A philosophy professor sends in the following inquiry for discussion:
One way to try to make introductory-level philosophy courses more appealing to women is to include more articles written by women on the syllabus. I have seen a good deal of discussion and suggestions about this. Another way might be to try to include more topics that are more likely to be of interest to women than other topics. I have not encountered any useful discussion of this possibility and wonder what your readers think and whether they know of any useful resources I might consult. There are a few obvious examples within ethics and political philosophy since they involve pregnancy (e.g., abortion, commercial surrogacy) and one can come up with other examples in these areas along similar lines, but I’m curious about whether there is anything useful that can be said beyond that relatively narrow range of cases. Are there less obvious topics in the values area that are particularly good at generating interest among female undergraduates? Topics in other areas such as metaphysics, epistemology, aesthetics, philosophy of religion, philosophy of mind, etc? I would be particularly interested in any concrete data on this topic, but merely anecdotal evidence would also be appreciated. Thanks.
Suggestions and comments welcome (though they may take a while to appear, owing to travel).
UPDATE: I am taking a beating in the comments for posting this. At the moment I do not have time to write a substantive reply, but let me just say a few things: (1) criticism of the decision to post this is welcome; feel free to add or elaborate, as I appreciate the feedback, and I think it is perfectly worthwhile to ask whether this is a question we should be asking at all; (2) if you do wish to provide an answer to the reader’s inquiry about topics, please base your answer on data or your experiences, and not on speculation or guesswork; (3) I will post a reply tonight or tomorrow, if not sooner. Thanks.
UPDATE: I make additional comments about this post here.