Saturday, August 20, 2005
Dropped off the first draft of my proposal with my advisor on Thursday
Here's the first page (introductory paragraph):
Statement of the problem
My dissertation will argue, roughly, that there is an important bridge that can be built between feminist work on relational autonomy, which derives mainly from Anglo-American feminist philosophy, and the conceptions of personal freedom and self-determination that can be found in German Idealism, particularly in the philosophies of Fichte and Hegel. There are two reasons that this is an important bridge: (1) the feminist work has not adequately explored the metaphysics of the subject involved in relational autonomy; namely, how a self who is constituted in and through social relations can still be said to be an autonomous individual; (2) the scholarship in German idealism, while acknowledging that the status of women has changed since the 19th century, generally fails to examine how the particular concerns of feminists are met by the idealists, and has not made any sustained attempt to view the idealist practical philosophy in the light of the important work that has been done by feminists on issues of subjectivity and relationality. No one who is strongly familiar with both sets of scholarship has made any recent attempt to bring the two to the table, despite the striking structural similarities in driving questions (how can we both be free and related? how is it that our social relations determine us and at the same time are part of our freedom?) and solutions (reflection, freedom through responsibility). Further, both of these sets of scholarship have been inadequately brought into the contemporary mainstream analytic discussions of autonomy; perhaps a carefully articulated view of relational autonomy that drew from both of these sources could dialogue with the mainstream discussion.
Anyway, I've given copies of it to my advisor, as I said, and to Doug and Stephen, and will print out a copy for Josh, in order to get comments/criticisms and so forth. I'm not expecting to hear from my advisor super-soon (he said he'd get to it once his life got back to normal), so it's nice to have an excuse not to work on it for a little while. Of course, I've already been thinking of additional things I'd like to fix about it. Oh well. It's just a proposal, it just needs to be good enough to convince five professors that it's a workable dissertation project. It doesn't need to be perfect.
If I can propose this fall, life will be very very good.
jane 1:33 PM [+]