Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Feminist Perspectives on the Body

In terms of the history of western philosophy, the philosophy of embodiment is relatively recent. For much of this history the body has been conceptualised as simply one biological object among others, part of a biological nature which our rational faculties set us apart from, as well as an instrument to be directed and a possible source of disruption to be controlled. Problematically for feminists, the opposition between mind and body has also been correlated with an opposition between male and female, with the female regarded as enmeshed in her bodily existence in a way that makes attainment of rationality questionable. "Women are somehow more biological, morecorporeal, and more natural than men" (Grosz 14). Such enmeshment in corporeality was also attributed to colonised bodies and those attributed to the lower classes (McClintock 1995, Alcoff 2006, 103). Challenging such assumptions required feminists to confront corporeality in order to elucidate and confront constructions of sexual difference.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Animal Rights and Buddhism

From a Buddhist perspective, it seems to me the tricky part of this question is not "animals," but "rights." The concept of rights developed in western civilization over many centuries and came to fruition during the 17th century or so, in the work of Enlightenment philosophers such as John Locke.  But there was no such concept in the world 25 centuries ago, during the time of the Buddha.