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Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Philosophy

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Video: Do we know what knowing is?
Duration: 00:24:23
Date: 13-06-1973
Video: The concept of mind
Duration: 00:24:27
Date: 14-03-1973
Video: Introduction to logic
Duration: 00:23:00
Date: 22-02-1972

Philosophy is dominated by white men. Women’s ideas in philosophy (and beyond) have historically been underrepresented, and worse, silenced. The same goes for the ideas from other marginalised groups, for example, Black and Asian people, people from ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQIA+ community. This is to the detriment not just of those who are excluded but of the areas that have excluded them, which are deprived of their worthy contributions.  
A 2018 survey conducted by the Higher Education Statistics Agency showed that only 29.7% of philosophers employed in UK universities are women. This is the lowest representation of women in any discipline outside of science, technology, and engineering. The British Philosophical Association together with the Society for Women in Philosophy UK similarly report from their 2021 survey that the percentage of women in UK universities drops from roughly 48% in undergraduate studies to 25% at the career level of Professorship. The numbers are believed to be even lower when considering additional factors such as race and ethnicity, though the specific data is not yet available. 
However, the construction of race and the binary of men/women should be challenged, rather than reinforced. And perhaps in an ideal world the race and gender of a philosopher would simply be irrelevant. But since we are not living in a world where race and gender are irrelevant, it is important to highlight these aspects of identity. Problematically, though, once highlighted, these aspects of identity take over the reception of the works and result in them being side-lined. Therefore, we must remind ourselves that women philosophers are not (just) philosophers for women who (just) work on gender, and Black philosophers are not (just) philosophers for Black people who (just) work on race, for example. 
An intersectionally feminist, human-centered (rather than man-centered) world of philosophy is still only in its early stages of the making, and philosophy has a lot further to go in order to come to terms with its patriarchal and racist history and assumptions. Western philosophical ideas grew out of the positions of white men of privilege, and those men used their analyses to justify those positions—a never-ending, and vicious, echo-chamber. But when women and people of colour with different understandings and experiences enter the discussion, the analysis shifts. And so perhaps what is needed is a study of the sociology of philosophy (and the philosophy of sociology, for good measure!). 
Suki Finn
Suki Finn is a Lecturer in Philosophy at Royal Holloway University of London and an executive committee member of the Society for Women in Philosophy UK.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Philosophy (page 3 of 4)