Fall 2011 Schedule of Courses

PHILOSOPHY 390: THE PHILOSOPHY OF SEX, GENDER AND LOVE

MONDAY, WEDNESDAY
SECTION 1, 3:30 - 4:45 P.M.

PROFESSOR SHARON SYTSMA

REQUIRED TEXTS
Warnke, G. Debating Sex and Gender
Pakaluk, M. Other Selves: Philosophers on Friendship
Stewart, Robert. Philosophical Perspectives on Sex & Love

COURSE CONTENT
The course will cover philosophical theories of gender, sex, friendship and love, with 3-4 weeks devoted to each topic. The course will begin with an overview of intersexuality, which will inform our study of both sex and gender. The course will include a wide variety of philosophical readings--historical and contemporary, liberal and conservative, analytical and existential, conceptual and ethical. Questions to be addressed include, among others: Is gender a social construction, or something that is “performed,” or something with which we are endowed at birth? Is gender fixed at birth or at some later stage, or can it change? What is sexual perversion? What makes some sex better sex? Is prostitution immoral, and if so, for what reason(s)? Is promiscuity compatible with virtue? Why is friendship so important? Is it true that in order to be a good friend you first have to love yourself? Is it better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all? Why do we love? Can passion lead to virtue? Is there a connection between agape and eros?

COURSE FORMAT
Lecture/discussion. Two short presentations, weekly short assignments, midterm exam, and an 8-10 page term paper.