Carnal ethics. Ann Cahill interviewed by Richard Marshall.

Ann Cahill is a funky feminist po-mo philosophical fabadabadoo who steps up to the groove to think about intersubjectivity in all its guises.She defends big words, considers the astoundingly deep inability of US culture to understand the emotions of miscarriage, finds continental philosophy condusive, considers Foucault’s wrong about rape, settles more in Irigaray’s camp than Butlers’, (but doesn’t want to stereotype them), insists on the embodiment of humans, finds there’s still a lot to do about sexism in philosophy even though it’s getting better, has things to say about beautification and self defence and has thoughts about ways of overcoming objectification through a carnal ethics. All in all this makes her a feminosophical blast.

3:AM: What made you become a philosopher?

Ann Cahill: I was fortunate enough to discover philosophy in high school, which is fairly unusual in the US (I went to a small, private high school). I can still remember that shocking feeling of recognition, as if I had suddenly stumbled into a conversation where everyone was talking about the stuff I cared about in a language that I understood. It was only a semester-long course, but I left it knowing that I would major in philosophy in college. My undergraduate studies gave me the confidence that I had some capacity for it, but it wasn’t until spring of my senior year that I decided to pursue my doctorate. I think the prospect of graduating from college made me realise that I should always, always, always be in school! My primary motivation for pursuing graduate studies in philosophy was that I loved the discipline and wanted to learn more; I wasn’t thinking too much about career possibilities (probably a good thing, as the job market was dismal then and only got worse). But as my graduate studies continued, and I discovered how much I really enjoyed teaching as well as writing philosophy, I identified more and more as a philosopher and started to hope that I might be able to find a way to make my living doing this work. I’ve been crazily lucky in being able to do just that.

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