Women in philosophy : problems with the discrimination hypothesis


Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


A number of philosophers attribute the underrepresentation of women in philosophy largely to bias against women or some kind of wrongful discrimination. They cite six sources of evidence to support their contention: (1) gender disparities that increase along the path from undergraduate student to full-time faculty member; (2) anecdotal accounts of discrimination in philosophy; (3) research on gender bias in the evaluation of manuscripts, grants, and curricula vitae in other academic disciplines; (4) psychological research on implicit bias; (5) psychological research on stereotype threat; and (6) the relatively small number of articles written from a feminist perspective in leading philosophy journals. In each case, we find that proponents of the discrimination hypothesis, who include distinguished philosophers in fields such as philosophy of science, metaphysics, and philosophy of language, have tended to present evidence selectively. Occasionally they have even presented as evidence what appears to be something more dubious—for example, studies supporting the discrimination hypothesis based on data that have been reported “lost” under suspicious circumstances. It is not the aim of this paper to settle the question of the causes of female underrepresentation in philosophy. Rather, we argue that, contrary to what many philosophers claim, the overall information available does not support the discrimination hypothesis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-473
Number of pages13
JournalAcademic Questions
Issue number4
Early online date23 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014


  • Stereotype Threat
  • Gender Disparity
  • Stanford Encyclopedia
  • Feminist Philosophy
  • Female Applicant


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