Jordan Peterson on gender: An analysis

Note: I wrote this in early 2019 as part of a collective critique of Jordan Peterson’s ideologies. I was concerned about the influence he was apparently having on people within my social circles, and worried about the potential cultural ramifications as he gained a wider audience, particularly amongst impressionable young men.

Introduction

When Peterson speaks of the “differences between men and women” a strong sense emerges that Peterson subscribes to a kind of evolutionary psychology in the realm of gender and sex (he also esteems Evolutionary Psychology: The New Science of the Mind as a ‘great text’). Evolutionary psychology constitutes a theoretical approach that attempts to understand mental and psychological traits as functional products of natural selection. Many critiques have tackled it (including this one, worth watching for better understanding the foundational assumptions of evolutionary psychology and the problems with it). I will restrict myself to evolutionary psychology as it relates to what Peterson says about sex and gender, and will begin by fairly summarizing some of Peterson’s positions here.

Peterson’s position on women’s personalities

Peterson and his fans often claim he is taken out context. For a charitable representation of his position, this answer he gave is instructive:

Continue reading “Jordan Peterson on gender: An analysis”
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Aristotle, Happiness and Eudaimonia

This is an old essay from one of my first philosophy units. It’s a bit formal and academic for a blog, but I wanted to post it anyway.

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Ancient Greek philosophers such as the Stoics and Aristotle have connected living a happy life with living an ethical life. They argued that in order to achieve happiness, one must live an ethical life. I agree with the argument that one cannot be happy unless they live an ethical life. In saying this, a number of key definitions need to be made and the reasoning for this connection must be explained. I will outline these key definitions based on Aristotle’s approach to virtue ethics and my own views. I will describe Aristotle’s argument for the link between an ethical life and a happy life. I will then put forward my own arguments as to why I agree with the theory. I will argue that there is a direct link between an ethical life and Eudaimonia, and a person cannot live a truly happy life (achieve Eudaimonia) unless they are living an ethical life.

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Ethics in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

If you could remove a painful memory, would you? Should you? These are some of the central questions that Michel Gondry’s (dir. 2004) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind asks. The film seems to offer some of its own answers to these questions, and interpretations by Christopher Grau and Troy Jollimore that draw on the content of the film and external philosophical concepts offer more (Grau 2006, Jollimore 2009). On one hand, Eternal Sunshine argues that memory removal is indeed wrong. On the other, it offers a less systematic ethical stance that aligns more closely with a Nietzschean immoralist world view. The film uses narrative and characterisation techniques to explore these philosophical and ethical concepts on memory removal and ways of living.

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Vivre sa vie: Nana the Unwitting Philosopher

The Unwitting Philosopher

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The film Vivre sa vie, directed by Jean Godard, contains and prompts thought on a variety of philosophical and sociological concepts. The eleventh scene is perhaps the most directly philosophical scene. The main character, Nana [Anna Karina] and a philosopher in a café, Brice Parain [playing himself] meet by chance and discuss the relationship between language, thought, truth, and authentic expression[i]. Continue reading “Vivre sa vie: Nana the Unwitting Philosopher”

Essay: Gender Hegemony and The Subordinate Power of Women

Raewyn Connell established that gender is relational in her book, Masculinities, originally published in 1993. Since then, her theory that masculinity only exists in relation to femininity has been built upon by other scholars. Both hegemonic masculinity and hegemonic femininity function together to maintain the patriarchy and cannot function without each other. Social changes in mainstream femininity and new, empowering ideas about individual freedom can further change understandings of the gender hegemony dynamic. Continue reading “Essay: Gender Hegemony and The Subordinate Power of Women”

Intersectional Feminism: Sojourner Truth and Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

“If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat. It is an unnecessary insult.” – Maya Angelou

In 1851, Sojourner Truth stood up at a Women’s Convention in Ohio, and delivered her impromtu speech, Ain’t I A Woman?

Here’s an excerpt from it: Continue reading “Intersectional Feminism: Sojourner Truth and Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”

Monsters Beneath the Surface: The Metamorphosis and Frankenstein

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, both contain themes of monsters and the monstrous. The monstrous in both texts arises from the relationship of the individual to society. The key characters in The Metamorphosis and Frankenstein that generate ‘the monstrous’ are Gregor and the Creature, respectively. While both characters are perceived by their surrounding humans as inferior monsters, it is in fact this perception of Gregor and the Creature that reveals the true nature of ‘the monstrous’. In both texts, these characters are outcast from Continue reading “Monsters Beneath the Surface: The Metamorphosis and Frankenstein”