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Record Type: Review   ID: 561

Situating the Self: Gender, Community and Postmodernism in Contemporary Ethics

Benhabib, Seyla

 This is a collection of previously published essays with several updated. Benhabib argues on behalf of a "post-Enlightenment interactive universalism," which assumes that everyone has the same duties and rights, but also takes into consideration the concrete individual situatedness of each person. The book is in two parts, the first consisting of four chapters on "Modernity, Morality, and Ethical Life," and the second of four chapters on "Autonomy, Feminism and Postmodernism." Of special importance is Chapter 7, "Feminism and the Question of Postmodernism," which considers their "temporary alliance" as critics of "Western Enlightenment and modernity" (p. 203). However, Benhabib cautions that one will have to choose between the two. They are not headed in the same direction in the long run: "The postmodernist position(s) thought through to their conclusions may eliminate not only the specificity of feminist theory but place in question the very emancipatory ideals of the women’s movements altogether" (p. 213). This, in turn, has implications for the types of new science that may evolve. It appears that it is feminist science, not simply postmodern forms of science, that would be most hospitable toward and equipped to investigate exceptional human experience.
Publisher Information:New York: Routledge, 1992. 266p. Chap. bibl; Index: 260-266
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