Philosophy of Feminism (PHIL*2060) | College of Arts

Philosophy of Feminism (PHIL*2060)

Term: Winter 2013


 Feminism is, in one sense, a critique of the male-dominated social and political structures that have denied women full rights, opportunities and modes of self-expression. Feminism is, in another (related) sense, a body of thought about human nature, human society and human rights. Feminism is, in every sense, transformative. It is intended to change not just our way of acting, but our way of thinking as well. In this course, we will be examining how philosophy itself transforms under a feminist gaze; specifically, how traditional philosophical thinking might be altered so as to represent the human experience beyond that of privileged men. The intention of feminist philosophers goes beyond merely transforming the discipline, however. By rethinking notions of human nature and human moral life, feminists seek to establish a sound and practical intellectual foundation for the transformation of our social and political institutions. We will be approaching the course in two parts: The first part of the course is devoted to feminist interpretations of traditional metaphysical and epistemological questions (conceptions of reality, of human nature, and of human knowledge); the second part of the course is devoted to feminist interpretations of traditional moral questions (conceptions of duty, right, agency, and responsibility).

The objective of this course is to approach some of the central and most pressing philosophical issues through a feminist lens. In this way, we will not only cover some very important philosophical terrain, but we will have the opportunity to see how these issues are brought to bear on human social and political life. In this way, this course will provide insight into the way theories of human nature and human moral life can, and must, inform any successful activist program. In this way, the philosophy of feminism is as much about philosophy as it is about feminism itself.
 1-   Women Knowledge and Reality, 2nd edition, eds. Ann Garry and Marilyn Pearsall (Routledge, 1996).
 2 -   Setting the Moral Compass, ed. Chesire Calhoun (Oxford, 2004)


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