Some readings by female authors used in introduction to philosophy classes

Here are all of the readings by female authors used in the sections of Introduction to Philosophy taught by graduate students (and the departmental chair George Rainbolt) in the academic year 2012-13 plus in summer 2013 at Georgia State University. Please note that I made a good-faith effort to include everything when looking through people's reading lists, but I may have missed a few readings, and I have not gone through to make citation formats consistent for papers, or to doublecheck the correctness of all citations. Please let me know if you see anything that should be corrected. At the bottom of the page are links to some additional resources for people who want to find suitable readings. -Tim O'Keefe

Philosophy of Mind, personal identity

Anita Allen, "Forgetting yourself," in Diana Meyers, ed. Feminists Rethink the Self (Boulder: Westview, 1996), 104-123.

Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia, letters to Descartes (taken from Margaret Atherton Women Philosophers of the Early Modern Period Hackett, 1994, pp.9-21) Free translation also available at Early Modern Texts.

Patricia Churchland, "The Hornswoggle Problem," Journal of Consciousness Studies 3, No. 5-6, 1996, pp. 402-8

Brie Gertler, "In Defense of Mind-Body Dualism" in Feinberg, J., & Shafer-Landau, R. (Eds.) (2011). Reason and Responsibility (14th ed.). pp. 303-15

Janet Levin, "Functionalism," Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2008) [link]

Free Will and Determinism

Adina Roskies, "Neuroscientific challenges to free will and responsibility," Trends Cogn Sci. 2006 Sep;10(9):419-23

Susan Wolf, "Asymmetrical Freedom," Journal of Philosophy 77 (March): 151-66 (1980) [JSTOR link]


Lorraine Code, selections from What Can She Know?, Chapter 1

Donna Haraway, "Situated Knowledges," in Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: the Reinvention of Nature. Free Association Books Limited, 1991, pp. 183-202.

Jennifer Nagel, "Mindreading in Gettier Cases and Skeptical Pressure Cases," in Jessica Brown & Mikkel Gerken (eds.), Knowledge Ascriptions. Oxford University Press (2012). [link]

Linda Zagzebski, "What is Knowledge?" Chapter 3 in John Greco & Ernest Sosa (eds.), The Blackwell Guide to Epistemology. Oxford: Blackwell (1999) pp. 92-116.


Julia Annas, "Virtue Ethics and Social Psychology" A Priori 2:20-34 (2003).[link]

Ruth Benedict, "The Case for Moral Relativism," in The Moral Life: An Introductory Reader in Ethics and Literature Ed. by Louis P. Pojman and Lewis Vaugn, 4th Ed, Oxford University Press, 2010, pp. 151-159 (anthologized elsewhere too, in other Pojman volumes)

Phillipa Foot, "Morality as a System of Hypothetical Imperatives" Philosophical Review, Vol. 81, No. 3, Jul., 1972 pp. 305-316 [JSTOR link]

Virginia Held, "Feminist Moral Inquiry and the Feminist Future" in V. Held (ed.) Justice and Care. Boulder, Co: Westview Press, 2006: 153-176.

Rosalind Hursthouse, "Normative Virtue Ethics," in Gendler-Siegel-Cahn, The Elements of Philosophy (2008), New York: Oxford University Press. Pp. 127-138.

Ursula LeGuin, "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas," in her The Wind's Twelve Quarters, Harper and Rowe, pp. 275-284, 1975 (and widely anthologized elsewhere)

Martha Nussbaum, "Judging Other Cultures: The Case of Genital Mutilation" in her Sex and Social Justice, Oxford University Press, 1999, pp. 118-129 (and anthologized elsewhere, like Reason & Responsibility)

Onora O'Neill, "A Simplified Account of Kant's Ethics," in Gendler-Siegel-Cahn, The Elements of Philosophy (2008), New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 112-114

Christine Swanton, "A Virtue Ethical Account of Right Action," Ethics Vol. 112, No. 1 (October 2001), pp. 32-52 [JSTOR link]

Judith Jarvis Thomson, "The Trolley Problem," The Yale Law Journal, Vol. 94, No. 6 (May, 1985), pp. 1395-1415. Reprinted in many places, including Gendler-Siegel-Cahn, The Elements of Philosophy (2008), New York: Oxford University Press. Pp. 195-208

Judith Jarvis Thomson, "Killing, Letting Die, and the Trolley Problem," The Monist 59 204-17 (1976) [JSTOR link]

Susan Wolf, "Moral Saints," Journal of Philosophy 79 (8): 419-439 (1982) [JSTOR link]

Susan Wolf, "Happiness and Meaning: Two Aspects of the Good Life." Social Philosophy and Policy 14 (01):207-225 (1997)

Susan Wolf, "The Meanings of Lives," in Introduction to Philosophy: Classical and Contemporary Readings, Fifth and Sixth Editions, Oxford University Press, edd. Perry, Bratman, and Fischer.

Applied Ethics

Lisa Cassidy, "'Starving Children in Africa': Who Cares?" Journal of International Women's Studies, 7(1), 84-96. [link]

Ann Cudd and Leslie Jones. "Sexism," chapter 8 in A Companion to Applied Ethics, ed. R. G. Frey and Christopher Heath Wellman, 2005, Blackwell. Pp. 102-117.

Cora Diamond, "Eating Meat and Eating People" Philosophy 53: 465-479 (1978) [JSTOR link]

Rosalind Hursthouse, "Virtue Theory and Abortion," Philosophy & Public Affairs Vol. 20, No. 3 (Summer, 1991), pp. 223-246 [JSTOR link]

Onora O'Neill, "The Moral Perplexities of Famine Relief," in Tom L. Beauchamp & Tom Regan (eds.), Matters of Life and Death. Temple University Press (1980)

Onora O'Neill, "A Kantian Approach to Famine Relief," in Ethics: Contemporary Readings, edd. Harry Gensler, Earl Spurgin, James Swindal, Routledge (2003) 293-301,

Social and Political Philosophy

Annette Baier, "Against Social Contract Understandings of Justice," in What Is Justice?: Classic and Contemporary Readings, 2nd edn, Oxford University Press, ed. Robert Solomon and Mark Murphy, 120-126.

Philosophy of Religion

Simone Weil, "The Love of God and Affliction," in her Waiting for God, Harper-Collins, 2009. pp. 67-82


Elizabeth Telfer, "Food as Art," in Arguing about Art: Contemporary Philosophical Debates, 2nd ed. Alex Neil and Aaron Ridley, Routledge, 2002. pp. 9-27.

Carolyn Korsmeyer, "The Meaning of Taste and the Taste of Meaning," in her Making Sense of Taste: Food and Philosophy, Cornell University Press, 1999. Pp. 103-145. Also reprinted in Arguing about Art: Contemporary Philosophical Debates, 2nd ed. Alex Neil and Aaron Ridley, Routledge, 2002. pp. 28-50.


Monroe C. Beardsley & Elizabeth Lane Beardsley, "What is Philosophy?" In Steven M. Cahn (ed.) Exploring Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology. Oxford University Press (2009) pp 3-12.

Patricia Hill Collins, "Mammies, Matriarchs, and Other Controlling Images" in her Black Feminist Thought, 2nd ed., Routledge, 2000. Pp. 69-96.

Gayle Rubin, "Thinking Sex," in her Deviations: A Gayle Rubin Reader, pp. 137-181.

Sally Haslanger, "Future genders? Future races?" in Philosophic Exchange 34 (2003-4): 4-27.

Other resources on-line

An editable Googledocs spreadsheet of readings by women usuable in undergraduate courses.

The Women's Works database.

The blog Feminist Philosophers had several threads in which people contributed syllabus suggestions:

L. A. Paul's "What You Can't Expect When You're Expecting"

Return to the main page.