PHIL 169: Feminism and Philosophy [Winter 2016]


This course is an introduction to feminist philosophy. We’ll discuss why feminism has mattered to philosophers and how to apply philosophy to issues women (and men) face in everyday life. We’ll consider several questions:

  • What is feminism, and why did it arise as a movement? We start with an understanding of what feminism is and how it developed from the 19th century up to today.
  • What are some debates within feminism? Next, we look at some of the complexities and controversies within current feminist philosophy: on whether pornography contributes to the oppression of women and on the nature of a sex/gender distinction.
  • What contributions can feminism make to philosophy? The two issues we discuss here are the ethics of care (a controversial contribution feminists have made to moral theory) and recent work in feminist epistemology.
  • What problems will feminism tackle in the future? We close our course by considering three issues feminism has grappled with in the past and will continue to grapple with in the future: class, race, and the environment.