A longer version of this APA address appeared in O'Neill 1998.
Early Modern Women Philosophers and the History of Philosophy
Article first published online: 9 JAN 2009
2005 by Hypatia, Inc.
Volume 20, Issue 3, pages 185–197, August 2005
How to Cite
O'NEILL, E. (2005), Early Modern Women Philosophers and the History of Philosophy. Hypatia, 20: 185–197. doi: 10.1111/j.1527-2001.2005.tb00494.x
- Issue published online: 9 JAN 2009
- Article first published online: 9 JAN 2009
It has now been more than a dozen years since the Eastern Division of the APA invited me to give an address on what was then a rather innovative topic: the published contributions of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century women to philosophy.1 In that address, I highlighted the work of some sixty early modern women. I then said to the audience, “Why have I presented this somewhat interesting, but nonetheless exhausting … overview of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century women philosophers? Quite simply, to overwhelm you with the presence of women in early modern philosophy. It is only in this way that the problem of women's virtually complete absence in contemporary histories of philosophy becomes pressing, mind-boggling, possibly scandalous.” My presentation had attempted to indicate the quantity and scope of women's published philosophical writing. It had also suggested that an acknowledgment of their contributions was evidenced by the representation of their work in the scholarly journals of the period and by the numerous editions and translations of their texts that continued to appear into the nineteenth century. But what about the status of these women in the histories of philosophy? Had they ever been well represented within the histories written before the twentieth century?
In the second part of my address, I noted that in the seventeenth century Gilles Menages, Jean de La Forge, and Marguerite Buffet produced doxographies of women philosophers, and that one of the most widely read histories of philosophy, that by Thomas Stanley, contained a discussion of twenty-four women philosophers of the ancient world. In the nineteenth century, Mathurin de Lescure, Alexander Foucher de Careil, and Victor Cousin wrote books on such figures as Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia, Emilie du Châtelet, Madeleine de Scudéry, and Madeleine de Sablé. But, and this point is important, when it came to the general histories of philosophy in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, only a handful of token women—largely “mystics,” who were not taken to be real philosophers—were mentioned.2 No woman was anywhere described as a significant, original contributor to early modern philosophy.
How did early modern women philosophers come to disappear from the history of philosophy by the twentieth century? In my 1990 address, I discussed a number of reasons internal to the practice of philosophy that led to the women's disappearance.3 One such reason I called “the purification of philosophy.” The bulk of the women's writings either directly addressed such topics as faith and revelation, on the one hand, or woman's nature and her role in society, on the other. But the late eighteenth century attempted to excise philosophy motivated by religious concerns from philosophy proper. And many German historians, taking Kantianism as the culmination of early modern philosophy and as providing the project for all future philosophical inquiry, viewed treatments of “the woman question” as a precritical issue of purely anthropological interest. So, by the nineteenth century, much of the published material by women once deemed philosophical no longer seemed so.
With respect to the women's views considered “solidly philosophical” even from a post-eighteenth-century vantage point, some utilized a style or method, or expressed an underlying “episteme” that simply did not win out. For example, the writings of Madeleine de Scudéry and Anne Conway, with their underlying Neoplatonic episteme, may seem too removed from our present philosophical concerns to gain a place in our histories. Notice that such a decision assumes that our histories of philosophy take our current philosophical concerns as their main point of departure in choosing which aspects of philosophy's past to recognize. I will turn to the topic of methodology in the history of philosophy in a moment, but first I want to note what I have argued elsewhere, namely, that an odd feature of “philosophical views that did not win out” is that they have frequently been characterized as feminine.4 For example, the Neoplatonism of the seventeenth-century French salons, and of the Cambridge Platonists, came to be regarded at the end of the seventeenth century as feminine. The point was not that it was the philosophy of women, but rather that it was a degenerate philosophy of both men and women on its way out. But a good deal of slippage had transpired between feminine (that is, outdated) philosophy that perhaps “deserved” to be left out of the canon, and philosophy written by women. This is particularly obvious in the attack on feminine scholarly style in the second half of the eighteenth century. For example, when Rousseau attacks the scholarly style issuing from the French salons, it is not feminine style per se that he attacks, but the influence of real women on style.5
My hypothesis, about the alignment of the feminine gender (and women) with ultimately unsuccessful philosophical topics and methods, however, applied equally well to the erasure of some women from seventeenth-century histories as it did to the more extensive disappearance of women philosophers in subsequent centuries. And while my focus on the rise of Kantian critical thought, and the “purification” of philosophy, did identify the nineteenth century as the pivotal era of disappearance, it was unable to explain why virtually all women's philosophical contributions were lost to sight at this point. Near the end of my 1990 address, I suggested that the dramatic disappearance of women from the histories of philosophy in the nineteenth century could be fully understood only by moving beyond changes internal to philosophy and by examining the social and political climate in the aftermath of the French Revolution.
At the very commencement of modern democracy, culture's anxiety was focused on whether women's limited entrance into the newly democratized public sphere would lead to women's equal participation in economic and political power. In this period, the woman author came to epitomize all women's increasing autonomy and the possibility of their economic independence.6 She symbolized the possibility of the dismantling of the patriarchal order. But it was the female theoretical authors—especially philosophers—who received a particularly nasty reception in the early nineteenth century.7 For, to be a philosopher in this period was to be a shaper of culture: it was to have the power to demarcate and distinguish all the branches of knowledge, and to decide the value of alternative avenues of inquiry and methodology. But what if “philosopher queens” could rule in the polis? Such a dismantling of male hegemony at the birth of modern democracy was more than most of democracy's staunchest supporters could manage. Thus ensued enormous social and political pressure to erase and to forget the “woman who dabbles with philosophy and writing,” as Proudhon called her.8
I ended my 1990 address by noting that while explanations are readily available for the disappearance of women philosophers from our histories, no justification exists for the wholesale exclusion of early modern women from the histories of philosophy. I pointed out that scholars were already hard at work, producing historical reconstructions of the arguments of the early modern women philosophers, and showing how the women's philosophical contributions were dialectically related to those of their male counterparts. This form of “disinterested” history attempts to make intelligible the presuppositions and patterns of inference that past philosophers used—even if we now take these presuppositions or inferences to be unacceptable. Those engaged in historical reconstruction take the significant issues, strategies, and texts to be the ones deemed so by the philosophers of the past. Thus, if our current historical reconstructions of that period fail to include published works or writings by women circulated in scholarly circles and acknowledged in their own time as philosophically useful, our histories are incomplete and distorted. Since a wealth of published texts by early modern women had now surfaced, the time seemed ripe for historians to begin adding new chapters to our histories of philosophy.
I also noted that contemporary feminist philosophers were beginning to produce rational reconstructions of the early modern women philosophers’ arguments. Rational reconstructions interpret the positions and arguments of past philosophers in light of our current views. They underline the extent to which we share, with past philosophers, a tradition of both problems and argumentational strategies for solving the problems. I observed that feminist philosophers had already begun to turn to the women philosophers of the past in the attempt to trace a history of feminist thought. Michèle Le Doeuff's treatment of Simone de Beauvoir and Mary Wollstonecraft in Hipparchia's Choice had been precisely the attempt to provide a Geistesgeschichte that will make women visible again in the history of philosophy (Le Doeuff 1991).9
Well, that was the state of things back in 1990. What has happened in the intervening years with respect to scholarship about early modern women philosophers?10 There is no question but that there has been a flurry of scholarly activity on this topic. We now have the groundbreaking four-volume history of women philosophers, completed under the general editorship of Mary Ellen Waithe (Waithe 1987–1995). Several collections of essays on women philosophers, and collections of essays on individual women philosophers have also seen their way into print, and I am aware of a number of collections now in progress.11 Of special note is the feminist series, Re-Reading the Canon, under the general editorship of Nancy Tuana, which consists of edited collections of essays devoted to the work of a single philosopher. So far, volumes on the work of a number of women philosophers have appeared in the series, for example, Simone de Beauvoir, Hannah Arendt, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Ayn Rand.
The primary source materials are finally becoming available in modern editions—many of which are suitable for classroom use. In particular, I have in mind the editions that Broadview Press has released and will publish, including works by Margaret Cavendish, Mary Astell, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Catharine Trotter Cockburn; the volumes in Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy, including works by Margaret Cavendish and Anne Conway; the texts by Mary Astell, Margaret Cavendish, Christine de Pisan, and Mary Wollstonecraft in Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought; and the series The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe, released by the University of Chicago, which will publish translations of works by Lucrezia Marinella, Marie de Gournay, Anna Maria van Schurman, Jacqueline Pascal, Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia, Gabrielle Suchon, Madeleine de Scudèry, Oliva Sabuco de Nantes Barrera, Françoise de Maintenon, and Emilie du Châtelet. Oxford University Press's series Women Writers in English 1350–1850 includes texts by Mary Chudleigh and Judith Sargent Murray; and Penguin Books has published collections of writings by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz and Margaret Cavendish. Finally, hardcover editions, sometimes multivolume ones produced by Ashgate Publishing Company, Garland Press, and Thoemmes Press have given us modern editions of the texts of Catharine Macaulay, Margaret Cavendish, Catherine Ward Beecher, Mary Shepherd, Mary Hays, and Damaris Masham. Several anthologies of short selections from the texts of women philosophers include Margaret Atherton's collection, which focuses on seventeenth- and eighteenth-century women, and Mary Warnock's, which includes women from the seventeenth through twenty-first centuries (Atherton 1994, Warnock 1996).12
While there was once a dearth of scholarship on early modern women philosophers, in the past ten years articles have appeared not only in Hypatia, but also in such journals as the British journal for the History of Philosophy, the Journal of the History of Philosophy, the Australasian Journal of Philosophy, and Journal of the History of Ideas. In addition, books on a wide range of topics related to women philosophers have also been published, such as book-length treatments of seventeenth-century women philosophers (Broad 2002), women Cartesians (Harth 1992), Princess Elisabeth's correspondence with Descartes (Nye 1999), Queen Christina of Sweden and her circle (Åkerman 1991), women moralists of the French Neoclassical salons (Conley 2002), the philosophy of education of Catharine Macaulay (Titone 2004), and the relation of form and content in the moral writing of certain women philosophers (Gardner 2003), to mention just a few. Biographies and book-length treatments have appeared dealing with figures such as Marie de Gournay, Margaret Cavendish, Catharine Macaulay, Mary Astell, Mary Wollstonecraft, Marie-Jeanne Roland, Sophie de Condorcet, Stéphanie-Félicité de Genlis, Louise d'Epinay, Germaine de Staël-Holstein, and Emilie Du Châtelet.
Within the APA's program for group meetings the Society for the Study of Women Philosophers now regularly holds a session where numerous papers have been given on women in the history of philosophy. Also, a number of APA panels over the years have been devoted to the topic of modern women philosophers, and some sessions have focused on specific women philosophers of the past. The first conference on early modern women philosophers, organized by Sarah Hutton and Susan James, took place at Girton College, Cambridge, in 1992. It was followed by two conferences on seventeenth-century women philosophers, the first at the University of Massachusetts in 1997, and the second at the University of Florida in 2003. The MLA and other literature societies, as well as philosophy, history, and political science groups, have sponsored conferences on individual women philosophers. And the 2003 conference entitled “Teaching New Histories of Philosophy,” sponsored by Princeton's Center for Human Values, included a panel on women philosophers and gender issues in the history of philosophy.
In sum, scholars have made enormous strides in the past dozen years in identifying the women philosophers of the early modern period, in bringing out modern editions of their texts, and in interpreting and evaluating their contributions to philosophy. But how this scholarship has affected the writing of the history of early modern philosophy is, I think, a more complicated matter.
In the mid-1990s a publishing company decided to produce a supplement for one of its reference works on philosophy. Since the original version of the reference tool had included pitifully few entries on women philosophers, a feminist philosopher who was on the editorial board had encouraged the press to include in the supplement a number of entries on women philosophers. But despite the feminist editor's many suggestions, in the end the press chose to add entries only on the following figures: one woman from the ancient world, Hypatia; one from the Middle Ages, Hildegard of Bingen; one from the Renaissance, Marie de Gournay; one from the seventeenth century, Anne Conway; and one from the eighteenth century, Mary Wollstonecraft; plus Anscombe, Arendt, and Beauvoir from the twentieth century. It was never explained to me why Conway was chosen but not Mary Astell; why Wollstonecraft was selected but not Emilie du Châtelet; and why no women philosophers from the nineteenth century were included.
Since the press wasn't going to budge on the issue of adding more entries on individual women, I asked if the supplement couldn't at least include an overview essay. After some negotiations, I was asked to write a 1500-word article on “Women in the History of Philosophy,” to which I agreed on the condition that the length of the bibliography for the article would not be restricted. I continue to be pleased about the fact that the bibliography of primary sources alone is about the length of the article to which it is appended. Although I was allowed no space in which to speak about the importance of the women's philosophical contributions, the sheer volume of the titles of the women's publications stand as a type of monument. The bibliography seems to shout, “Here is the material that within this reference work remains buried and silenced. Here is the material about which we are not permitted to speak. But by all means, find these titles and read them for yourself.”
At about the same time, a different publishing company decided to begin production on a new philosophy reference tool. I was asked by my editor to submit descriptions of the work of seventeenth-century women philosophers for possible inclusion in the reference work. The editor accepted a number of my suggestions, and I was pleased to see not only that such figures as Conway, Cavendish, Schurman, Princess Elisabeth, Astell, Masham, and Du Châtelet received entries of their own, but also that even less well-known figures such as Gabrielle Suchon received their own entries. Interestingly enough, the one woman philosopher for whom the first publishing company had asked me to write a separate entry, Marie de Gournay, was rejected by the second publishing company for not being “of sufficient philosophical interest.” Now I can understand why Gournay, a student of Montaigne, might strike some as an interesting seventeenth-century philosophical figure, and strike others as a merely literary figure. The same debates arise with respect to Montaigne. These are borderline cases, where competent scholars may easily disagree about whether to consider the figure under discussion to be a philosopher or not. But it seems to me that when it comes to women philosophers, judgments about which of them to count as genuine philosophers are frequently based on dubious presuppositions or misinformation. A simple case of misinformation is what would seem to explain why a publishing company has recently asked me to write an entry on Anne Bradstreet—a poet, not a philosopher. On the other hand, Mary Warnock's choice of women to include in her anthology of philosophical selections by women from the seventeenth to the twenty-first centuries seems to me to be based on dubious presuppositions.13
In the introduction, Warnock tells us that a philosopher claims “not only to seek the truth, but to seek a truth, or theory, that will explain the particular and the detailed and the everyday.” In addition, a philosopher is “concerned not merely with stating his views, but with arguing for them.” In short, general and explanatory arguments are the “hallmark” of philosophy. Warnock proudly notes that “in putting together the collection I have hardly widened the scope of what is generally thought to be covered by the concept of philosophy” (Warnock 1996, xxx-xxxi).
Given these generally held views, she finds for the seventeenth century only Anne Conway and Catharine Trotter Cockburn to include in her collection, and for the eighteenth century only Mary Wollstonecraft. Warnock is surely deriving her list of women philosophers from criteria that go beyond the innocuous requirement that philosophers provide general and explanatory arguments, for many more women philosophers meet her requirements than those she includes in her anthology. But which other factors are informing her selections?
Warnock claims that the generally held views about philosophy forced her to omit the writings of women who seemed to “rely more on dogma, revelation or mystical experience than on argument” (xxxii). This might explain why St. Teresa of Avila and Antoinette Bourignon are omitted from her book. But why is Warnock excluding Mary Astell's arguments against occasionalism in Letters Concerning the Love of God, as well as her criticisms of Locke on thinking matter in The Christian Religion?. In Warnock's zeal to separate religion from philosophy proper, she eliminates genuine philosophical writings—at least, relative to her own criteria—-simply because they deal with religious issues.
Finally, she notes that a great deal of feminist literature “satisfies my criteria of generality and of the hoped-for explanation of phenomena.… Yet, just as in the case of religion, there tends to be too much unexamined dogma in these writings, too much ill-concealed proselytizing, too little objective analysis, to allow them to qualify for inclusion among philosophical writings proper” (xxxiii). Well, no doubt a good deal of philosophy produced is bad philosophy—and for precisely the reasons she gives. But why is feminist thought singled out as exemplary of this sort of illegitimate philosophy? Here is Warnock's answer: “The great subjects of philosophy… must be concerned with ‘us’ in the sense in which ‘we’ are all humans. The truths which philosophers seek must aim to be not merely generally, but objectively, even universally true. Essentially they must be gender-indifferent” (xxxiv). This is a very interesting and hefty modal claim: not only has philosophy, as it has been practiced heretofore, been such that its claims are gender-indifferent, but there is a conceptual connection between philosophy and gender-indifference.
What are the arguments that Warnock offers for this thesis? She says only this: “Those who deny that any such [universal and gender-indifferent] truth is possible… are engaged, it seems to me, not in philosophy but in a species of anthropology” (xxxiv). In short, it is a conceptual truth, which requires no argument, that thought that is not gender-indifferent lies outside of the scope of philosophy—a strange way to proceed for one who eschews unexamined dogma and ill-concealed proselytizing. But perhaps more puzzling still is why Warnock would ever have wanted to edit a collection of writings of women philosophers given her position on the complete irrelevance of gender to philosophy. It is as if she had decided to edit the work of blue-eyed philosophers born on Wednesdays. Why should anyone be interested in such a collection?
Concerning the women who count as genuine philosophers, what about judgments not based on dubious presuppositions or misinformation? What sorts of methodological problems arise even here? Consider the recovery of the work of Mary Astell, Sor Juana, Judith Sargent Murray, Marie de Gournay, and Anna Maria van Schurman in Therese Boos Dykeman's The Neglected Canon. Scholars have seen Dykeman's work as “an effort to convey a more accurate picture of the chronicle of philosophers and their contributions to the fundamental philosophical questions of their time” (Tuana 2004, 63). But if we utilize the method of historical reconstruction, we will take as central those issues deemed by the philosophers of the past to be the central ones; and we will take scholars to be philosophers of the past just in case they were so deemed by their contemporaries. Notice that given this method, the history of philosophy will not include most of the women in Dykeman's list. For Sor Juana, Gournay, Murray, and Schurman were mainly important for their contributions to the “quarrel about women.” And those deemed to be philosophers by their contemporaries in the seventeenth century did not, for the most part, take this “woman question” to be a serious philosophical issue.
On the other hand, if we utilize the method of rational reconstruction, the issues philosophically central in a past era will be those that most closely match our current philosophical concerns or that have caused us to have our current concerns. Historians of feminist philosophy are producing exciting work as they examine the foreshadowings of contemporary feminist issues and arguments in the writings of recently rediscovered female philosophers of the past.14 We are just beginning to see in the seventeenth century the lines of influence that tied together the proto-feminist texts of Lucrezia Marinella, Marie de Gournay, Anna Maria van Schurman, and Bathsua Makin; and in eighteenth-century England, women were beginning to trace a history of feminist philosophy that linked Mary Hays, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Catharine Macaulay back one hundred years to Mary Astell (O'Neill 1998, 21, 28). Through Wollstonecraft, English feminist thought came to be influenced by Germaine de Staël-Holstein and Stéphanie-Félicité de Genlis (Wollstonecraft 1988); through Astell, it was influenced by Anne Dacier and Madeleine de Scudéry (Astell 1701). By 1790, the American Judith Sargent Murray was able to provide a mini-history of feminist philosophers including Gournay, Scudéry, Dacier, Astell, Masham, Macaulay, Genlis, and Wollstonecraft, among others (Murray 1995). In the twentieth century, Simone de Beauvoir explicitly tied her efforts to those of Christine de Pisan, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Olympe de Gouges (Beauvoir 1989). So it may turn out that some of the figures in Dykeman's canon, such as Gournay or Astell, will emerge as having a greater influence on current philosophy than, say, Kenelm Digby or Ralph Cudworth.
But for all that, I think that we need to be careful in utilizing the method of rational reconstruction. For while it can give us philosophical forebears, it frequently does so at the price of distorting the views of past philosophers. It attempts to fit the complex reasoning of the past, which only partly and haphazardly overlaps with current interests, into a contemporary mold. A beautiful example of the unveiling of the distortion of rational reconstructions is Patricia Springborg's recent work on Astell's views about marriage (Springborg 1996). She has shown that, far from sharing contemporary liberal feminist views about the right of women to revolt within marriage if the terms of the marriage contract are not upheld, Astell drew parallels between contracts in the domestic and public spheres precisely in order to criticize the contractarian view of the state. In short, though a proto-feminist, Astell was not a liberal theoretician, but a high-church, Tory conservative.
So far, I have been discussing the inclusion of certain women in our histories of philosophy, and problems surrounding the justification of such inclusion. But have women been excluded wholesale from the history of philosophy in our own time? And if so, for what reasons? The editors of The Cambridge History of Seventeenth-Century Philosophy chose to include some fourteen biographies and bibliographies of women philosophers of that century. So when the editor of a history of eighteenth-century philosophy asked me to provide information about women who might be included in that history, I assumed that a few of these women would receive some mention in the history. But I was wrong. When I recently met the editor at a conference, he said that unfortunately he was not able to use any of the material that I had sent him. Later, the editor's wife told me that she had tried to read Mary Wollstonecraft but had not been able to follow her train of thought. Finally, consider the remarkable moment at a recent conference when, at the end of my talk, a historian of philosophy asked, “Do you think you are doing your women students any favor by teaching them second-rate philosophers?” I responded, “Do you really think that Margaret Cavendish and Mary Astell are second-rate philosophers?” I did not have the pleasure of engaging in an informed debate about the merits of Cavendish and Astell, for my interlocutor blocked any further discussion with the words: “I've never heard of Cavendish or Astell.” One presupposition of the editor of the eighteenth-century history and the historian under discussion here is that “cream rises to the top”: if there were women who contributed in significant ways to early modern philosophy, well-educated scholars would already know about them. This, of course, is to presuppose that the outcome of the dialectical development of thought, the movement of Geist, is such that all forms of prejudice and chauvinism are weeded out. More than that, it is to presuppose that the weeding out of prejudice happens very quickly. I must say that my own understanding of the history of modern philosophy does not give rise to this sort of optimism. The historians of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries typically constructed the canon of early modern thought so that the history of philosophy “led up to” their pet philosophical position. And it is remarkable how closely the march of Geist followed geographical lines: the German historians typically constructed the canon so that the history of philosophy culminated in Kantian idealism; the French historians took Descartes as pivotal and traced the history of philosophy from him to Bergson, or Merleau-Ponty, or Sartre. As I see it, all sorts of unjustified assumptions about gender, class, ethnicity, and nationalism have played a role in the actual constructions of philosophical canons in modern philosophy. And it has taken a long time, and a great deal of effort on the part of historians of philosophy, to begin to expose these assumptions.
A second presupposition of the editor and the historian is that the philosophical value of women's texts would be transparent at first reading. Anyone who has ever worked with, say, a medieval or Renaissance text by an unidentified author knows that this presupposition is pure nonsense. Determining the philosophical value of a text requires that we first understand the context in which a text was written, what its philosophical goals are, what the argumentational strategies are, and so on. Accomplishing all this in the absence of any preexisting critical and historical literature on the text is very difficult. It typically takes many scholars, working hard for some time, before we can properly interpret, and thus be in a position to evaluate the philosophical significance of, a text.15
So, in addition to genuine methodological challenges that we historians must face in our attempts to include some women in the histories of philosophy, I regret to say that many of our colleagues remain quite resistant to the very notion that significant contributors to the history of philosophy might exist of whom they have never heard. But if the wonderful scholarship on early modern women philosophers that I noted above continues, there may come a day, in the not too distant future, when saying, “But I've never heard of Margaret Cavendish” or “I can't follow Mary Wollstonecraft's train of thought” will only be a confession of a scholar's failure, rather than a reason to dismiss these figures.
For example, Victor Cousin mentions Mme Guyon and Antoinette Bourignon; Gottfried Wilhelm Tennemann mentions Jane Lead.
For an alternative account of the women's disappearance from the histories of philosophy, see Rée 2002.
See O'Neill 1999.
Rousseau charges that the decadence of arts and letters in France is due to men's practice of “lowering their ideas to the range of women,” since “everywhere that women dominate, their taste must also dominate; this is what determines the taste of our age” (Rousseau 1758).
For a detailed discussion of these issues see Fraisse 1994.
Consider, for example, the following description of Marie-Charlotte Corday in an official French news sheet, as quoted in Linda Kelly, Women of the French Revolution:“She was a virago more brawny than fresh, graceless and dirty in her person as are almost all female philosophers and intellectuals” (1987, 102).
Pierre Joseph Proudhon, quoted in d'Héricourt 1864 (73–74).
In The Sex of Knowing (2003), Le Doeuff discusses an even wider range of early modern women philosophers.
This review of recent literature is taken from my chapter “Justifying the Inclusion of Women in Our Histories of Philosophy: The Case of Marie de Gournay” in Guide to Feminist Philosophy (forthcoming).
See also Dykeman 1999.
This discussion of Mary Warnock's introduction to Women Philosophers is taken from O'Neill 2004.
For a discussion of Michéle Le Doeuffs history of feminist philosophy, see the essays in Australian Journal of French Studies: Autour de Michéle Le Doeuff (2003), especially those by Marguerite La Caze, Eileen O'Neill, and David Norbrook.
For an attempt to identify the philosophical goals and argumentational strategies of a late Renaissance text by Marie de Gournay, as well as to show the innovations that the text introduces to the querelle des femmes genre, see my chapter “Justifying the Inclusion of Women in Our Histories of Philosophy: The Case of Marie de Gournay” in Guide to Feminist Philosophy (forthcoming).
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