PHIL 325 Ethics of Identity


This course introduces students to philosophical debate on identity. What is identity? What makes an identity ‘mine' to claim? What or who should determine the answer to this question? Today’s political climate is rife with tension over such questions. From gender to race to culture to religion, what it takes to be a ‘good and proper’ member of a given identity is constantly and anxiously debated. Student inquiry will focus especially on membership criteria for a given identity. What should determine whether one counts as a member of a given identity category, such as a given sex, gender, or race? How much weight should be placed on natural features (e.g., biological traits), social features (e.g., treatment by one's larger society), or personal features (e.g., self-identification or narrative experience)? Students will be introduced to influential philosophical writing on these topics, while paying particular attention to recent work in the metaphysics of race and gender. This course is open to all students - in and outside of philosophy.