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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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Detlefsen, Karen, , . Reason and Freedom: Margaret Cavendish on the order and disorder of nature
2007, Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 89(2): 157-191.
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Added by: Benjamin Goldberg, Contributed by:

Abstract: According to Margaret Cavendish the entire natural world is essentially rational such that everything thinks in some way or another. In this paper, I examine why Cavendish would believe that the natural world is ubiquitously rational, arguing against the usual account, which holds that she does so in order to account for the orderly production of very complex phenomena (e.g. living beings) given the limits of the mechanical philosophy. Rather, I argue, she attributes ubiquitous rationality to the natural world in order to ground a theory of the ubiquitous freedom of nature, which in turn accounts for both the world’s orderly and disorderly behavior.

Comment: This article examines Cavendish’s concept of order and disorder in nature, and will prove a useful complement to advanced courses in early modern thought. Usefully paired with Cavendish’s works, but also those of Descartes, Malebranche, etc.

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Misak, Cheryl, , . The American Pragmatists (The Oxford History of Philosophy)
2013, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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Added by: Jamie Collin, Contributed by:

Publisher’s Note: Cheryl Misak presents a history of the great American philosophical tradition of pragmatism, from its inception in the Metaphysical Club of the 1870s to the present day. She identifies two dominant lines of thought in the tradition: the first begins with Charles S. Peirce and Chauncey Wright and continues through to Lewis, Quine, and Sellars; the other begins with William James and continues through to Dewey and Rorty. This ambitious new account identifies the connections between traditional American pragmatism and twentieth-century Anglo-American philosophy, and links pragmatism to major positions in the recent history of philosophy, such as logical empiricism. Misak argues that the most defensible version of pragmatism must be seen and recovered as an important part of the analytic tradition.

Comment: A good primary reading for courses on pragmatism or the history of American philosophy. Useful for both undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

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O’Neill, Onora, , . Constructions of Reason: Explorations of Kant’s Practical Philosophy
1989, Cambridge University Press.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by:

Publisher’s Note: Two centuries after they were published, Kant’s ethical writings are as much admired and imitated as they have ever been, yet serious and long-standing accusations of internal incoherence remain unresolved. Onora O’Neill traces the alleged incoherences to attempts to assimilate Kant’s ethical writings to modern conceptions of rationality, action and rights. When the temptation to assimilate is resisted, a strikingly different and more cohesive account of reason and morality emerges. Kant offers a “constructivist” vindication of reason and a moral vision in which obligations are prior to rights and in which justice and virtue are linked. O’Neill begins by reconsidering Kant’s conceptions of philosophical method, reason, freedom, autonomy and action. She then moves on to the more familiar terrain of interpretation of the Categorical Imperative, while in the last section she emphasizes differences between Kant’s ethics and recent “Kantian” ethics, including the work of John Rawls and other contemporary liberal political philosophers

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