2nd Edition

Overcoming Objectification A Carnal Ethics

By Ann J. Cahill Copyright 2025
    248 Pages
    by Routledge

    248 Pages
    by Routledge

    The second edition of Overcoming Objectification: A Carnal Ethics provides a critical analysis of the widely used (particularly in feminist philosophy) concept of objectification, and offers a new concept (derivatization) in its stead.

    Cahill suggests an abandonment of objectification due to the concept’s dependence on a Kantian ideal of personhood, an ideal that fails to recognize sufficiently the role the body plays in personhood, and results in an implicit vilification of the body and sexuality. Phenomena associated with objectification are ethically problematic not because they render women objects, and therefore not-persons, but rather because they construct feminine subjectivity and sexuality as wholly derivative of masculine subjectivity and sexuality. Women are not objectified as much as they are derivatized: turned into a mere reflection or projection of the other. Cahill argues for a sexual ethics grounded in difference, carnality, and intersubjectivity. The preface to the second edition traces new scholarly contributions to conversations regarding sexual ethics, feminist engagements with Kant, intersectionality, and trans philosophy.

    With original and far-reaching insights regarding the structure of gender inequality, this work will be of interest to students and scholars in the humanities and social sciences alike, and will be of particular use to those interested in sexual ethics, sexual assault, and dominant media representations of gendered bodies.

    Preface to First Edition

    Preface to Second Edition

    1. Troubling Objectification

    2. Derivatization

    3. Masculine Sex Objects

    4. Unsexed Women

    5. Objectification and/in Sex Work

    6. Sexual Violence and Objectification

    7. Conclusion: Feeling Bodies


    Ann J. Cahill is Professor of Philosophy and Distinguished University Professor at Elon University. Her research interests lie at the intersection of feminist theory and philosophy of the body. She is the author of Rethinking Rape (2001) and, with Christine Hamel, Sounding Bodies: Identity, Injustice, and the Voice  (2021), as well as articles on such topics as beautification, miscarriage, and the ethics of sexual desire.