Simone de Beauvoir

Feminist Philosophy

Philosophy 3395, Fall 1995

Professor Cynthia Freeland

Course Syllabus

NOTE: January 1999.
This course has a more current variation now being taught. See the new syllabus at this site.


This course is an advanced survey of recent developments in feminist theory and feminist philosophy, focusing on the unique nature of "theory" in feminist thought and on intersections between feminist philosophy and other developing disciplines within feminism. No philosophy background is assumed, but readings may be difficult and fairly long. The class will involve roughly 60% class discussion in small groups, and so grading will reflect the requirement of regular reading, writing, and group participation.

Required Texts (All in paperback; ordered at UC Bookstore)

Marilyn Pearsall, Ed., Women and Values: Readings in Recent Feminist Philosophy (Wadsworth, 1993)

Patricia Williams, The Alchemy of Race and Rights: Diary of a Law Professor (Harvard, 1991)

Sandra Harding, Ed., The "Racial" Economy of Science (Indiana, 1993)) Luce Irigaray, This Sex Which Is Not One (Cornell, 1985)

Recommended Text:

Mary Mahowald, Ed., The Philosophy of Woman (Hackett, 1983)

Organization of Course

The course will be organized into five units, roughly three weeks each:

  • Unit One: What Is Feminist Theory?

    Readings from Pearsall sections 1 and 4

  • Unit Two: Feminist Theory, Ethics, and Social Philosophy

    Readings from Pearsall sections 3 and 8

  • Unit Three: Feminism and Legal Theory

    Readings from Pearsall section 5 and Williams

  • Unit Four: Feminist Theory and Critical Examinations of Science

    Readings from Harding

  • Unit Five: Feminist Theory Expanded (Literature, Art, Religion)

    Readings from Pearsall sections 2, 6, 7, and Irigaray

    Requirements and Grading

    Work for this class will be graded on a curve based on a point system of 100 points:

    Position Paper on the topic of Unit One (5-7 pages) 10

    Take-Home Exam on Units Two and Three (10-14 pages) 20

    Take-Home Exam on Units Four and Five (10-14 pages) 20

    Reflection papers, two per unit (1 page, 3 pts. each, total =) 30

    Class Participation and Attendance (4 pts. per unit, total =) 20

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