Metaphors of Being a Φ

  • Marilyn Frye


The category women is a central analytic category of feminism, but has been very troubled in feminist theory and philosophy. In the background of the troubles with the category women is the metaphoric image of a social category as a set and its exemplars as set members. But the category women cannot be defined as sets are defined, so that is an inappropriate metaphor. A number of feminists and race theorists turn to Wittgenstein, who offers alternative metaphors. This chapter explores the powers and resonances of his metaphors—in the case of “family resemblance,” using the work of cognitive psychologists Rosch and Mervis on categories that have prototype structure.


Natural Kind Social Category Category Membership Family Resemblance Living Thing 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Michigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

Personalised recommendations