Arnhart, Larry. "Feminism, Primatology, and Ethical Naturalism." Politics and the Life Sciences, 11, 2 (August, 1992):157-70. [Three commentaries and response, pp. 171-78].
Abstract. Primatology supports a feminist ethical naturalism rooted in evolutionary biology. Patriarchal exploitation can be condemned as contrary to women's natural needs and capacities, although prudence is required in recognizing how ecological circumstances limit the range of practicable reform. Donna Haraway's history of primatology, however, illustrates the tendency of some feminists to reject naturalistic realism in favor of nihilistic relativism. Such relativism is disastrous for the feminist position, because it deprives the feminist of any ground in nature for criticizing patriarchal customs. The scenario of "Woman the Gatherer" illustrates feminist naturalism in primatology. Judging female circumcision as frustrating the natural needs of both men and women illustrates the power of feminist naturalism for cultural critique.
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