Context

(Student Guide to World Philosophy)

Written about twenty years after the birth of the women’s movement in the 1960’s, Feminist Politics and Human Nature analyzes that movement’s writings and goals as political theory. Alison M. Jaggar attempts to sort the varied and often contradictory statements of the feminist movement into coherent systems of thought. In doing so, she traces the assumptions about human nature that underlay each system and its implied or explicit “solutions” to women’s inequality.

To many, the feminism of the 1960’s and 1970’s was an entirely new way of looking at the world. Early advocates for the women’s movement looked back to the suffragists of the nineteenth century and traced the emergence of feminist consciousness to societal sexism that persisted even during the 1960’s antiwar and Civil Rights movements. In addition, during the 1960’s, feminist writers were discovering the hidden history of women, showing how people’s assumptions about things as diverse as pronoun usage, witchcraft trials, and the scientific method were all filtered through a cultural mindset that defined men as the norm.