Review of The Social and Political Philosophy of Mary Wollstonecraft

Sandrine Bergès and Alan Coffee (editors)
The Social and Political Philosophy of Mary Wollstonecraft
OXFORD: OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2016 (ISBN 978-0-19-876684-1)
Reviewed by Catherine Packham, 2018

These essays are best read as examples, often admirable, of what happens when philosophers read Wollstonecraft. They offer insights into intellectual influence, from Plato and Aristotle to Spinoza and beyond, and map Wollstonecraft’s place in traditions of thought, paying particular and detailed attention, in line with current trends in the field, to varieties of republicanism. Here the reader will find essays that offer a deeper understanding of Wollstonecraft’s thinking on several of her most important terms (among them: reason, passion, independence, rights, duty). Equally, a number of contributors offer extensions from Wollstonecraft’s thought to consider their implications for our contemporary moment: Alan Coffee generalizes from Wollstonecraft’s thinking on accommodating diversity in “plural populations” to consider what this might mean for the social pluralism and cultural diversity of modern democratic societies; Eileen Hunt Botting argues that Wollstonecraft “can reach beyond what Wollstonecraft intended” (9) to explore her writings as an “unprecedented theorist of the human rights of children” and of animal ethics.

 

Read the rest here.

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