PG 390

Gender and Philosophy

This course is a study of a number of philosophical and political questions related to gender and with the relation between these two types of questions. The course will be concerned first, with metaphysical issues concerning gender: What is gender? How many genders are there? Is there an essence of womanhood or manhood that goes beyond certain physical characteristics? Are 'woman' and 'man' purely natural categories or are they to some extent socially constructed? Is gender a social/political concept? Second, with epistemological issues that relate to gender difference: Do women, for example, see the world differently from men? What kind of implications does this have for scientific and philosophical knowledge? Are there, for example, specifically female ways of thinking or reasoning? If so, to what extent are they marginalized? Do gender related values or political aims affect scientific knowledge? Finally, with ethical issues related to gender: What is gender oppression? What is sexism and heterosexism? Granted that everyone has an equal right to flourishing regardless of gender, is a woman's flourishing, for example, different from a man's? Are there specifically gendered roles for men and women? To what extent are we culturally biased when we think that women or those who don't conform to gender norms living in other cultures are oppressed? Cross-listed as PG/PHIL 390.