University of Kansas, Spring 2005
Philosophy 674: Philosophy of Law
Study questions: chapter 7, “Feminism and the Law”
The following questions are intended to guide your reading of the assigned texts
by calling attention to key concepts, distinctions, principles, and other parts
of the texts. The questions are listed in the order in which their answers
should become evident to a close reader.
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- pp. 199–208 (based on questions written by Nathan Roser)
- What do feminists refer to using the term ‘patriarchy’? Why, according to
feminists, should patriarchy be eradicated? How do feminists say it can
- What three theses are endorsed by liberal feminists but rejected by
- What two conditions must be satisfied in order for discrimination to take
place? What further feature must be present in order for there to be
- In what two ways do radical feminists attack the liberal idea of a zone of
- How, according to radical feminists, does the division of labor in a
typical marriage tend to benefit the man more than the woman?
- pp. 208–220 (based on questions written by Marit Genero)
- With what do radical feminists replace the privacy-based abortion-rights
argument? What is one objection to the radical feminists’ argument? What is
one of the two counter-arguments that Altman gives to this objection?
- What is the liberal feminists’ argument for abortion rights? What argument
is this supplemented with?
- What two types of arguments does Altman consider when evaluating the
radical and liberal feminists’ arguments for abortion rights? How do the
radical feminists’ claims fare in terms of these two types of arguments? How
do the liberal feminists’ claims fare in terms of these two types of
- What are the two sides to the difference debate? Specifically, what do
radical feminists argue for? What do liberal feminists argue for?
- What is the argument about women’s values and about how they should affect
- pp. 220–233
- On what basis do radical feminists argue for laws against pornography?
- On what basis do liberal feminists object to laws against pornography? How
do radical feminists respond to the claims of liberal feminists?
- How does the Indianapolis law involved in American Booksellers
Association v. Hudnut differ from obscenity laws?
- What is MacKinnon’s criticism of Easterbrook’s insistence on the principle
of viewpoint neutrality?
- What claim of some radical feminists would reject any attempt to settle
the pornography issue through the practice of reasoned argument and
- American Booksellers Association v. Hudnut (based on questions
written by Cliff Phillips)
- The selections to be read are the following parts of Easterbrook’s
- the introductory section
- the first paragraph and the last paragraph of section I
- all of section II
- all of section III (but the footnotes can be skipped)
- Advocates of the Indianapolis ordinance acknowledge that the ordinance
differs from obscenity laws. Given this, what do they see (according to
Easterbrook) as the purpose of the ordinance, if not to “vindicate community
standards of offensiveness”?
- What is Easterbrook’s view in regard to whether pornography tends to
perpetuate the subordination of women? What is his view in regard to whether
pornography is a form of speech?
- What is Easterbrook's position on whether speech can actually play a
part in psychological conditioning that results in harm? What is
Easterbrook’s view in regard to whether it is permissible to prohibit speech
on the grounds that it results in harmful conditioning?
- Ultimately, why is Indianapolis’s anti-pornography statute a violation
of the First Amendment? (On this point, see Easterbrook’s mention of the
power to declare truth.)
- In what way can Easterbrook's opinion be said to support certain
feminism? (On this point, see the last paragraph of section III.)