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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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Gatens, Moira. The Art and Philosophy of George Eliot
2009, Philosophy and Literature 33(1): 73-90.
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Added by: Alison Stone
Abstract: Much remains to be said about Eliot as a philosopher. I argue that her novels should be understood as attempts to practice philosophy in an alternative key. Her decision to write novels rather than conventional philosophy reflects her desire to actively engage the imaginative and affective, as well as the cognitive, powers of her readers. On her view the imagination grounds our disposition to feel sympathy for our fellow human beings. It is this disposition and its potential for refinement as moral knowledge that she sought to realize in her novels. An appreciation of her philosophical commitments is necessary in order to understand her efforts to construct an immanent ground for moral life. The parts played by the imagination, reason and emotion in the attainment of moral knowledge were of prime concern to both Spinoza and Feuerbach. Each philosopher offered an account of the relations between these capacities and argued for their reformation. This reformative task is one that Eliot attempted in her novels. The radical holism of Spinoza and Feuerbach resonates throughout her work. She had a deep suspicion of dualistic philosophies that separate reason and imagination. Like Spinoza and Feuerbach, she understood these ruptures within our capacities, indeed within our very being, to derive in large part from religion, especially Christianity. The reform of our habitual ways of understanding the world must therefore begin with critical reflection on religion.

Comment: An article that explains the philosophical standpoint underlying George Eliot's fiction and argues that her fiction and her philosophical thinking need to be regarded as a whole. Could be used in a course covering nineteenth-century philosophy, either as supplementary reading or as a primary reading perhaps paired with a piece of writing by Eliot.

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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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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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