Co., 2020, 2022) has been translated into French, Korean, and Chinese.

Carol Hay, Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Research talk in philosophy: Carol Hay