It’s good when the history of women philosophers gets an airing on general philosophy blogs! Go read Eric Schliesser’s excellent post on NewApps: Wollstonecraft’s Spinozism, and join in the debate!
Upon re-reading the Vindication in preparation for a class discussion, the second epigraph to this post, which we may loosely translate as Natura sive Deus, startled me. Could Wollstonecraft, who so often sounds like a Deist, be a kind of Spinozist? For, Wollstonecraft is quite clear that “propriety” is just “another word for convenience.” (106) So, the substitution of “Nature” by “God” is really an act of social expedience. Yet, could this really be so? For, so much of Wollstonecraft’s argument seems to rely on commitments that require commitment to immortal souls and, presumably, a judging God (and one can find other Deist commitments).
Eric’s posted about Wollstonecraft on NewApps before: go see his post on Wollstonecraft and Adam Smith.
The authors of this blog are getting together again, with some illustrious companions, to discuss the social and political philosophy of Wollstonecraft.
Here is the advert, below.
Please come and join in the discussion!
I’ve just received a message on this project from Philos-l:
REVISIONING CAMBRIDGE PLATONISM
The work of the Cambridge Platonists has been gravely neglected due to a combination of scholarly misapprehensions, a lack of accessible textbooks, and good critical editions of their major works. The central aim of this interdisciplinary project is to begin addressing this neglect by bringing together the major established UK and overseas researchers as well as early career academics who work on, or have a close interest in, Cambridge Platonism. This will advance research on this pivotal intellectual movement. These discussions will take place at a series of workshops at Clare College, Cambridge. Contributors will be drawn from the disciplines of Philosophy, Theology/Religious Studies, and English Literature. Topics covered by the project will include, but not be limited to, the formation and sources of Cambridge Platonism, their key philosophical and religious ideas, and their reception in the areas of (i) aesthetics; (ii) ethics; (iii) metaphysics (iv) early-modern women’s writing; (v) secularisation and the origins of atheism.
The project is spearheaded by Douglas Hedley (PI) and Sarah Hutton (Co-PI), and it is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
The women writers associated with the Cambridge Platonists were (as far as I know) Damaris Cudworth Masham, Anne Conway, Mary Astell, and Catherine Trotter Cockburn. Of these, only Anne Conway has had her texts published in an accessible format: in the Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy series.
One of the two people heading the group, Sarah Hutton, is known for her work on early modern women writers, especially Anne Conway. Hopefully, her commitment to working on women philosophers, and publishing their work will act on the project, and we’ll see more books by the women Cambridge Platonists in the not-too-distant future. Continue reading
This proposal sounds like it should be of interest to people working on women philosophers of the Early Modern period. Lewis Powell over at The Mod Squad thinks there should be a society for early modern philosophy, along side the big name societies, like the Kant or Hume societies. One merit of such a society is that it would create a forum for people working on not-so-big names from that period. This would of course affect people working on women philosophers. As Lewis notes:
I could be wrong, but it seems like Hume scholars just have a vastly greater number of opportunities to present work, get feedback, and interact with other scholars compared to, say, Locke scholars. And that’s talking about Locke, who is thought of as a central figure in the early modern period; this is even more pronounced for someone working on figures like Malebranche, Cavendish, Astell, and so on.
So if you’re interested, please go over to his post on the Mod Squad and leave a comment.
Just saw this on Philos-l:
98:2 April 2015
The History of Women’s Ideas
Deadline for Submissions: April 30, 2014
Advisory Editors: Karen Green <Karen.Green@monash.edu>, Ruth Hagengruber <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The history of Western philosophy has been almost exclusively a history of the ideas of men. Occasionally women thinkers have played a minor role, often as adjuncts to men, whose key works make up the visible stepping stones taking us from the late Mediaeval mind set of Dante, through the Early Modern revolution of Montaigne, Descartes, Locke and Leibniz, to the Enlightenment of Voltaire, Kant and beyond. Recently the works of some of these adjuncts—such as Christine de Pizan, who disseminated Dante in France, Marie de Gournay, Montaigne’s editor, Elizabeth of Bohemia, Descartes’s correspondent, Damaris Masham, Locke’s friend, or Emilie du Châtelet, lover of Voltaire, to name but a few—have begun to emerge from the shadows. In this issue of The Monist we invite papers treating of the philosophical works of female participants in the intellectual history of the West. We also invite contributions addressing the broader question: do the contributions of women thinkers such as those listed above allow us to distinguish what we might think of as a history of women’s ideas?