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  3. Race and Gender: Philosophical Issues

Race and Gender: Philosophical Issues (PHIL30052)

Undergraduate level 3Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 3
Subject codePHIL30052
Semester 2
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This subject surveys recent developments in our philosophical understanding and critiques of the social categories of race and gender. The subject will first explore issues in metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of language that arise for biological vs social constructivist accounts of race and gender. Special attention will be paid to the similarities and differences between race and gender and the ways in which they interact. If race and gender are biological categories, they may involve erroneous assumptions. If they are socially constructed categories, it follows that our current categories can be reshaped. This raises a number of moral and political questions regarding the best means to bring about change, including whether limiting freedom of speech can be justified. Philosophers studied include Anthony Appiah, Elizabeth Anderson, Sally Haslanger, Tommie Shelby, and Rae Langton.

Intended learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • gain a sound general comprehension of the major recent advances in our philosophical understanding of social categories such as gender, race;
  • understand and apply techniques from critical social theory to the evaluation of social practices;
  • Increase in ability to analyse and critique arguments;
  • be able to think and write rigorously, imaginatively and coherently on issues relating to race and gender;
  • be able to apply philosophical theorizing about race and gender to questions of social policy;
  • be able to work individually and in groups to generate and evaluate arguments.

Last updated: 11 October 2019