Year of Publication

2021

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Philosophy

First Advisor

Dr. Arnold Farr

Abstract

The spectre of an inescapably divided working class has haunted every generation of marxist theorists, including the latest wave of marxist feminists engaged in the research programme known as Social Reproduction Theory (SRT). In this dissertation, I will explain how Marx’s clear theoretical debt to Aristotle extends into the marxist feminist analysis of social reproductive labor and of the exploitation, class interests, and normative demands which condition such care workers. I will demonstrate how SRT can follow Marx’s own example in reading Aristotle, critically yet charitably, in order to resolve three problems. First, Aristotle’s original concept of use value (built upon by marxist feminists) can help to clarify how exploitation is mediated through hierarchical sub-classes. Second, one version of neo-Aristotelian virtue ethics, which borrows from feminist care ethics, can offer marxist feminism a ‘dialectical ethic’: as contexts change, so too should one’s requisite actions and feelings in order to keep a balanced character exemplifying liberatory virtues (e.g. care and justice) rather than reactionary vices (e.g. neglect and complicity). Third, Aristotle’s nuanced concept of the common good (despite its problematic hierarchicalism) can inform marxist feminism’s liberatory strategy, which involves transforming and aligning both the external goods (e.g. material necessities) and internal goods (e.g. virtuous capabilities) of each subclass in a patriarchal racialized class system.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/etd.2021.007

Funding Information

This dissertation research was supported by the University of Kentucky Department of Philosophy Teaching Assistantship from 2015 - 2020.

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