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Feminist Philosophy

Instructors: N. Wildman and A. Cawston

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to basic texts and basic topics in feminist philosophy. To that end, this course surveys a range of issues in feminist philosophy and serves as an introduction to several of feminism’s key philosophical insights and contributions, which span a number of standard philosophical areas, including ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of science, and political philosophy. By the end of the term students should be able to speak competently about important themes in feminist philosophy, such as identity, objectivity, the self-other relation, sexuality, gendered embodiment, agency and freedom; and about the contributions of a number of important thinkers in feminist philosophy. Students will gain exposure to feminist appropriations and criticisms of the Western philosophical tradition as well as debates within feminist thinking.

The course is divided into three units. We’ll begin with a general introduction to feminism, touching upon central questions about what exactly feminism is, as well as central themes in gender theory, including essentialism, dualisms, and the construction of gender. The second part of the course explores feminist contributions to epistemology and philosophy of science, particularly arguments for a feminist epistemology emphasizing the situated condition of knowers and of knowledge, grounded in critiques of objectivity. Then, the third part of the course examines applied issues in feminist philosophy, including economic justice and pornography.

As well as regular attendance (evidenced by the completion of small, in-class quizzes), students are expected to participate in class discussion, sometimes in small groups, and to complete weekly reading assignments. While no prior knowledge is presupposed, because many of the topics  we will examine relate to established theories and concepts drawn from the standard Western philosophical canon, basic knowledge of core debates in e.g. metaphysics, epistemology, and political philosophy will be useful for understanding the feminist critiques/contributions.

 Course Materials

 Further Materials

The following German texts – all written by Christian Folde – are all useful: