The Lack of Women in Philosophy: A Modest Contribution Towards a Remedy

It is often perceived as a problem that rather few women pursue philosophy. It appears that female enrollment in introductory courses is at least as high as male enrollment, but many more men than women end up with a major in philosophy. Thus, a lot of female students disappear along the way. Many reasons have been proposed for this. One reason that has been brought forward is that female students encounter few texts written by women in their philosophy courses.

I cannot say how big a factor this really is; perhaps there are other factors that are more important. But the least I can do is to give you a list of good articles on philosophical subjects written by women, some of which might be of use in philosophy courses, at least in courses focused on political philosophy and/or ethics (the list may also be used for courses in political theory). Note that in this context one does not have to agree with the arguments of an article in order for it to be a “good” article.

Since it is a fact that an overwhelming majority of papers published in most philosophy journals are written by men, it may appear as a valid “excuse” that it would simply be too exhausting to seek out interesting papers by women, simply for the purpose of making philosophy courses more enticing for female students. This list should remove at least some of the validity of that excuse.

  • Anscombe, G E M: “On Frustration of the Majority by Fulfilment of the Majority’s Will” (Analysis, vol. 36).
  • Cassidy, Lisa: “That Many of Us Should Not Parent” (Hypatia, vol. 21).
  • Denis, Lara: “Kant on the Wrongness of ‘Unnatural’ Sex” (History of Philosophy Quarterly, vol. 16).
  • Dimova-Cookson, Maria: “A New Scheme of Positive and Negative Freedom: Reconstructing T. H. Green on Freedom” (Political Theory, vol. 31).
  • Feagin, Susan L: “Mill and Edwards on the Higher Pleasures” (Philosophy, vol. 58).
  • Ferguson, Susan: “The Radical Ideas of Mary Wollstonecraft” (Canadian Journal of Political Science, vol. 32).
  • Foot, Philippa: “Moral Arguments” (Mind, vol. 67).
  • Fried, Barbara: “‘If You Don’t Like It, Leave It’: The Problem of Exit in Social Contractarian Arguments” (Philosophy and Public Affairs, vol. 31).
  • Fried, Barbara: “Wilt Chamberlain Revisited: Nozick’s ‘Justice in Transfer’ and the Problem of Market-Based Distribution” (Philosophy and Public Affairs, vol. 24).
  • Gardner, Catherine: “The Remnants of the Family: The Role of Women and Eugenics in Republic V” (History of Philosophy Quarterly, vol. 17).
  • Gibson, Mary: “Rationality” (Philosophy and Public Affairs, vol. 6).
  • Gill, Emily R: “MacIntyre, Rationality, & the Liberal Tradition” (Polity, vol. 24).
  • Hekman, Susan: “John Stuart Mill’s The Subjection of Women: The Foundations of Liberal Feminism” (History of European Ideas, vol. 15).
  • Heller, Agnes: “The Legacy of Marxian Ethics Today” (PRAXIS International, no. 4, 1981).
  • Holmgren, Margaret: “Wide Reflective Equilibrium and Objective Moral Truth” (Metaphilosophy, vol. 18).
  • Jarvis, Judith: “In Defense of Moral Absolutes” (The Journal of Philosophy, vol. 55).
  • Jeske, Diane: “Persons, Compensation, and Utilitarianism” (The Philosophical Review, vol. 102).
  • Lichtenberg, Judith: “Negative Duties, Positive Duties, and the ‘New Harms'” (Ethics, vol. 120).
  • Lovibond, Sabina: “‘Gendering’ as an Ethical Concept” (Feminist Theory, vol. 2).
  • McIntyre, Alison: “Guilty Bystanders? On the Legitimacy of Duty to Rescue Statutes” (Philosophy and Public Affairs, vol. 23).
  • Mitchell, Dorothy, “Are Moral Principles Really Necessary?” (Australasian Journal of Philosophy, vol. 41).
  • Nussbaum, Martha C: “Human Functioning and Social Justice: In Defense of Aristotelian Essentialism” (Political Theory, vol. 20).
  • Okin, Susan Moller: “Feminism and Multiculturalism: Some Tensions” (Ethics, vol. 108).
  • Philips, Anne: “Defending Equality of Outcome” (The Journal of Political Philosophy, vol. 12).
  • Schwartz, Adina: “Moral Neutrality and Primary Goods” (Ethics, vol. 83).
  • Schwartz, Adina: “Meaningful Work” (Ethics, vol. 92).
  • Smith, Tara: “On Deriving Rights to Goods from Rights to Freedom” (Law and Philosophy, vol. 11).
  • Stark, Susan: “Emotions and the Ontology of Moral Value” (The Journal of Value Inquiry, vol. 38).
  • Swanton, Christine: “The Concept of Interests” (Political Theory, vol. 8).
  • Whiting, Jennifer: “Eudaimonia, External Results, and Choosing Virtuous Actions for Themselves” (Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, vol. 65).
  • Wilson, Catherine: “Prospects for Non-cognitivism” (Inquiry, vol. 44).
  • Worley, Sara: “Feminism, Objectivity, and Analytic Philosophy” (Hypatia, vol. 10).
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