Skip to main content

An Introduction to Feminist Philosophy



An Introduction to Feminist Philosophy

Alison Stone

ISBN: 978-0-745-63883-6 December 2007 Polity 248 Pages


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 has developed since the 1960s. The book also explains how feminist philosophy relates to the many forms of feminist politics.

The book provides clear, succinct and readable accounts of key feminist thinkers including de Beauvoir, Butler, Gilligan, Irigaray, and MacKinnon. The book also introduces other thinkers who have influenced feminist philosophy including Arendt, Foucault, Freud, and Lacan. Accessible in approach, this book is ideal for students and researchers interested in feminist philosophy, feminist theory, women's studies, and political theory. It will also appeal to the general reader.


How to use this book

Introduction: What is Feminist Philosophy?

Chapter 1 Sex

Chapter 2 Gender

Chapter 3 Sexuality

Chapter 4 Sexual Difference

Chapter 5 Essentialism

Chapter 6 Birth

Chapter 7 Feminism



"Alison Stone explains with a rare clarity the many theories of feminist philosophies which revolve around some basic concepts (sex, gender, sexual diversity, essentialism, birth, feminism) and reveals the many prejudices that these concepts carry to the detriment of both women and men."

"Moving deftly through an impressive range of literature in psychoanalysis, gender theory, equality-difference debates, and complex questions about gender essentialism, Stone offers a thoughtful, scholarly and practical introduction to a range of interpretive strategies and symbolic structures that sustain gendered oppression and subordination. The book is a fine resource for professional philosophers, and an excellent, accessible teaching text."
Lorraine Code, YorkUniversity, Toronto

"The considerable accomplishment of this comprehensive and reliable guide is the fine balance it achieves. It stands as a model of clarity and of philosophical argument, which on the one hand avoids making unexplained assumptions, and on the other hand manages to avoid being reductive. It constitutes a valuable resource for readers who want to familiarize themselves with the field, and a useful tool for those who seek clarification of central debates."
Tina Chanter, DePaul University, Chicago

  • A core introductory text to feminist philosophy, pitched at level 1/2 undergraduates.
  • Lays out theories and concepts in a highly accessible way for students with no previous knowledge of feminist thought.
  • Covers all the major feminist thinkers, including de Beauvoir, Butler, Gilligan, Irigaray, and MacKinnon.
  • Includes an in-text glossary, further reading suggestions and frequent use of bullet points to guide the reader through the material.
  • Will be required reading on a wide range of feminist thought courses within philosophy, women’s studies, sociology, politics and cultural studies degrees.