Talk

Advanced search

Nussbaum vs Butler

(8 Posts)
9toenails Mon 17-Apr-17 15:32:28

I wonder if this is a good place to ask.

My question: what is your take on Judith Butler, particularly in the light of Martha Nussbaum's critique? (At e.g. faculty.georgetown.edu/irvinem/theory/Nussbaum-Butler-Critique-NR-2-99.pdf)

-- Why this question, why from me?

I joined MN mainly to look for up-to-date hints/tips about childcare, as an elderly man with the great good fortune to be regularly in sole charge of/caring for small grandchildren. MN is, indeed, useful for that. Thanks MN. I also looked around, and amongst other things, stumbled on some of your 'trans' threads. (I don't do any social media, facebook, twitter; nothing, really, since usenet died and the internet was invaded by advertising.)

At first I took the contemporary trans narrative I came across just as an interesting raw example of cognitive error and its consequences (professionally, in a way, though I won't expand here) ... but then I became disturbed by, well, obviously disturbing things like early transition, puberty blockers, effects on youngsters in general. Also, I count myself feminist (as much as a man can be - I support partner and daughters as well as I can), and the trans narrative, with its peculiar accent on gender, looked more and more anti-feminist the more I found out about it. I see feminism as a hope for the world (trying not to gush too much here!), so anything anti-feminist I'm generally inclined to be opposed to.

OK, so I tried to educate myself a bit on theoretical aspects of what's going on. I had read Greer's 'Female Eunuch' way back in the early 70's, generally convinced by that, albeit I was a bit younger then ... but very little other until fairly recently. Over time I have read various pieces by Martha Nussbaum; she seems one of the greats -- for example my mind was changed in some important ways by 'The Fragility of Goodness' some time ago; it's unusual when a book does that, well worth celebrating. And so on and so on.

There's a little of my background and reasons for asking, anyway. Anyone interested to reply, I wonder? Sorry to be so prolix.

Nussbaum? Or Butler?

9toenails Mon 17-Apr-17 15:52:02

I'm sorry, the link didn't work right. Here it is again:
Nussbaum-Butler

Booboostwo Mon 17-Apr-17 16:24:26

Nussbaum without a doubt. She has a stunning intellect and a wonderful ability to develop a nuanced and imaginative argument.

Butler...postmodernist rubbish.

wigglybeezer Mon 17-Apr-17 19:42:32

That has filled in a lot of gaps in my knowledge, thanks for the link.
I can remember the first time postmodernism ruined something for me; i was a post-graduate fine art student when a visiting professor critiqued my work, ideas, indeed the whole idea and purpose of art from a po-mo perspective, i ended up with artists block for years!

9toenails Tue 18-Apr-17 09:45:15

Thanks for the replies.

Booboostwo, yes I tend to agree, particularly wrt Nussbaum. Has postmodernism just died out in more recent feminist theory, I wonder?

wigglybeezer, glad you liked the link. Your story is sad; I did used to think rather of postmodernism as a kind of disease clever young people could catch ... and of at least some of their teachers as engaged in a trahison des clercs. (I'm a little less inclined to be so definite now; 'let a hundred flowers bloom'?)

I do wonder if anything is salvageable from postmodern analysis of sexual politics and gender issues. Is there? Maybe I'm just becoming too tolerant as I get older.

EnidColeslaw771 Tue 18-Apr-17 09:55:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Booboostwo Tue 18-Apr-17 14:41:48

I don't know if postmodernism has died in feminist theory, interesting question though, maybe someone else knows?

I work firmly in the analytic tradition, mainly on Aristotle, so I am more familiar with Nussbaum's earlier works.

dogendsaredogs Sun 18-Feb-18 21:24:12

9toes \thanks so much for the link, very clear and insightful anaysis!

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: