Living with Contradictions

Controversies in Feminist Social Ethics


Edited by Alison M Jaggar

First Edition • April 26, 1994 • 698 pages


Print ISBN: 9780813317762 • $75.00 USD$64.99 CAN

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Some people believe that feminist ethics is little more than a series of dogmatic positions on issues such as abortion rights, pornography, and affirmative action.

This caricature was never true, but Alison Jaggar’s Living with Contradictions is the first book to demonstrate just how rich and complex feminist ethics has become. Beginning with the modest assumption that feminism demands an examination of moral issues with a commitment to ending women’s subordination, this anthology shows that one can no longer divide social issues into those that are feminist and those that are not.

Living with Contradictions does address many of the traditionally feminist issues. But it also includes issues not generally recognized as gendered, such as militarism, environmentalism, and the treatment of animals, demonstrating the value of a feminist perspective in these cases. And, far from reflecting any monolithic orthodoxy, the book shows that there is a rich diversity of views on many moral issues among those who share a feminist commitment.

Readers can sample a varied selection of papers and essays from books, journals, newspapers, and grassroots newsletters. Covering a wide range of moral issues, this collection refuses to offer simple solutions, choosing instead to reflect the complexities and contradictions facing anyone attempting to live up to feminist ideals in a painfully pre-feminist world.

Based on years of the editor’s work in the field, imaginatively edited, and including generous introductions for students, this is the ideal text for introducing feminist perspectives into courses in ethics, social ethics, and public policy.


Alison M. Jaggar is professor of philosophy and women studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

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