EMILY C. R. TILTON
I'm a philosophy Ph.D. student at the University of British Columbia. I have broad interests in feminist philosophy, though I am especially interested in feminist epistemology and sexual ethics. My research currently concerns the relationship between standpoint epistemology and more traditional epistemology; I'm trying to offer an account of standpoint epistemology that is compatible with many "mainstream" epistemological commitments that other standpoint theorists reject.
In my spare time, I like to spend time with my friends, partner, and cats. I'm also often at the thrift store looking for new weird objects to decorate my apartment with.
If you would like to contact me, my email address is email@example.com.
Not What I Agreed To: Content and Consent. Ethics (2021). (Co-authored with Jonathan Ichikawa).
Deception sometimes results in nonconsensual sex. A recent body of literature diagnoses such violations as invalidating consent: the agreement is not morally transformative, which is why the sexual contact is a rights violation. We pursue a different explanation for the wrongs in question: there is valid consent, but it is not consent to the sex act that happened. Semantic conventions play a key role in distinguishing deceptions that result in nonconsensual sex (like stealth condom removal) from those that don’t (like white lies). Our framework is also applicable to more controversial cases, like those implicated in so-called “gender fraud” complaints.
There is an undeniable cultural tendency to unjustly dismiss (many) women’s rape allegations. One popular explanation for this tendency is that people think that rape is not that bad. I reject this explanation--it is incompatible with the deadly seriousness with which allegations that black men have raped white women are met. Instead, I argue that rape myths function to distort the epistemic resources people bring to bear on rape allegations. These myths disrupt people’s abilities to accurately recognize most rapes. So, rape allegations are unjustly dismissed because people (incorrectly) judge that there was no rape. Catastrophizing myths play a central role in this story. Centering this category of myths helps to explain why reactions to rape allegations vary along racial lines, and also why rape culture persists in the face of widespread disavowal of rape. Draft available on request.
Works in (Various Stages of) Progress:
[Title redacted for anonymous peer review]
Standpoint theorists have long been clear that marginalization does not make better understanding a given. They have been less clear, though, that social dominance does not make ignorance a given. Indeed, many standpoint theorists have implicitly committed themselves to what I call the strong epistemic disadvantage thesis. According to this thesis, there are strong, substantive limits on what the socially dominant can know about oppression that they do not personally experience. I argue that this thesis is not just implausible but politically pernicious; it is an excuse for ignorance and silence that stifles our ability to address many significant injustices. Moreover, I argue that if we are to avoid lending support to the SEDT while working within a standpoint theory framework, we must hold that the socially dominant can achieve marginalized standpoints. So, we must hold that men can achieve feminist standpoints, that white women (and men) can achieve black feminists standpoints, and so on. available on request.
Gender Conformity and Aesthetic Achievement
Standard feminist analysis suggests that women face a hard choice: they can either satisfy feminine appearance norms and contribute to women's oppression, or they can refuse to conform and pay the high personal costs. However, this analysis obscures that the performance of femininity can itself be empowering, as some trans theorists have recently claimed. Thus, I identify a form of resistance that is enabled through the satisfaction of feminine appearance norms. I argue that this form of resistance is valuable in part because the satisfaction of feminine appearance norms constitutes a genuine and valuable aesthetic achievement.
There is a reason I publish as 'Emily C. R. Tilton' and not just 'Emily Tilton'. There is another Emily Tilton who publishes erotic novels. If you google my name, many of her books come up. This disambiguation section serves to emphasize that I did not write these books.
Given my interest in (feminist) sexual ethics, I think this coincidence is extremely funny. My favorite plotline is from her book Bought and Trained: women sign up for a concubine training program and (consensually) have their memory of consenting to this program erased. You can read the blurb for this book here. I have not actually read this book and so cannot recommend more than the blurb. I recognize that this particular storyline puts some pressure on my insistence that I did not write this book--the plotline reads like a philosopher's thought experiment. This is part of why I am so amused by this coincidence.