About this topic
Summary If metaphysics is the study of what there is and what it is like— of what exists and the nature of that which exists (actually or potentially), then feminist metaphysics is metaphysics that pays particular attention to potential gender biases in our metaphysical methods, concepts, and theories. Along with other branches of feminist inquiry, it is a central tenet of feminist metaphysics that knowledge, including metaphysical knowledge, is socially situated, and thus that we need to attend to the social environment in which our theorizing takes place and the potential impact it has on our theorizing and theories. Of special importance to feminist metaphysics is the inquiry into feminist tools and methods, such as the concepts of gender, sex, gendering, social construction, objectivity, and bias.
Key works Important 20th century works include De Beauvoir 1952, Frye 1983, Spelman 1988, Butler 1990, Butler 1993, and the edited collection Meyers 1997. Recent works include Alcoff 2006, Witt 2011, Haslanger 2012, and the edited volume Witt 2011.
Introductions The encyclopædia article Haslanger & Sveinsdóttir 2008;2011 provides an introduction and an overview.
Related categories

377 found
1 — 50 / 377
  1. added 2019-01-17
    Real Talk on the Metaphysics of Gender.Robin Dembroff - forthcoming - Philosophical Topics.
    Gender classifications often are controversial. These controversies typically focus on whether gender classifications align with facts about gender kind membership: Could someone really be nonbinary? Is Chris Mosier (a trans man) really a man? I think this is a bad approach. Consider the possibility of ontological oppression, which arises when social kinds operating in a context unjustly constrain the behaviors, concepts, or affect of certain groups. Gender kinds operating in dominant contexts, I argue, oppress trans and nonbinary persons in this (...)
  2. added 2018-08-14
    Conceptions of Sex Equality and Human Biology in Modem Political Theory.Alison M. Jaggar - 1988 - Philosophie Et Culture: Actes du XVIIe Congrès Mondial de Philosophie 5:62-69.
    The theme of human biology recurs continually both in feminist and in anti-ferminist literature. Reflection on human biology has seemed to promise answers to the urgent questions of why women everywhere are subordinated and whether and how that subordination can be ended. Invariably, anti-feminists have justified women's subordination in terms of perceived biological differences between the sexes, and feminists have responded to their claims in a variety of ways. In this paper, I want to look critically at the ways in (...)
  3. added 2018-06-29
    Whose Language?Alessandra Tanesini - 1994 - In Kathleen Lennon & Margaret Whitford (eds.), Knowing the Difference. London, UK: pp. 203-16.
  4. added 2018-03-11
    On the Apparent Antagonism Between Feminist and Mainstream Metaphysics.Mari Mikkola - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (10):2435-2448.
    The relationship between feminism and metaphysics has historically been strained. Metaphysics has until recently remained dismissive of feminist insights, and many feminist philosophers have been deeply skeptical about any value that metaphysics might have when thinking about advancing gender justice. Nevertheless, feminist philosophers have in recent years increasingly taken up explicitly metaphysical investigations. Such feminist investigations have expanded the scope of metaphysics in holding that metaphysical tools can help advance debates on topics outside of traditional metaphysical inquiry. Moreover, feminist philosophers (...)
  5. added 2018-02-18
    Imaginary Bodies: Ethics, Power, and Corporeality.Moira Gatens - 1995 - Routledge.
    Moira Gatens investigates the ways in which differently sexed bodies can occupy the same social or political space. Representations of sexual difference have unacknowledged philosophical roots which cannot be dismissed as a superficial bias on the part of the philosopher, nor removed without destroying the coherence of the philosophical system concerned. The deep structural bias against women extends beyond metaphysics and its effects are felt in epistemology, moral, social and political theory. The idea of sexual difference is contextualised in _Imaginary (...)
  6. added 2018-02-17
    The (In) Visible Body: Feminism, Phenomenology, and the Case of Cosmetic Surgery.Luna Dolezal - 2010 - Hypatia 25 (2):357-375.
    This paper will examine the experience of and drive for boaly invisibility in women through the theoretical approaches of phenomenology and social constructionism. An examination of the social disruptions of bodily invisibility and the compulsive avoidance of such instances, particuhrly with respect to the fastidious maintenance of body comportment and appearance within the narrow parameters afforded by social norms, will lead to an exploration of the conflation of biomedicine with the beauty industry.
  7. added 2018-02-17
    Philosophy of Science and Race.Naomi Zack - 2002 - Routledge.
  8. added 2018-02-17
    Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body.Susan Bordo - 1993 - University of California Press.
    In this provocative book, Susan Bordo untangles the myths, ideologies, and pathologies of the modern female body. Bordo explores our tortured fascination with food, hunger, desire, and control, and its effects on women's lives.
  9. added 2018-02-17
    “Maleness” Revisited.Susan Bordo - 1992 - Hypatia 7 (3):197-207.
  10. added 2018-02-17
    Disciplining Foucault: Feminism, Power, and the Body.Jana Sawicki - 1991 - Routledge.
  11. added 2017-05-19
    Amelioration and Inclusion: Gender Identity and the Concept of Woman.Katharine Jenkins - 2016 - Ethics 126 (2):394-421.
    Feminist analyses of gender concepts must avoid the inclusion problem, the fault of marginalizing or excluding some prima facie women. Sally Haslanger’s ‘ameliorative’ analysis of gender concepts seeks to do so by defining woman by reference to subordination. I argue that Haslanger’s analysis problematically marginalizes trans women, thereby failing to avoid the inclusion problem. I propose an improved ameliorative analysis that ensures the inclusion of trans women. This analysis yields ‘twin’ target concepts of woman, one concerning gender as class and (...)
  12. added 2017-05-19
    A Dispositional Account of Gender.Jennifer McKitrick - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (10):2575-2589.
    According to some philosophers, gender is a social role or pattern of behavior in a social context. I argue that these accounts have problematic implications for transgender. I suggest that gender is a complex behavioral disposition, or cluster of dispositions. Furthermore, since gender norms are culturally relative, one’s gender is partially constituted by extrinsic factors. I argue that this has advantages over thinking of gender as behavior, and has the added advantage of accommodating the possibility of an appearance/reality dissonance with (...)
  13. added 2017-05-11
    Die Geschlechtstheorie Freuds: Ihre Neuartigkeit Und Anwendung Auf den Feminismus.Yusuke Kaneko - 2017 - HACETTEPE UNIVERSITY JOURNAL OF FACULTY OF LETTERS 33 (2):150-167.
    Not a few feminist writers, such as Kristeva, Irigaray, and Chodorow, have dealt with Freud’s psychoanalysis so far, but it is not clear to what degree the Freudian theory grounds their arguments, because Freud himself developed his psychoanalysis mainly for the male mental world (Seelenleben). In this paper, we shall follow Freud’s train of thought exclusively from this angle. After the geneses of Pcpt.-Cs., id, ego, and super-ego (W-Bw, Es, Ich, and Über-Ich, respectively) are treated (§§7-10), we shed light on (...)
  14. added 2017-04-26
    The Minority Body: A Theory of Disability.Elizabeth Barnes - 2016 - Oxford University Press.
    Disability is primarily a social phenomenon -- a way of being a minority, a way of facing social oppression, but not a way of being inherently or intrinsically worse off. This is how disability is understood in the Disability Rights and Disability Pride movements; but there is a massive disconnect with the way disability is typically viewed within analytic philosophy. The idea that disability is not inherently bad or sub-optimal is one that many philosophers treat with open skepticism, and sometimes (...)
  15. added 2017-03-25
    Philosophy and the Apparatus of Disability.Shelley Tremain - 2018 - In Adam Cureton & David Wasserman (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Disability. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    Abstract and Keywords Mainstream philosophers take for granted that disability is a prediscursive, transcultural, and transhistorical disadvantage, an objective human defect or characteristic that ought to be prevented, corrected, eliminated, or cured. That these assumptions are contestable, that it might be the case that disability is a historically and culturally specific, contingent social phenomenon, a complex apparatus of power, rather than a natural attribute or property that certain people possess, is not considered, let alone seriously entertained. This chapter draws on (...)
  16. added 2017-02-11
    The Social Construction of Individuals.César Lorenzano - 2008 - Discusiones Filosóficas 9 (12):75 - 96.
  17. added 2017-01-29
    Thinking Through the Body.Jane Gallop & Patricia Yaeger - 1992 - Hypatia 7 (3):212-216.
  18. added 2017-01-28
    Inessential Woman: Problems of Exclusion in Feminist Thought. [REVIEW]Alex Klaushofer - 1992 - Radical Philosophy 60.
  19. added 2017-01-28
    Social Constructionist and Positivist Approaches to Social Enquiry :Some Comments.P. Johnnie - 1991 - Indian Philosophical Quarterly 18 (3):479.
  20. added 2017-01-26
    Social Construction.Sandra Harding - 1994 - In Anne Herrmann & Abigail J. Stewart (eds.), Theorizing Feminism: Parallel Trends in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Westview Press. pp. 343.
  21. added 2017-01-25
    Social Construction of “Other” as “Primitive”.Nikola Bozilovic - 2013 - Filozofija I Društvo 24 (2):193-210.
  22. added 2017-01-25
    Had Governess Been a Woman? On Woman's Identity.Adriana Zaharijevic - 2011 - Filozofska Istrazivanja 31 (4):805-813.
  23. added 2017-01-24
    The Phenomenal Woman: Feminist Metaphysics and the Pattern of Identity (Review).Andrea Tschemplik - 2004 - Hypatia 19 (2):157-160.
  24. added 2017-01-24
    The Body at Century's End.Martina Reuter - 2004 - Hypatia 19 (2):160-169.
  25. added 2017-01-23
    "A Different Starting Point, a Different Metaphysics": Reading Bergson and Barad Diffractively.Tuin Iris van der - 2011 - Hypatia 26 (1):22 - 42.
    This article provides an affirmative feminist reading of the philosophy of Henri Bergson by reading it through the work of Karen Barad. Adopting such a diffractive reading strategy enables feminist philosophy to move beyond discarding Bergson for his apparent phallocentrism. Feminist philosophy finds itself double bound when it critiques a philosophy for being phallocentric, because the setup of a master narrative comes into being with the critique. By negating a gender-blind or sexist philosophy, feminist philosophy only reaffirms its parameters, and (...)
  26. added 2017-01-17
    Feminist Metaphysics and Philosophical Methodology.Mari Mikkola - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (11):661-670.
    Over the past few decades, feminist philosophy has become recognised as a philosophical sub-discipline in its own right. Among the ‘core’ areas of philosophy, metaphysics has nonetheless until relatively recently remained largely dismissive of it. Metaphysics typically investigates the basic structure of reality and its nature. It examines reality's putative building blocks and inherent structure supposedly ‘out there’ with the view to uncovering and elucidating that structure. For this task, feminist insights appear simply irrelevant. Moreover, the value-neutrality of metaphysics seems (...)
  27. added 2017-01-15
    The Phenomenal Woman: Feminist Metaphysics and the Patterns of Identity.Christine Battersby - 2013 - Routledge.
    "First Published in 1998, Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.".
  28. added 2016-12-13
    Realism and Social Structure.Elizabeth Barnes - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (10):2417-2433.
    Social constructionism is often considered a form of anti-realism. But in contemporary feminist philosophy, an increasing number of philosophers defend views that are well-described as both realist and social constructionist. In this paper, I use the work of Sally Haslanger as an example of realist social constructionism. I argue: that Haslanger is best interpreted as defending metaphysical realism about social structures; that this type of metaphysical realism about the social world presents challenges to some popular ways of understanding metaphysical realism.
  29. added 2016-12-12
    Transsexualism and “Transracialism”.Christine Overall - 2004 - Social Philosophy Today 20:183-193.
    This paper explores, from a feminist perspective, the justification of major surgical reshaping of the body. I define “transracialism” as the use of surgery to assist individuals to “cross” from being a member of one race to being a member of another. If transsexualism, involving the use of surgery to assist individuals to “cross” from female to male or from male to female, is morally acceptable, and if providing the medical and social resources to enable sex crossing is not morally (...)
  30. added 2016-12-12
    Volatile Bodies: Toward a Corporeal Feminism.Elizabeth Grosz - 1994 - Indiana University Press.
    "The location of the author’s investigations, the body itself rather than the sphere of subjective representations of self and of function in cultures, is wholly new.... I believe this work will be a landmark in future feminist thinking." —Alphonso Lingis "This is a text of rare erudition and intellectual force. It will not only introduce feminists to an enriching set of theoretical perspectives but sets a high critical standard for feminist dialogues on the status of the body." —Judith Butler Volatile (...)
  31. added 2016-12-12
    Why Care About Gender?Ann Garry - 1992 - Hypatia 7 (3):155-161.
    I address motivations that feminist philosophers have for being concerned about the "maleness" of philosophy and the "problem of difference" within feminist theory. An appropriate motivation for caring about both sets of issues is the desire not to oppress others. In order to be able to understand this motivation and to act on it, we need to retain gender as an analytical category.
  32. added 2016-12-08
    The Feminist Concept of Self and Modernity.Xiao Wei - 2009 - Diogenes 56 (1):117-127.
    The relationship between community and individual is the key issue in contemporary political philosophy and ethics. The concept of self seems very important for individualism, communitarianism and feminism when they respond to relationships, particularly when we have to situate selfhood in the conditions of modernity. Consequently, this paper can be divided into seven parts. First it introduces the debate about the concept of the self between individualism and communitarianism. Second, it discusses the feminist critique of this issue and analyses the (...)
  33. added 2016-12-08
    Rethinking Relational Autonomy.Andrea C. Westlund - 2009 - Hypatia 24 (4):26-49.
    John Christman has argued that constitutively relational accounts of autonomy, as defended by some feminist theorists, are problematically perfectionist about the human good. I argue that autonomy is constitutively relational, but not in a way that implies perfectionism: autonomy depends on a dialogical disposition to hold oneself answerable to external, critical perspectives on one's action-guiding commitments. This type of relationality carries no substantive value commitments, yet it does answer to core feminist concerns about autonomy.
  34. added 2016-12-08
    Real Essences and Natural Kinds in Feminist Theory: A Revisionist Account.Gillian Howie - 2006 - Contemporary Political Theory 5 (3):238-258.
    This paper examines the problem of natural kinds, a key problem within feminist theory, and argues for a non-instrumental realist account of group identity. I suggest that a reconstructed theory of essence helps to make sense of group membership because it combines a conventional account of groups with a realist commitment to there being something responsible for the appearance of regularities in the world. The claim that natural kind membership is a matter of similarity relationships manages to avoid metaphysical, universal (...)
  35. added 2016-12-08
    Gender Identity Without Gender Prescriptions.Janet Catherina Wesselius - 1998 - Symposium: Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy/Revue canadienne de philosophie continentale 2 (2):223-235.
    The postmodern rejection of essentialism does not mean that feminist theorists must abandon all categorizations of women. Indeed, while it is important to deconstruct identities and highlight the differences among women, we need to arrive at some notion of gender identity for political purposes. In paying careful attention to the distinction between nominal essences and real essences, the author shows that the category of women can be maintained without resorting to the problems of traditional essentialism. The author argues that the (...)
  36. added 2016-12-08
    Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative.Judith Butler - 1997 - Routledge.
    With the same intellectual courage with which she addressed issues of gender, Judith Butler turns her attention to speech and conduct in contemporary political life, looking at several efforts to target speech as conduct that has become subject to political debate and regulation. Reviewing hate speech regulations, anti-pornography arguments, and recent controversies about gay self-declaration in the military, Judith Butler asks whether and how language acts in each of these cultural sites.
  37. added 2016-12-08
    More Thinking About Gender: A Response to Julie A. Nelson.Patricia Elliot - 1994 - Hypatia 9 (1):195-198.
    Nelson argues the best we can hope for in a nonsexist society is to revalue those feminine qualities that have previously been devalued. I argue that those qualities are the result of a sexist construction of gender categories, and that a nonsexist society would have no reason to preserve them.
  38. added 2016-12-08
    Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of "Sex".Judith Butler - 1993 - Routledge.
    In ____Bodies That Matter,__ Judith Butler further develops her distinctive theory of gender by examining the workings of power at the most "material" dimensions of sex and sexuality. Deepening the inquiries she began in _Gender_ _Trouble,_ Butler offers an original reformulation of the materiality of bodies, examining how the power of heterosexual hegemony forms the "matter" of bodies, sex, and gender. Butler argues that power operates to constrain "sex" from the start, delimiting what counts as a viable sex. She offers (...)
  39. added 2016-12-08
    Possibilities for a Nondominated Female Subjectivity.Margaret Mclaren - 1993 - Hypatia 8 (1):153-158.
    This essay examines one of the contributions that Sandra Bartky makes to feminist theory. Bartky critiques Foucault for his gender blind treatment of the disciplines and social practices that create "docile bodies." She introduces several gender specific disciplines and practices that illustrate that the production of bodies is itself gender coded. This essay argues that social practices are not monolithic, but are composed of various strands that may be in tension with one another.
  40. added 2016-12-08
    Thinking About Gender.Julie A. Nelson - 1992 - Hypatia 7 (3):138-154.
    I present a way of thinking about gender that I have found helpful in evaluating various proposed feminist projects. By considering gender and value as independent dimensions, relationships of "difference" can be more clearly perceived as involving relationships of lack, of complementarity, or of perversion. I illustrate the use of my gender/value "compass" with applications to questions of self-identity, rationality, and knowledge. This way of thinking about gender allows a conceptualization of feminism that neither erases nor emphasizes gender distinctions.
  41. added 2016-12-08
    The Foucauldian Body and the Exclusion of Experience.Lois Mcnay - 1991 - Hypatia 6 (3):125-139.
    This paper considers the advantages of incorporating Foucault's anti-essentialist theory of the body into feminist explanations of women's oppression. There are also problems in that Foucault neglects to examine the gendered character of the body and reproduces a sexism endemic in "gender neutral" social theory. The Foucauldian body is essentially passive resulting in a limited account of identity and agency. This conflicts with an aim of feminism: to rediscover and revalue the experiences of women.
  42. added 2016-12-08
    Feminist Skepticism and the "Maleness" of Philosophy.Susan Bordo - 1988 - Journal of Philosophy 85 (11):619-629.
  43. added 2016-12-05
    An Introduction to Feminist Philosophy.Alison Stone - 2007 - Polity.
    This is the first book to offer a systematic account of feminist philosophy as a distinctive field of philosophy. The book introduces key issues and debates in feminist philosophy including: the nature of sex, gender, and the body; the relation between gender, sexuality, and sexual difference; whether there is anything that all women have in common; and the nature of birth and its centrality to human existence. An Introduction to Feminist Philosophy shows how feminist thinking on these and related topics (...)
  44. added 2016-12-04
    On the Apparent Antagonism Between Feminist and Mainstream Metaphysics.Mari Mikkola - 2016 - Philosophical Studies:1-14.
    The relationship between feminism and metaphysics has historically been strained. Metaphysics has until recently remained dismissive of feminist insights, and many feminist philosophers have been deeply skeptical about any value that metaphysics might have when thinking about advancing gender justice. Nevertheless, feminist philosophers have in recent years increasingly taken up explicitly metaphysical investigations. Such feminist investigations have expanded the scope of metaphysics in holding that metaphysical tools can help advance debates on topics outside of traditional metaphysical inquiry. Moreover, feminist philosophers (...)
  45. added 2016-09-13
    Substantivity in Feminist Metaphysics.Theodore Sider - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (10):2467-2478.
    Elizabeth Barnes and Mari Mikkola raise the important question of whether certain recent approaches to metaphysics exclude feminist metaphysics. My own approach does not, or so I argue. I do define “substantive” questions in terms of fundamentality; and the concepts of feminist metaphysics are nonfundamental. But my definition does not count a question as being nonsubstantive simply because it involves nonfundamental concepts. Questions about the causal structure of the world, including the causal structure of the social world, are generally substantive (...)
  46. added 2016-08-23
    The Concept of Woman, Vol. II.W. Norris Clarke - 2003 - International Philosophical Quarterly 43 (2):246-247.
  47. added 2016-08-23
    The Quest For Certainty In Feminist Thought.Ann Clark - 1993 - Hypatia 8 (3):84-93.
    In this paper I argue that the essentialism/antiessentialism debate among feminists is a variety of the idealist/realist split that Dewey addressed in The Quest for Certainty. I attempt to use Dewey's thought to subvert this opposition so that we can remove the feminist discussion from the structure of an idealist/realist either/or.
  48. added 2016-08-23
    Choosing Either/Or: A Critique of Metaphysical Feminism.Judith Clavir - 1979 - Feminist Studies 5 (2):402.
  49. added 2016-08-15
    From Girlhood to Womanhood.G. M. Chambers - 1914 - The Eugenics Review 6 (2):171.
  50. added 2016-08-03
    Book Review: Sally Haslanger Och Charlotte Witt (Eds.) Adoption Matters, Philosophical and Feminist Essays. [REVIEW]Åsa Carlson - 2007 - Theoria 73 (4):354-358.
1 — 50 / 377