Feminist Philosophy

Angelina Grimke's Letter 12 and Kantian Ethics

Introduction

This lesson has two main purposes. The first is to illustrate to students how one could apply the Kantian argument that one should not treat others merely as means. This is done by introducing them to an open letter written by the early feminist and abolitionist writer and activist Angelina Grimké in 1838 in which she explicitly argues that men have treated women as mere means.

The Ethics of Sexual Preference

Sexual preferences represent a rich site for ethical exploration of topics such as oppression, responsibility, freedom. Because everyone has sexual preferences of some kind or another, everyone has some stake in the answers to these questions. Moreover, the deeply entrenched (indeed, possibly involuntary) nature of sexual preferences illustrates the extent to which oppression is socialized and internalized by individuals in even the most intimate spheres of life.
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