In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Feminist Philosophy

  • Introduction
  • Textbooks
  • Anthologies
  • First-Wave and Early Second-Wave Feminists
  • The Second Wave and the Equality-Difference Debate
  • Third-Wave Feminism, Postmodernism, and the Essentialism Debate
  • French Feminist Philosophy
  • Sex and Gender Distinctions
  • Lesbian Philosophy
  • Queer and Transgender Theory
  • Race
  • Phenomenology of Embodiment
  • Feminist Ethics
  • Moral Psychology and Psychoanalysis
  • Care versus Justice
  • Autonomy and Self
  • Bioethics
  • Beauty, Eating Disorders, and Cosmetic Surgery
  • Sex and Sex Work
  • Pornography and Objectification
  • Environmental Ethics and Ecofeminism
  • Political Philosophy
  • Public and Private Spheres: Work and the Family
  • Philosophy of Law
  • History of Philosophy
  • Epistemology
  • Philosophy of Science
  • Metaphysics
  • Philosophy of Language
  • Philosophy of Mind
  • Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art
  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Skepticism about Feminist Philosophy

Philosophy Feminist Philosophy
Alessandra Tanesini
  • LAST REVIEWED: 29 May 2015
  • LAST MODIFIED: 29 May 2015
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195396577-0152


Feminist perspectives in all academic disciplines are concerned with questions about the status of women. Feminists offer analyses of, and propose solutions for, the disadvantage suffered by women in many societies. They provide accounts of gender and gender roles, sexuality and sex, and femininity; they uncover whatever biases might be present in the presuppositions of a theory or line of inquiry. This entry is specifically concerned with feminist philosophy, broadly conceived, which involves approaching feminist questions and problems from a philosophical perspective, and looking at the traditional questions of philosophy so as to reveal possible sexist assumptions and to propose alternative nonsexist proposals.


There are a number of textbooks on feminist philosophy currently available, although there is lot of variance in the ground covered. Some textbooks provide overviews of the main positions in feminist thought and are organized chronologically, while others focus on specific issues or topics. Tong 2008 has chapters on all the main positions in feminist thought. Stone 2007 focuses on sex, sexuality, gender, and the issue of essentialism. Saul 2003 and Schott 2003 are both organized thematically.

  • Saul, Jennifer M. Feminism: Issues and Arguments. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

    Focuses on ethical and political issues such as discrimination, pornography, and sexual harassment, and offers proposals for possible solutions. Designed for an introductory-level undergraduate course, and thus provides and a good entry point to these debates.

  • Schott, Robin May. Discovering Feminist Philosophy: Knowledge, Ethics, Politics, Feminist Constructions. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003.

    This accessible introduction aims to show the relevance of feminism today, and thus answer the charge that feminism is no longer relevant. It includes chapters on the history of philosophy, epistemology, and ethics.

  • Stone, Alison. An Introduction to Feminist Philosophy. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2007.

    Offers a survey of themes in the metaphysics of sex and gender within feminist philosophy. It is written extremely clearly, but its theoretical focus makes it more suitable for upper-level undergraduate courses.

  • Tong, Rosemarie. Feminist Thought: A More Comprehensive Introduction. 3d ed. Boulder, CO: Westview, 2008.

    This introduction, suitable for undergraduates at all levels, offers comprehensive overviews of all the main positions in feminist (mainly political) thought and of some key feminist thinkers. It includes chapters on liberal, radical, and Marxist feminism as well as extended discussions of more recent positions such as postcolonial and psychoanalytic feminism.

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