Feminist Philosophers

16.1 Mary Wollstonecraft

  • Summarize the basic facts of Wollstonecraft’s life.
  • Understand some of the ways that middle-class Englishwomen in Wollstonecraft’s day were made to “exist for the sake of men.”
  • State the three factors that Wollstonecraft says are the source of true happiness for both men and women.
  • Understand why Wollstonecraft rejects men’s attempts to keep women innocent.

16.2 Simone de Beauvoir

  • Explain the distinction that Beauvoir makes between sex and gender.
  • Explain what Beauvoir means by her assertion that women have been defined by men as the “Other.”
  • Summarize Beauvoir’s central argument in The Second Sex.
  • Understand what Beauvoir thinks “real freedom and true equality” would entail.
  • Describe the two positions staked out in the debate about innate gender differences.

16.3 Feminist Ethics

  • Define feminist ethics and the ethics of care.
  • Enumerate some of the values and experiences that some feminists say are associated with the typically male perspective.
  • Describe the nature of the ethics of care, its most attractive features, and some of the criticisms that have been lodged against it.

16.4 Feminist Perspectives on Knowledge

  • State the central aim of feminist philosophy and feminist epistemology.
  • List some ways that, according to feminists, “dominant knowledge practices” disadvantage women.
  • Summarize the principal claims of feminist empiricism, feminist standpoint theory, and feminist postmodernism.
  • Understand some of the criticism that feminists have lodged against feminist postmodernism.
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