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Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
August 2023
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Book description

Despite the common misconception that ancient philosophy was the domain of male thinkers, sources confirm that ancient women engaged in philosophical activity. Bringing together a collection of essays on ancient women thinkers, with special focus on their ideas and contributions to the history of philosophy, this volume is about the earliest women philosophers, their breakthroughs, and the methods we can use to excavate them. The essays survey the methodological strategies we can use to approach the surviving evidence, retrieve the largely unresearched thought and the original ideas of ancient women philosophers, and carve out a space for them in the canon. The broad focus includes women thinkers in ancient Indian, Chinese, and Arabic philosophy as well as in the Greek and Roman philosophical traditions. The volume will be valuable for a wide range of researchers, teachers, and students of ancient philosophy.


‘Any reinterpretation of the history of philosophy that includes the voices of women must begin with the ancient women thinkers. Pelló and O'Reilly succeed in creating a new framework beyond the Christian Western tradition. Part of this new perspective is indebted to the ideas of women thinkers from the Indian, Chinese, and Arab worlds. The book offers a fresh approach that renovates our understanding of ancient women thinkers and their reception, and also renews the concept of ancient philosophy.'

Ruth E. Hagengruber - University of Paderborn

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