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Susan Stebbing (1885–1943), the UK's first female professor of philosophy, was a key figure in the development of analytic philosophy. Stebbing wrote the world's first accessible book on the new polyadic logic and its philosophy. She made major contributions to the philosophy of science, metaphysics, philosophical logic, critical thinking and applied philosophy. Nonetheless she has remained largely neglected by historians of analytic philosophy. This Element provides a thorough yet accessible overview of Stebbing's positive, original contributions, including her solution to the paradox of analysis, her account of the relation of sense data to physical objects, and her anti- idealist interpretation of the new Einsteinian physics. Stebbing's innovative work in these and other areas helped move analytic philosophy from its early phase to its middle period.
Mary Wollstonecraft is recognized as an important early feminist. This Element argues that she is also an ingenious moral philosopher, who showed that true virtue and the liberty of women are necessarily interdependent. The Element consists of eight sections. After an introduction, Section 2 discusses Wollstonecraft's concept of reason by examining its metaphysical foundation and its role as moral capacity. According to Wollstonecraft, reason interacts closely with the passions. Then, Sections 3 and 4 discuss the roles of the passions and the imagination. Reason, passion and imagination all come together in Wollstonecraft's discussions of love and friendship, which are the topic of Section 5. Wollstonecraft values education and knowledge, but discussions of her epistemology have been rare. Section 6 analyses some aspects of her views on knowledge. Finally, Section 7 discusses Wollstonecraft's notion of virtue, including its relations to liberty and duty. Section 8 makes some general conclusions.
There has recently been a resurgence of interest in the early nineteenth century Scottish philosopher Mary Shepherd. This Element is intended to provide an overview of Shepherd's system, including her views on the following wide range of topics: causation, induction, knowledge of the external world, matter, life, animal cognition, the relationship between mind and body, the immortality of the soul, the existence of God, miracles, and the nature of divine creation. The author also provides an overview of relevant secondary literature and argues for their own interpretation of Shepherd's metaphysics.
In this Element the author argues that genre deeply affects how early Christian female philosophers are characterized across different works. The included case studies are three women who feature in both narrative and dialogic texts: Thecla, Macrina the Younger and Monica. Based on these examples, the author demonstrates that the narrative sources tend to eschew secular education, while the dialogic sources are open to displays of secular knowledge. Philosophy was not only seen as a way of life, but sometimes also as a mode of educated argumentation. The author further argues that these female philosophers were held up in their femininity as models for imitation by both women and men.
This Element aims to critically examine the philosophical thought of Im Yunjidang 任允摯堂 (1721–93), a female Korean Neo-Confucian philosopher from the Chosŏn 朝鮮 dynasty (1392–1910), and to present her as a feminist thinker. Unlike most Korean women of her time, Yunjidang had the exceptional opportunity to be introduced to a major philosophical debate among Korean Neo-Confucians, which was focused on two core questions-whether sages and commoners share the same heart-mind, and whether the natures of human beings and animals are identical. In the course of engaging in this debate, she was able to reformulate Neo-Confucian metaphysics and ethics of moral self-cultivation, culminating in her bold ideas of the moral equality between men and women and the possibility of female sagehood. By proposing a 'stage-approach' to feminism that is also sensitive to the cultural context, this Element shows that Yunjidang's philosophical thought could be best captured in terms of Confucian feminism.
Tracing her intellectual development from her university years, when she was trained in a Cartesian and neo-Kantian philosophical tradition, to her final decade, during which she was recognised as having inspired the emerging strands of late twentieth-century feminism, Beauvoir is shown to have been among the most influential philosophical voices of the mid twentieth century. Countering the recent trend to read her in isolation from Sartre, she is shown to have both adopted, adapted, and influenced his philosophy, most importantly through encouraging him to engage with Hegel and to consider our relations with others. The Second Sex is read in the light of her existentialist humanism and ultimately faulted for having succumbed too uncritically to the masculine myth that it is men who are solely responsible for society's intellectual and cultural history.
Olympe de Gouges, though a well-known historical figure, has not been investigated as a philosopher until quite recently. Yet, many of her writings have philosophical import, whether they are written in the genre of the philosophical treatise, drama or political pamphlets. In the three main sections, the author gives an overview of some of her arguments, showing their originality and their relevance to debates contemporary to her and to us. In the introduction, the author addresses the question of genre and argue that Gouges should be read as a philosopher, as well as a playwright and political writer. In the conclusion, the author draws out the relevance of her work for contemporary philosophers.
This Element introduces the philosophy of Frances Power Cobbe (1822-1904), a very well-known moral theorist, advocate of animal welfare and women's rights, and critic of Darwinism and atheism in the Victorian era. After locating Cobbe's achievements within nineteenth-century British culture, this Element examines her duty-based moral theory of the 1850s and then her 1860s accounts of duties to animals, women's rights, and the mind and unconscious thought. From the 1870s, in critical response to Darwin's evolutionary ethics, Cobbe put greater moral weight on the emotions, especially sympathy. She now criticised atheism for undermining morality, emphasised women's duties to develop virtues of character, and recommended treating animals with sympathy and compassion. The Element links Cobbe's philosophical arguments to her campaigns for women's rights and against vivisection, brings in critical responses from her contemporaries, explains how she became omitted from the history of philosophy, and shows the lasting importance of her work.
The Pythagorean women are a group of female philosophers who were followers of Pythagoras and are credited with authoring a series of letters and treatises. In both stages of the history of Pythagoreanism – namely, the fifth-century Pythagorean societies and the Hellenistic Pythagorean writings – the Pythagorean woman is viewed as an intellectual, a thinker, a teacher, and a philosopher. The purpose of this Element is to answer the question: what kind of philosopher is the Pythagorean woman? The traditional picture of the Pythagorean female sage is that of an expert of the household. The author argues that the available evidence is more complex and conveys the idea of the Pythagorean woman as both an expert on the female sphere and a well-rounded thinker philosophising about the principles of the cosmos, human society, the immortality of the soul, numbers, and harmonics.
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