Feminist philosophy

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Feminist philosophy is an approach to philosophy from a feminist perspective and also the employment of philosophical methods to feminist topics and questions. [1] Feminist philosophy involves both reinterpreting philosophical texts and methods in order to supplement the feminist movement and attempts to criticise or re-evaluate the ideas of traditional philosophy from within a feminist framework. [2]


Main features

Feminist philosophy is united by a central concern with gender. It also typically involves some form of commitment to justice for women, whatever form that may take. [3] Aside from these uniting features, feminist philosophy is a diverse field covering a wide range of topics from a variety of approaches. Feminist philosophers, as philosophers, are found in both the analytic and continental traditions, and a myriad of different viewpoints are taken on philosophical issues within those traditions. Feminist philosophers, as feminists, can also belong to many different varieties of feminism. [2]

Feminist philosophy can be understood to have three main functions:

  1. Drawing on philosophical methodologies and theories to articulate and theorize about feminist concerns and perspectives. This can include providing a philosophical analysis of concepts regarding identity (such as race, socio-economic status, gender, sexuality, ability, and religion) and concepts that are very widely used and theorised within feminist theory more broadly. Feminist philosophy has also been an important source for arguments for gender equality.
  2. Investigating sexism and androcentrism within the philosophical tradition. This can involve critiquing texts and theories that are typically classified as part of the philosophical canon, especially by focusing on their presentation of women and women's experience or the exclusion of women from the philosophical tradition. Another significant trend is the rediscovery of the work of many female philosophers whose contributions have not been recognised.
  3. Contributing to philosophy with new approaches to existing questions as well as new questions and fields of research in light of their critical inquiries into the philosophical tradition and reflecting their concern with gender. [3]

Feminist philosophy existed before the twentieth century but became labelled as such in relation to the discourse of second-wave feminism of the 1960s and 1970s. An important project of feminist philosophy has been to incorporate the diversity of experiences of women from different racial groups and socioeconomic classes, as well as of women around the globe.


Feminist philosophers work within a broad range of subfields, including:

Major figures

Influential feminist philosophers include: [ citation needed ]


Critics of feminist philosophy are not generally critics of feminism as a political or cultural movement but of the philosophical positions put forth under the title "feminist philosophy". [ citation needed ]

Writers and thinkers who have criticised aspects of feminist philosophy include:

See also

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Marilyn Frye is an American philosopher and radical feminist theorist. She is known for her theories on sexism, racism, oppression, and sexuality. Her writings offer discussions of feminist topics, such as: white supremacy, male privilege, and gay and lesbian marginalization. Although she approaches the issues from the perspective of justice, she is also deeply engaged with the metaphysics, epistemology, and moral psychology of social categories.

The ethics of care is a normative ethical theory that holds that moral action centers on interpersonal relationships and care or benevolence as a virtue. EoC is one of a cluster of normative ethical theories that were developed by feminists in the second half of the twentieth century. While consequentialist and deontological ethical theories emphasize generalizable standards and impartiality, ethics of care emphasize the importance of response to the individual. The distinction between the general and the individual is reflected in their different moral questions: "what is just?" versus "how to respond?". Carol Gilligan, who is considered the originator of the ethics of care, criticized the application of generalized standards as "morally problematic, since it breeds moral blindness or indifference".

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Linda Martín Alcoff is a Latin-American philosopher and professor of philosophy at Hunter College, City University of New York. Alcoff specializes in epistemology, feminism, race theory and existentialism. She is the author of Visible Identities: Race, Gender, and the Self (2006) and The Future of Whiteness (2015).

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  3. To support political science presuming and pursuing gender equality.

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  1. "Feminist Philosophy - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy". www.iep.utm.edu.
  2. 1 2 Gatens, M., Feminism and Philosophy: Perspectives on Difference and Equality (Indiana University Press, 1991)
  3. 1 2 3 Kittay, Eva Feder & Linda Martín Alcoff, "Introduction: Defining Feminist Philosophy" in The Blackwell Guide to Feminist Philosophy, Blackwell Publishing, 2007. ISBN   0470695382
  4. Gilligan, Carol (1982). In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development. Harvard University Press. ISBN   978-0674970960.
  5. Bowdon, M., Pigg, S., & Pompos Mansfield, L. (2014). Feminine and Feminist Ethics and Service Learning Site Selection: The Role of Empathy. Feminist Teacher, 24(1/2), 57–82.
  6. Oksala, J. (2011). Sexual Experience: Foucault, Phenomenology, and Feminist Theory. Hypatia, 26(1), 207–223.
  7. Schües, C., Olkowski, D. E., & Fielding, H. A. (2011). Time in Feminist Phenomenology. Bloomington, UNITED STATES: Indiana University Press.
  8. Fedorivna, B.-D. L. (2015). Philosophical aspects of understanding the trend of feminist aesthetics. Studia Humanitatis, 3.
  9. Felski, R. (1989). Beyond feminist aesthetics: Feminist literature and social change. Harvard University Press.
  10. Sider, T. (2017). Substantivity in feminist metaphysics. Philosophical Studies, 174(10), 2467-2478.
  11. Always/Already Podcast (November 23, 2014) Always/Already Podcast: Episode 12-LIVING ALTERITIES: PHENOMENOLOGY, EMBODIMENT, AND RACE [Audio Podcast] Retrieved from: https://alwaysalreadypodcast.wordpress.com/2014/11/23/ep-12-living-alterities-phenomenology-embodiment-and-race/
  12. Mikkola, M. (2017). On the apparent antagonism between feminist and mainstream metaphysics. Philosophical Studies, 174(10), 2435–2448
  13. Barnes, E. (2014). XV-Going Beyond the Fundamental: Feminism in Contemporary Metaphysics. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society (Paperback), 114(3pt3), 335–351.
  14. Longino, H. E., & Hammonds, E. (1990). Conflicts and tensions in the feminist study of gender and science. In M. Hirsch & E. F. Keller (Eds.), Conflicts in feminism. New York: Routledge
  15. Richardson, S. S. (2010). Feminist philosophy of science: history, contributions, and challenges. Synthese, 177(3), 337–362.

Further reading