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Sarah Scott (Manhattan College): Frances Power Cobbe
March 27, 2024 5:00 pm UK time


In this talk I introduce the moral philosophy of Frances Power Cobbe (1822–1904). A prolific author, Cobbe was instrumental in the passage of the Matrimonial Causes Act (1878) and founded the Victoria Street Society (1875; still existing as the National Anti-Vivisection Society) and the British Union Against Vivisection (1898; still existing as Cruelty Free International). An interlocutor of John Stuart Mill and Charles Darwin, Cobbe used her original interpretation of Kantian “intuitive morality” to shift public opinion on domestic abuse, divorce law, women’s right to higher education, and animal welfare, challenging the narrative that utilitarians held a monopoly on these issues.


Dr. Sarah Scott is Professor and Chair of Philosophy at Manhattan College. She conducts research in ethics and the history of philosophy, particularly interdisciplinary or marginalized figures. Her first major project was on Martin Buber: she is the editor of Martin Buber: Creaturely Life and Social Form (Indiana University Press, 2022) and has published several studies of Buber’s ethics, aestheticism, and forgotten influences. Her second major project is on forgotten women philosophers, especially those that challenge current notions of philosophic genre.

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