Kant’s approach to alterity and women


  • Holly L WILSON




gender norms, women, Kant, stereotyping, gender policing


Accusing Kant of ‘sexism’ conceals what the real issues are: Kant was primarily making comments about women in
his attempt to do popular philosophy and empirical science. Being an amateur at the empirical sciences, he actually was engaged in promoting gender norms for women especially. He was also concerned about international males conforming to the gender norms of working and self-governance. In addition, Kant engaged in the activity of gender policing and stereotyping women. His comments on women scholars and his treatment of Maria von Herbert illustrate these behaviors. When one assesses Kant’s distinctions between males and females it illustrates that he wants women to conform to gender roles, but this does not mean women cannot as rational human beings conform their actions to the moral law. What it does mean is that they probably will not conform their actions to the moral law, since conforming to the gender role of a woman in 18th century Germany was not conducive to self-governance. We can conclude anecdotally from Kant’s experience with Maria von Herbert that one’s dignity does not reside in gender norm conformity, nor in being under moral laws, but rather in working outside the home and acquiring a meaningful identity.


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Biografia do Autor


Dr. Holly L Wilson has a Ph.D. in philosophy from The Pennsylvania State University where she studied with Prof. Dr. Thomas M. Seebohm. She has been researching and writing on Kant and women, and Kant and animals for more than 30 years. Her book on Kant’s Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View (SUNY Press, 2006) has been gaining international attention as Kantians are beginning to reflect on Kant’s works in the empirical sciences and how that relates to his critical works. Her article on the “Green Kant: Kant’s Treatment of Animals” continues to keep Kant’s philosophy alive in the debates about the best basis for environmental ethics and animal’s rights and welfare. Dr. Wilson has written several articles on Kant and Ecofeminism, tying together her interests in applying Kant to environmental ethics, animals, and women’s issues. She is currently working on a book on happiness and how to become happy.entity.




Como Citar

WILSON, H. L. (2023). Kant’s approach to alterity and women. Estudos Kantianos [EK], 11(1), 119. https://doi.org/10.36311/2318-0501.2023.v11n1.p119



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