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. Broadening further, feminist philosophy entails how race, sexuality, socioeconomic class, and other factors of identity impact gender inequalities.[4] 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 experiences 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. Many theories during the second wave focused primarily on gender equality in the workplace and education.[5] An important project of feminist philosophy that emerged from the third-wave feminism movement 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:

See also


  1. ^ "Feminist Philosophy". Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
  2. ^ a b Gatens, M., Feminism and Philosophy: Perspectives on Difference and Equality (Indiana University Press, 1991). — ISBN 978-0-7456-0469-5
  3. ^ a b c Kittay, Eva Feder & Linda Martín Alcoff, "Introduction: Defining Feminist Philosophy" in The Blackwell Guide to Feminist Philosophy, Blackwell Publishing, 2007. – ISBN 978-0-470-69538-8
  4. ^ "philosophical feminism | Britannica". www.britannica.com. Retrieved 21 November 2022.
  5. ^ McAfee, Noëlle (2018). "Feminist Philosophy". In Zalta, Edward N. (ed.). The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2018 ed.). Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University. Retrieved 21 November 2022.
  6. ^ Gilligan, Carol (1982). In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0674970960.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Oksala, J. (2011). Sexual Experience: Foucault, Phenomenology, and Feminist Theory. Hypatia, 26(1), 207–223.
  9. ^ Schües, C., Olkowski, D. E., & Fielding, H. A. (2011). Time in Feminist Phenomenology. Bloomington, UNITED STATES: Indiana University Press.
  10. ^ Bulanova-Duvalko, L. F. (2015). Философские аспекты понимания направления феминистской эстетики [Philosophical aspects of understanding the trend of feminist aesthetics]. Studia Humanitatis (in Russian) (3). ISSN 2308-8079.
  11. ^ Felski, R. (1989). Beyond feminist aesthetics: Feminist literature and social change. Harvard University Press.
  12. ^ Sider, T. (2017). Substantivity in feminist metaphysics. Philosophical Studies, 174(10), 2467–2478.
  13. ^ Always/Already Podcast (November 23, 2014) Always/Already Podcast: Episode 12 – Living alterities: phenomenology, embodiment, and race [Audio Podcast].
  14. ^ Mikkola, M. (2017). On the apparent antagonism between feminist and mainstream metaphysics. Philosophical Studies, 174(10), 2435–2448
  15. ^ Barnes, E. (2014). XV-Going Beyond the Fundamental: Feminism in Contemporary Metaphysics. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society (Paperback), 114 (3pt3), 335–351.
  16. ^ 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. – ISBN 978-0-415-90178-9
  17. ^ Richardson, S. S. (2010). Feminist philosophy of science: history, contributions, and challenges. Synthese, 177(3), 337–362.

Further reading