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Berges, Sandrine. On the Outskirts of the Canon: The Myth of the Lone Female Philosopher, and What to Do about It
2015, Metaphilosophy, 46(3), pp.380-397.
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Added by: Benny Goldberg
Abstract: Women philosophers of the past, because they tended not to engage with each other much, are often perceived as isolated from ongoing philosophical dialogues. This has led - directly and indirectly - to their exclusion from courses in the history of philosophy. This article explores three ways in which we could solve this problem. The first is to create a course in early modern philosophy that focuses solely or mostly on female philosophers, using conceptual and thematic ties such as a concern for education and a focus on ethics and politics. The second is to introduce women authors as dialoguing with the usual canonical suspects: Cavendish with Hobbes, Elisabeth of Bohemia with Descartes, Masham and Astell with Locke, Conway with Leibniz, and so on. The article argues that both methods have significant shortcomings, and it suggests a third, consisting in widening the traditional approach to structuring courses in early modern philosophy.

Comment: A good paper for any classes on how to teach philosophy, on early modern philosophy, the philosophy of history, or feminism.

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Boyle, Deborah. Expanding the Canon of Scottish Philosophy: The Case for Adding Lady Mary Shepherd
2017, Journal of Scottish Philosophy, 15(3), pp.275-293.
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Added by: Benny Goldberg
Abstract: Lady Mary Shepherd (1777-1847) argued for distinctive accounts of causation, perception, and knowledge of an external world and God. However, her work, engaging with Berkeley and Hume but written after Kant, does not fit the standard periodisation of early modern philosophy presupposed by many philosophy courses, textbooks, and conferences. This paper argues that Shepherd should be added to the canon as a Scottish philosopher. The practical reason for doing so is that it would give Shepherd a disciplinary home, opening up additional possibilities for research and teaching. The philosophical reason is that her views share certain features characteristic of canonical Scottish philosophers.

Comment: A good paper for any classes on how to teach philosophy, on early modern philosophy, the philosophy of history, or feminism

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Buxton, Rebecca, Whiting, Lisa, (eds.). The Philosopher Queens: The Lives and Legacies of Philosophy’s Unsung Women
2020, Unbound
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Added by: Rebecca Buxton
Abstract: For all the young women and girls sitting in philosophy class wondering where the women are, this is the book for you. This collection of 21 chapters, each on a prominent woman in philosophy, looks at the impact that women have had on the field throughout history. From Hypatia to Angela Davis, The Philosopher Queens will be a guide to these badass women and how their amazing ideas have changed the world. This book is written both for newcomers to philosophy, as well as all those professors who know that they could still learn a thing or two. This book is also for those many people who have told us that there are no great women philosophers. Please pledge, read this book and then feel free to get back to us.

Comment: [This is a stub entry. Please add your comments to help us expand it]

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De Pizan, Christine. The Book of the City of Ladies
1999, Penguin Classics; New Ed edition
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Kathleen Gill (kagill@stcloudstate.edu)
Publisher's Note: Christine de Pizan (c.1364-1430) was France's first professional woman of letters. Her pioneering Book of the City of Ladies begins when, feeling frustrated and miserable after reading a male writer's tirade against women, Christine has a dreamlike vision where three virtues - Reason, Rectitude and Justice - appear to correct this view. They instruct her to build an allegorical city in which womankind can be defended against slander, its walls and towers constructed from examples of female achievement both from her own day and the past: ranging from warriors, inventors and scholars to prophetesses, artists and saints. Christine de Pizan's spirited defence of her sex was unique for its direct confrontation of the misogyny of her day, and offers a telling insight into the position of women in medieval culture.THE CITY OF LADIES provides positive images of women, ranging from warriors and inventors, scholars to prophetesses, and artists to saints. The book also offers a fascinating insight into the debates and controversies about the position of women in medieval culture.

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Griffioen, Amber, Mohammad Sadegh Zahedi. Medieval Christian and Islamic Mysticism and the Problem of a “Mystical Ethics”
2019, In: T. Williams, ed. 2019. Cambridge Companion to Medieval Ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Ch. 13.
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Added by: Francesca Bruno
Abstract: In this chapter, we examine a few potential problems when inquiring into the ethics of medieval Christian and Islamic mystical traditions: First, there are terminological and methodological worries about defining mysticism and doing comparative philosophy in general. Second, assuming that the Divine represents the highest Good in such traditions, and given the apophaticism on the part of many mystics in both religions, there is a question of whether or not such traditions can provide a coherent theory of value. Finally, the antinomian tendencies and emphasis on passivity of some mystics might lead one to wonder whether their prescriptive exhortations can constitute a coherent theory of right action. We tackle each of these concerns in turn and discuss how they might be addressed, in an attempt to show how medieval mysticism, as a fundamentally practical enterprise, deserves more attention from practical and moral philosophy than it has thus far received.

Comment: This paper would work well as a secondary/overview reading in a course on medieval ethics, with a section on mysticism, focusing on mystic women or comparing different religious traditions (such as Christian and Islamic). For example, the course could focus on the topics of virtue and happiness, including the views of St. Augustine, Aquinas, Avicenna, Maimonides, and women mystics (such as Mechthild of Magderburg).

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Haddock-Seigfried, Charlene. Pragmatism and Feminism: Reweaving the Social Fabric
1996, University of Chicago Press
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, Contributed by: Quentin Pharr
Publisher’s Note: Though many pioneering feminists were deeply influenced by American pragmatism, their contemporary followers have generally ignored that tradition because of its marginalization by a philosophical mainstream intent on neutral analyses devoid of subjectivity. In this revealing work, Charlene Haddock Seigfried effectively reunites two major social and philosophical movements, arguing that pragmatism, because of its focus on the emancipatory potential of everyday experiences, offers feminism its most viable and powerful philosophical foundation. With careful attention to their interwoven histories and contemporary concerns, Pragmatism and Feminism effectively invigorates both traditions, opening them to new interpretations and appropriations and asserting their timely philosophical relevance. This foundational work in feminist theory simultaneously invites and guides future scholarship in an area of rapidly emerging significance.

Comment: This text is the perfect introduction to the history of how feminism influenced pragmatism, and vice versa, and how pragmatism can still offer a viable philosophical foundation for feminism. So, for students who are interested in both topics, they would do well to read this text. It offers a number of great quotations from early female and African-American proponents of pragmatism, and it also outlines a rich feminist perspective, grounded in a pragmatic outlook, on how to do philosophy and think about society in general.

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Haslanger, Sally. Changing the Ideology and Culture of Philosophy: Not by Reason (Alone)
2007, Hypatia, 23 (2): 210–23.
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Added by: Rebecca Buxton
Abstract: There is a deep well of rage inside of me. Rage about how I as an individual have been treated in philosophy; rage about how others I know have been treated; and rage about the conditions that I'm sure affect many women and minorities in philosophy, and have caused many others to leave. Most of the time I suppress this rage and keep it sealed away. Until I came to MIT in 1998, I was in a constant dialogue with myself about whether to quit philosophy, even give up tenure, to do something else. In spite of my deep love for philosophy, it just didn't seem worth it. And I am one of the very lucky ones, one of the ones who has been successful by the dominant standards of the profession. Whatever the numbers say about women and minorities in philosophy, numbers don't begin to tell the story. Things may be getting better in some contexts, but they are far from acceptable.

Comment: In her 2007 paper, Haslanger sets out the situation of women in philosophy with a particular focus on instutional academic settings. This paper discusses how women are excluded from philosophy (both contemporary and historical) as well as thinking about disciplnary boundaries: why is it that feminist philosophy is not often thought of as 'real' philosophy?

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Hutchings, Kimberley, Owens, Patricia. Women Thinkers and the Canon of International Thought: Recovery, Rejection, and Reconstitution
2021, American Political Science Review, 115 (2): 347–59.
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Added by: Rebecca Buxton
Abstract: Canons of intellectual “greats” anchor the history and scope of academic disciplines. Within international relations (IR), such a canon emerged in the mid-twentieth century and is almost entirely male. Why are women thinkers absent from IR’s canon? We show that it is not due to a lack of international thought, or that this thought fell outside established IR theories. Rather it is due to the gendered and racialized selection and reception of work that is deemed to be canonical. In contrast, we show what can be gained by reclaiming women’s international thought through analyses of three intellectuals whose work was authoritative and influential in its own time or today. Our findings question several of the basic premises underpinning IR’s existing canon and suggest the need for a new research agenda on women international thinkers as part of a fundamental rethinking of the history and scope of the discipline.

Comment: In this paper, Hutchings and Owens put forward a new research agenda for women's international thought. This can help us to think though how new canon's might be created or transformed. The paper therefore begins to project of bringing women back into intellectual history.

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Hutchison, Katrina, Fiona Jenkins (eds.). Women in Philosophy: What Needs to Change?
2013, Oxford University Press USA.
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Added by: Sara Peppe
Publisher's Note: Despite its place in the humanities, the career prospects and numbers of women in philosophy much more closely resemble those found in the sciences and engineering. This book collects a series of critical essays by female philosophers pursuing the question of why philosophy continues to be inhospitable to women and what can be done to change it. By examining the social and institutional conditions of contemporary academic philosophy in the Anglophone world as well as its methods, culture, and characteristic commitments, the volume provides a case study in interpretation of one academic discipline in which women's progress seems to have stalled since initial gains made in the 1980s. Some contributors make use of concepts developed in other contexts to explain women's under-representation, including the effects of unconscious biases, stereotype threat, and micro-inequities. Other chapters draw on the resources of feminist philosophy to challenge everyday understandings of time, communication, authority and merit, as these shape effective but often unrecognized forms of discrimination and exclusion. Often it is assumed that women need to change to fit existing institutions. This book instead offers concrete reflections on the way in which philosophy needs to change, in order to accommodate and benefit from the important contribution women's full participation makes to the discipline.

Comment: This book offers a detailed analysis about how women's role in philosophy is perceived and all the viable ways to chage the status quo. This can be used for undergraduate women studies courses or feminist philosophy courses.

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Llanera, Tracy. The Brown Babe’s Burden
2019, Hypatia, 34 (2): 374–83.
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Added by: Rebecca Buxton
Abstract: In this paper Tracy Llanera relects on her experience as a non-white academic in an Australian university, recounting personal experiences. Many of these highlight the importance of an intersectional approach to the inclusion of women in philosophy. Llanera highlights the ongoing importance of mentorship and representation concluding that there is much more work to be done.

Comment: Tracy Llanera discusses her personal experience as a non-white woman in philosophy. There is much to learn from this piece, most importantly the need for an intersectional approach. Focusing on the personal experience of women (as we also see in other pieces) is necessary to understand the whole picture of contemporary exclusion.

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Oluwole, Sophie. Socrates and Ọ̀rúnmìlà: Two Patron Saints of Classical Philosophy
2014, Ark Publishers.
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Added by: Rebecca Buxton
Publisher’s Note: Oluwole's teachings and works are generally attributed to the Yoruba school of philosophical thought, which was ingrained in the cultural and religious beliefs (Ifá) of the various regions of Yorubaland. According to Oluwole, this branch of philosophy predates the Western tradition, as the ancient African philosopher Orunmila predates Socrates by her estimate. These two thinkers, representing the values of the African and Western traditions, are two of Oluwole's biggest influences, and she compares the two in her book Socrates and Orunmila.

Comment: This book compares Socrates to Ọ̀rúnmìlà, an 'Orisha' or an important sprit in Yoruba. Both Socrates and Orunmila undertook their philosophy orally and passed their teachings and thinking onto students. Oluwole therefore challenges the western assumption that African philosophy does not have a long-standing on deep tradition.

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Tyson, Sarah. Where Are the Women? Why Expanding the Archive Makes Philosophy Better
2018, Columbia University Press.
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Added by: Rebecca Buxton
Publisher’s Note: Philosophy has not just excluded women. It has also been shaped by the exclusion of women. As the field grapples with the reality that sexism is a central problem not just for the demographics of the field but also for how philosophy is practiced, many philosophers have begun to rethink the canon. Yet attempts to broaden European and Anglophone philosophy to include more women in the discipline’s history or to acknowledge alternative traditions will not suffice as long as exclusionary norms remain in place. In Where Are the Women?, Sarah Tyson makes a powerful case for how redressing women’s exclusion can make philosophy better. She argues that engagements with historical thinkers typically afforded little authority can transform the field, outlining strategies based on the work of three influential theorists: Genevieve Lloyd, Luce Irigaray, and Michèle Le Doeuff. Following from the possibilities they open up, at once literary, linguistic, psychological, and political, Tyson reclaims two passionate nineteenth-century texts―the Declaration of Sentiments from the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention and Sojourner Truth’s speech at the 1851 Akron, Ohio, Women’s Convention―showing how the demands for equality, rights, and recognition sought in the early women’s movement still pose quandaries for contemporary philosophy, feminism, and politics. Where Are the Women? challenges us to confront the reality that women’s exclusion from philosophy has been an ongoing project and to become more critical both of how we see existing injustices and of how we address them.

Comment: In her book, Tyson discusses why it is valuable recognise the contributions of women philosophers, arguing that their lost contributions have the potential to transform the current field. This opens up interesting questions about the value of representation and how we ought to approach campaigning for the inclusion of women.

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Waithe, Mary Ellen. Sex, Lies, and Bigotry: The Canon of Philosophy
2020, In Sigridur Thorgeirsdottir and Ruth Edith Hagengruber (eds.), Methodological Reflections on Women’s Contribution and Influence in the History of Philosophy, Springer International Publishing.
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Added by: Rebecca Buxton
Abstract: In “Sex, Lies, and Bigotry: The Canon of Philosophy” I explore several questions: What does it mean for our understanding of the history of philosophy that women philosophers have been left out and are now being retrieved? What kind of a methodology of the history of philosophy does the recovery of women philosophers imply? Whether and how excluded women philosophers have been included in philosophy? Whether and how feminist philosophy and the history of women philosophers are related? I also explore the questions “Are there any themes or arguments that are common to many women philosophers?” and “Does inclusion of women in the canon require a reconfiguration of philosophical inquiry?” I argue that it is either ineptness or simple bigotry that led most historians of philosophy to intentionally omit women’s contributions from their histories and that such failure replicated itself in the university curricula of recent centuries and can be remedied by suspending for the next two centuries the teaching of men’s contributions to the discipline and teaching works by women only. As an alternative to this drastic and undoubtedly unpopular solution, I propose expanding the length and number of courses in the philosophy curriculum to include discussion of women’s contributions.

Comment: In this scathing chapter, Waithe argues that people who have left women out of the history of philosophy are either inempt of bigoted. Rather than being an accidental fact of women's general exclusion, she argues that women philosophers have been ignored intentionally.

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