About this topic

Continental feminist philosophy refers to feminist thought emerging from various continental philosophical and intellectual traditions. In France in particular, movements such as existentialism, psychoanalysis, phenomenology, and deconstruction have been taken up by feminist thinkers, making central questions of gender, sexual difference, women’s sexuality, women’s language, and the presence, or more accurately the absence, of women in the dominant Western philosophical tradition. In the Anglophone context, new areas of continental feminism have emerged including gender theory, feminist race theory, feminist phenomenology, post/de-colonial feminist theory, and queer theory.  Continental feminism includes all these, plus continentally informed critical-feminist approaches to knowledge and science, economic and political structures, cultural practices (arts, popular culture, practices of everyday life), and approaches to and engagements with contemporary and historical figures in the continental philosophical tradition.

Key works Simone de Beauvoir’s insight that “one is not born, but becomes a woman” in De Beauvoir 1952 arguably marks the inception of contemporary continental feminism. Other foundational texts for French feminist philosophy include Cixous 1976Irigaray 1985, and Kristeva 1984. Other key figures are Michèle Le Doeuff, Sarah Kofman, and Monique Wittig. For a key text in Italian feminist philosophy, see Cavarero 2002. In the Anglophone context, Butler 1990 has been vastly influential. Butler synthesizes insights from thinkers as diverse as Michel Foucault, Friedrich Nietzsche, J.L. Austin, de Beauvoir, and Wittig among others; this text more or less gave birth to the fields of gender theory and queer theory. Spivak 1981 provides a postcolonial and deconstructive context for French feminism. Cornell 1991 melds deconstruction and Lacanian psychoanalysis into a feminist critique of law. Grosz 1994, takes up the thought of Irigaray and Deleuze along with phenomenology to forge work on the body that became foundational to the confluence of feminism and “new materialisms,” while Young 2005 stands as a key example of feminist phenomenology in the lineage of Maurice Merleau-Ponty.

Cahill & Hansen 2003: A fine introductory reader in continental feminism. Davidson et al 2010: Excellent introduction to black feminist continental philosophy. Irigaray 1985: Irigaray's foundational collection of essays and interviews explains her philosophical methodology and early positions on a variety of issues. Olkowski 2000: Offers a slew of recent feminist engagements with French philosophy. Le Dœuff 1991: Essays on being a woman in philosophy in France, rereading the history of Western philosophy as a feminist.

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  1. Reading the Lack of the Body: The Writing of the Marquis de Sade.Kathy Acker - 1994 - Pli 5.
  2. Shirley Mangini: Las Modernas de Madrid. Las Grandes Intelectuales Españolas de la Vanguardia.Aguado María Isabel Peña - 2002 - Die Philosophin 13 (26):89-94.
  3. Bekanntes Erkennen: Informationen Zur Frauenforschung Ost.Karin Aleksander - 1995 - Die Philosophin 6 (11):74-93.
  4. The Cortland Conference on Narcissism.J. Alt & F. Hearn - 1980 - Télos 1980 (44):49-58.
  5. The Philosophical Bases of Feminism: The Feminist Doctrines of the Saint-Simonians and Charles Fourier.Elizabeth C. Altman - 1976 - Philosophical Forum 7 (3):277.
  6. On Narcissism.S. Aronowitz - 1980 - Télos 1980 (44):65-74.
  7. Die Intellektuelle Und Die Mandarine.Ulrike Auga - 2004 - Die Philosophin 15 (30):55-70.
  8. Schwindel, Wahrheit, Regeln, Schwanken.Susanne Baer - 2004 - Die Philosophin 15 (30):122-128.
  9. Life in Fragments: Essays in Postmodern Morality.Zygmunt Bauman - 1995 - Blackwell.
    Life in Fragments is a continuation of the themes and motifs explored in Zygmunt Bauman's acclaimed study, Postmodern Ethics (Blackwell, 1993).
  10. Between Enlightenment and Victorian: Toward a Narrative of American Women Writers Writing History.Nina Baym - 1991 - Critical Inquiry 18 (1):22-41.
    All the early advocates of women’s education, male and female, had proposed history as a central subject in women’s education—perhaps as the central subject. They envisaged it as a substitute for novel reading, which they viewed as strengthening women’s mental weakness and encouraging them in unrepublican habits of idleness, extravagance, and daydreaming.6 Many prominent women educators wrote history, among them Pierce, Rowson, and Willard. But besides such history writing and history advocacy by materialist educational reformers, American women wrote history in (...)
  11. Notes and Exchanges.Quentin Bell, E. H. Gombrich & James S. Ackerman - 1979 - Critical Inquiry 5 (4):793-799.
  12. "Die Quellen des Selbst" in der Zeitgenössischen Feministischen Theorie.Seyla Benhabib - 1995 - Die Philosophin 6 (11):12-32.
  13. Sublimation and Symbolization.Bernet Rudolf - 1998 - Ethical Perspectives 5 (3):210-217.
    While sublimation is not the first word in psychoanalysis, it nevertheless constitutes the final aim of psychoanalytic thought in both its clinical and theoretical orientations. Indeed, if psychoanalysis is primarily a practice whose aim is to alleviate a patient’s sufferings, and if these sufferings are largely the result of a conflict between the exigencies of an individual’s drives and the necessities of a civilized social life, then effective therapeutic action presupposes some knowledge of the way in which such a conflict (...)
  14. Gender.Lawrence Birken - 1985 - Telos: Critical Theory of the Contemporary 1985 (63):219-223.
    The emergence of a consumer civilization is associated with the extension of the democratic model to embrace both men and women. But from the gendered viewpoint inherited from past epochs, this democratization may appear as a dissolution. In Gender, Illich criticizes this psychosexual democratization, thus establishing himself as one of the most elegant theoreticians of the sexual counterrevolution. Highly idiosyncratic, he differs from other cultural conservatives such as Lasch and Gilder, who criticize the consumerist values of the sexual revolution from (...)
  15. Ivan Illich, "Gender".Lawrence Birken - 1985 - Telos: Critical Theory of the Contemporary 63:219.
  16. Farideh Akashe-Böhme (Hg.): Von der Auffälligkeit des Leibes.Sidonia Blättler - 1996 - Die Philosophin 7 (13):107-109.
  17. Altruism and Women's Oppression.Larry Blum - 1973 - Philosophical Forum 5 (1):222.
  18. Kant's and Hegel's Moral Rationalism: A Feminist Perspective.Lawrence A. Blum - 1982 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 12 (2):287 - 302.
  19. Radical Feminism in Canada.John Bokina - 1996 - Telos: Critical Theory of the Contemporary 1996 (109):177-181.
    In light of John Fekete's account of the effects of radical feminism, it is difficult to characterize what is going on in Canada and, to a lesser extent, the US. Perhaps a new hybrid — petty totalitarianism — is needed to comprehend this phenomenon. It is commonplace to refer to Italian Renaissance principalities as petty absolutisms. The princes were all-powerful within their small domains. Similarly, in its elitism, ideological dogmatism, intolerance, and punitiveness, Canadian radical feminism exhibits totalitarian characteristics. But this (...)
  20. Mr. Deutscher on Saying and Disbelieving.W. L. Bonney - 1965 - Analysis 26 (1):17 - 20.
  21. Relations of the Real in Lacan, Bataille and Blanchot.Fred Botting - 1994 - Substance 23 (1):24.
  22. Männerbilder Und Weibliche Sehnsüchte. Beispiele Aus der NS-Literatur von Frauen.Gudrun Brockhaus - 1993 - Die Philosophin 4 (8):8-23.
  23. "Zu den Personen Selbst". Ein Porträt der Philosophin Roberta De Monticelli.Paloma Brook - 2004 - Die Philosophin 15 (29):61-67.
  24. Identity as an Embodied Event.Shelley Budgeon - 2003 - Body and Society 9 (1):35-55.
  25. Conscience Exemptions in Medicine: A Hegelian Feminist Perspective.Victoria I. Burke - 2016 - International Journal of Applied Philosophy 30 (2):267-287.
    In this article, I defend the view that conscience exemption clauses for medical practitioners (doctors, nurses, technicians, pharmacists) should be limited by patient protection clauses. This view was also defended by Mark Wicclair, in his book on conscience exemptions in medicine (Cambridge UP, 2011). In this article, I defend Wicclair’s view by supplementing it with Hegelian ethical theory and feminist critical theory. Conscience exemptions are important to support as a matter of human rights. They support an individual’s right to protect (...)
  26. Antigone's Claim: Kinship Between Life and Death.Judith Butler - 2000 - Cambridge University Press.
    The celebrated author of _Gender Trouble_ here redefines Antigone's legacy, recovering her revolutionary significance and liberating it for a progressive feminism and sexual politics. Butler's new interpretation does nothing less than reconceptualize the incest taboo in relation to kinship -- and open up the concept of kinship to cultural change. Antigone, the renowned insurgent from Sophocles's _Oedipus,_ has long been a feminist icon of defiance. But what has remained unclear is whether she escapes from the forms of power that she (...)
  27. Nietzsche's Misogyny: A Class Action Suit.Craig Carely - unknown - Proceedings of the Heraclitean Society 19.
  28. Cyberbodies Auf der Transnationalen Bühne.Sue-Ellen Case - 2001 - Die Philosophin 12 (24):10-27.
  29. Sexuality Situated: Beauvoir on "Frigidity".Sue L. Cataldi - 1999 - Hypatia 14 (4):70-82.
    This essay relates scenes from Beauvoir's novels to her views of female eroticism and frigidity in The Second Sex. Expressions of frigidity signal unjust power relations in Beauvoir's literature. She constructs frigidity as a symbolic means of rejecting dominance in heterosexual relations. Thus frigidity need not be interpreted, as it sometimes is, as a form of bad faith. The essay concludes with some thoughts on the relevance of Beauvoir's view of frigidity to contemporary feminism.
  30. Scandalous Textualities.Hector M. Cavallari - 1987 - American Journal of Semiotics 5 (1):151-165.
  31. French Feminist Theory an Introduction.Dani Cavallaro - 2003
  32. "Feminismus Und Aufklärung" in Spanien.Maria Luisa P. Cavana - 1991 - Die Philosophin 2 (4):117-118.
  33. Seeing Oneself Through the Eyes of the Other: Asymmetrical Reciprocity and Self-Respect.Caze Marguerite la - 2008 - Hypatia 23 (3):118-135.
    Iris Marion Young argues we cannot understand others' experiences by imagining ourselves in their place or in terms of symmetrical reciprocity (1997a). For Young, reciprocity expresses moral respect and asymmetry arises from people's greatly varying life histories and social positions. La Caze argues there are problems with Young's articulation of asymmetrical reciprocity in terms of wonder and the gift. By discussing friendship and political representation, she shows how taking self-respect into account complicates asymmetrical reciprocity.
  34. Love, That Indispensable Supplement: Irigaray and Kant on Love and Respect.Marguerite la Caze - 2005 - Hypatia 20 (3):92-114.
    Is love essential to ethical life, or merely a supplement? In Kant's view, respect and love, as duties, are in tension with each other because love involves drawing closer and respect involves drawing away. By contrast, Irigaray says that love and respect do not conflict because love as passion must also involve distancing and we have a responsibility to love. I argue that love, understood as passion and based on respect, is essential to ethics.
  35. Der Weibliche Standpunkt - Ein Neues Paradigma?Victoria Camps Cervera - 2002 - Die Philosophin 13 (26):11-27.
  36. From Girlhood to Womanhood.G. M. Chambers - 1914 - The Eugenics Review 6 (2):171.
  37. Antigone's Political Legacies: Abjection in Defiance of Mourning.Tina Chanter - 2010 - In S. E. Wilmer & Audrone Zukauskaite (eds.), Interrogating Antigone in Postmodern Philosophy and Criticism. Oxford University Press.
  38. Climbing Like a Girl: An Exemplary Adventure in Feminist Phenomenology.Dianne Chisholm - 2008 - Hypatia 23 (1):9-40.
  39. Choosing Either/Or: A Critique of Metaphysical Feminism.Judith Clavir - 1979 - Feminist Studies 5 (2):402.
  40. Visible Identities: Race, Gender, and the Self (Review).Cynthia D. Coe - 2009 - Journal of Speculative Philosophy 23 (3):pp. 264-266.
  41. Experiments in Self-Interruption: A Defining Activity of Psychoanalysis, Philosophy, and Other Erotic Practices.Vincent Colapietro - 2016 - Journal of Speculative Philosophy 30 (2):128-143.
    “The world is,” William James notes, “full of partial stories that run parallel to one another, beginning and ending at odd times. They mutually interlace and interfere at points, but we cannot unify them completely in our minds”. As a radical empiricist, he takes there to be more to experience than any of our stories or other forms of account can ever capture. Here as everywhere else, “ever not quite” and “ever not yet” qualify even our master strokes. As a (...)
  42. Modesta Dal Pozzo [Moderata Fonte] (1555–1592): "Women's Merit's".Claudia Ruggiero Corradini - 2002 - Philosophical Forum 33 (3):254–257.
  43. A Duras E Pesadas Penas: Imprensa, Identidade E Nacionalidade No Brasil Imperial1.Daniel Afonso da Silva - 2009 - Topoi 10 (19):55-69.
  44. Die Arbeitsgruppe "L'exercice du Savoir Et la Différence des Sexes" Am CNRS in Paris.Monique David-Ménard - 1993 - Die Philosophin 4 (7):99-101.
  45. A Body of Writing, 1990-1999.Bronwyn Davies - 2000 - Altamira Press.
    Weaving together her most influential writings of the 1990s, Bronwyn Davies offers a unique engagement with poststructuralism that defies the boundaries between theory and embodied practice. Whereas poststructuralists are often accused of excessive abstraction, Davies' sophisticated and nuanced discussions of subjectivity, agency, epistemology, feminism, and power are embedded in vital depictions of lived experience and empirical research. A renowned scholar of education and gender formation, Davies shows the importance of poststructural perspectives for her own research in classrooms, on playgrounds, with (...)
  46. "Die Katastrophe - Die Gelegenheit Verpaßt Zu Haben". Die Deutsche Vereinigung Als Frauenpolitische Herausforderung.Susanne Diemer - 1995 - Die Philosophin 6 (11):63-73.
  47. Universitäre Sozialisation: Zur Problematik Eines Heterosexuellen Beziehungsmodells: Mentor-Protégée.Agnes Dietzen - 1990 - Die Philosophin 1 (1):18-40.
  48. Denkender Weiblicher Torso.Esther Dischereit - 1999 - Die Philosophin 10 (19):36-49.
  49. Romantic Love, Appraisal, and Commitment.Nicholas Dixon - 2007 - Philosophical Forum 38 (4):373–386.
  50. Feminism and Aesthetics.Josephine Donovan - 1977 - Critical Inquiry 3 (3):605-608.
    In response to the discussion between William W. Morgan and Annette Kolodny in the Summer 1976 issue of Critical Inquiry I would like to address the issue of separating judgments based on feminism as an ideology from purely aesthetic judgments. Peripherally this included the issue of "prescriptive criticism," so labeled by Cheri Register in Feminist Literary Criticism: Explorations in Theory.1 In the same book, as Kolodny points out,2 I called for criticism that exists in the "prophetic mode." Kolodny indicates reservations (...)
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