Well, my test today went well. I’m actually pretty confident that I got an A, if not a high A, on it. I think I might have pulled out the latter, but there are a few questions that I’m just not sure about. After the test I did a little work and then celebrated with Thai food… really, really good Thai food at a reasonable priced restaurant (a combination that can be hard to find). Then I relaxed for the rest of the afternoon. Tomorrow it’s back to work. I’ve got a 40 page paper to do final edits on and a 4-6 page paper (single-spaced) to write. After that I am finished with my course work for this program and I just have research left to do. I’m honestly pretty proud of myself.

So, you all need a question, don’t you? Alayna and I had a discussion about multitasking and whether it is fundamentally more natural for women. I will admit that it took me a while to understand what she was trying to say, but I think that I finally got her argument. Alayna’s argument was (if I understand correctly) that women were created to deal with multiple things at once (like caring for five kids), and they function best and find the most fulfillment when they are multitasking. Men, on the other hand, were created to deal with one thing at a time, and thus function best and find the most fulfillment when doing so. Now, this is an issue of process, not necessarily of result. So, sitting a man and a woman down and telling them both to read and comprehend a text will result in very different processes, but might have the same result (i.e. eventually the book is read and understood). Similarly, asking a man and a woman to take care of five rowdy kids for the day (including lunch and dinner, nap-time, washing, and bed-time) may result in very different processes, but still have the same result (i.e. the kids get fed, napped, washed, and put to bed).

If I am understanding here correctly, Alayna’s argument is that the man’s natural process is designed to deal with the former type of situation, and thus that he will handle it more efficiently than the woman, and the woman’s natural process is designed to deal with the latter type of situation and thus she will handle it more efficiently than the man. If true this could explain a part of the reason why certain careers that require a high-degree of multitasking (such as nursing or teaching elementary school) are dominantly pursued by women, while careers that require intense single-minded focus are more often pursued by men. However, it also means that a man could excel in a career that requires multiple jobs to be done and that a woman could excel at a job that requires single-minded focus – simply not as efficiently or as easily as the other gender might.

So, consider: do you think that men are naturally designed more more single-minded pursuits and that women are naturally designed for multitasking? Why or why not?

Also, please note that while I think I’ve got a fair handle on Alayna’s arguments, I really could be botching them completely.

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3 thoughts on “Philosophical Story Challenge of the Week

  1. I think she has some great arguments there – but individuality should be given somewhat more credit! However as I female multi-tasker, I might be wrong (but I doubt it!).

    1. Blacklace, I don’t think that she was trying to speak for all women everywhere. She was arguing for a general trend that she sees, not that every individual fits that trend.

  2. In a sense she is talking of all women and men. Our brains are physically very different. Probably the best text of this is still Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus. Yes, we are designed for different things.

    Specificaly, however, research seems to be telling us that no one actually multi tasks. Those who appear to do so simply switch from one task to another smoothly and easily, but they put all their attention to the single one they are accomplishing at the moment.

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