60%(5)3 out of 5 people found this document helpful
This preview shows page 269 - 270 out of 281 pages.
armed conflict and every decision to deploy WMD, of whatever type, must be considered within the full context of other relevant actors, agencies, and term strategies or results,12 a pragmatist perspective is unlikely to result in the kind of abstract thinking that antiwar feminism criticizes in dominant just war and realist approaches.13Feminism also shares pragmatism's rejection of traditional rationalist and empiricist approaches and its commitment to the inseparability of theory and practice.14 Both believe that reason must be grounded inexperience and requires being supplemented, at least in particular circumstances, by emotion.15 In this respect, feminists also favor a posteriori rather than a priori forms of knowledge, those that develop on the basis of experience rather than those that are posited prior to it.16In sum, both pragmatism and feminism accord a central place to the particular, the concrete, and the factual elements of experience, as opposed to the universal, the generalizable, and the abstract.17 This opposition to abstraction is apparent, for example, in feminist understandings of women's "different voice" and Dewey's views about the importance of the qualitative background of situations. In contrast to mainstream philosophy, both feminist and pragmatist perspectives focus on everyday life and emphasize respect for others and the constitutiveness of community. The pragmatists' sensitivity to the social embeddedness of persons led them to understand the "I" "only in relation to other selves, so that the autonomy of individual agents needed to be integrated with their status as social beings" existing in community. 18This common conception of the "relational self" suggests that both pragmatists and feminists will resist turning others into "the Other," who can then be demonized and made into "the enemy," suitable to be killed. The feminist commitment to the well-being of others, in both the local and the global community, is well illustratedby Carol Cohn's and Sara Ruddick's contribution to this volume. However, this commitment also provides the basis for the pragmatist feminist position articulated here that refuses to categorically rule out the moral legitimacy ofany resort to armed force or war, since such resort may be morally imperative to protect innocent others.In addition to these marked similarities, it is also important to acknowledge how a pragmatist feminism differssignificantly from American Pragmatism.Perhaps most important is pragmatist feminism's attention to the gendered character of the social world and gender's impact on the formation and maintenance of male and female identities. These subjects largely were ignored by the American Pragmatists19 but influence the analysis of the ethics of WMDoutlined here. In addition, feminists tend to give greater import to the cognitive aspects of affect than pragmatists, even though, as already discussed, pragmatists recognize the importance of emotions to agency and cognition.