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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Lynn Hankinson Nelson
PHIL 406
Seattle Campus

Philosophical Topics in Feminism

Detailed examination of questions raised by recent feminist scholarship in particular areas of philosophy, such as political theory, ethics, epistemology, or philosophy of science. Emphasis varies.

Class description

This section of Philosophical Topics in Feminism will focus on questions raised by recent feminist scholarship in the philosophy of science. We will examine two general topics, with the first serving as the basis for the second. Our first topic is the relationships between social relations such as gender, race, class, ethnicity, culture, and sexuality on the one hand, and methods, directions, and content of various sciences, on the other. Readings include critiques and constructive alternatives leveled and offered by philosophers, historians, and bench scientists, and focus on both contemporary scientific research and episodes in the history of science. Our second and broader topic concerns the implications of feminist and other critical science critiques for the philosophy of science, including interpretive notions such as relativism, realism, and social constructivism. TEXT: "Feminism and Philosophy of Science: An Introduction", Elizabeth Potter.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Course meetings often begin with a brief lecture, locating the issues raised in the assigned reading in terms of previous material and broader issues in the philosophy of science and feminist theory. The bulk of class meetings will be devoted to in-depth analysis of the issues raised in and by course readings, and to questions and arguments posed by class participants. Reading questions are supplied in advance for many readings to help organize reading and start class discussion.

Recommended preparation

PHIL 160, 206, 350, or 460. Previous training in some of the following will be very helpful: history of science, epistemology, philosophy of science, white women's history, and history of persons of color in Western cultures. No freshman.

Class assignments and grading

Reading assignments will vary by length and level of difficulty. Members of the class will be asked to open discussion for one class meeting, providing a brief overview of the major arguments or focuses of the reading, and posing questions for our consideration. Active participation is required. Formal writing assignments include short (2 page) critical analyses and a formal paper.

Course participation (this is not a course to take if you cannot attend regularly and/or complete reading assignments prior to course meetings), formal papers, and participation in the course web list and in a group project.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Annette R. Bernier
Date: 06/14/2012