Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Simone Webb
Introduction: Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) is established in the popular imagination as the “first feminist,” but another philosopher provided a systematic analysis of women’s subjugated condition and a call for female education nearly a century before Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792). Mary Astell’s (1666-1731) A Serious Proposal to the Ladies, for the Advancement of their True and Greatest Interest by a Lover of Her Sex, Parts I and II (1694, 1697) is a philosophical text that argues that women are in an inferior moral condition compared to men, analyses the causes of this problem, and presents a two-part remedy.
Comment: This is a 1000-word introductory article to Mary Astell's feminist thought as expressed in her philosophical treatise A Serious Proposal to the Ladies. It would work well as pre-class reading, or a very basic introduction to the study of the history of feminist thought or women in early modern philosophy.
Webb, Simone. Mary Astell’s ‘A Serious Proposal to the Ladies’ (1694)
2018, 1000-Word Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology
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