About this topic
Summary

Feminist history of philosophy is a reclamation and reformation project focused on the history of western philosophy.  It has several facets.  One facet is a critical analysis of the misogyny and sexism in individual canonical philosophers.  Some feminist historians of philosophy extend their critique to the western philosophical tradition as a whole.  A second facet focuses on restoring women philosophers and their works to the historical record.  Included in this project is the elevation of important women philosophers to the canon and to the philosophical conversation of their period.  A third aspect of feminist history of philosophy includes reflections on what one is doing in doing the history of philosophy as a feminist; how to go about making the philosophical tradition more inclusive of women and other excluded voices; and whether or not—and in what way-- the history of philosophy can be a resource for feminist theory, or for emancipatory theoretical projects more broadly.

Key works

Two pioneering books in feminist history of philosophy, which contain overviews of the western philosophical tradition, are Lloyd 1993 and Okin 1980.   The landmark Re-Reading the Canon series has over thirty volumes of feminist interpretations of historical and canonical philosophers, beginning with feminist interpretations of Plato. Tuana 1994 Works that discuss problems of method in the history of philosophy include Lloyd 2002 and Alanen & Witt 2004.  The continental feminist perspective(s) on the history of philosophy is represented by Irigaray & Kuykendall 1989Le Dœuff 1991 and Deutscher 1997.  

Introductions

The encyclopedia article Witt 2008 provides an introduction and a bibliography for feminist history of philosophy.    

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  1. Ruth Abbey (2001). Book Review: Jo Ellen Jacobs Assistant Edited by Paula Harms Payne. The Complete Works of Harriet Taylor Mill. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998. [REVIEW] Hypatia 16 (1):94-98.
  2. Azizah Al-Hibri (2013). Remembering Hypatia's Birth: It Took a Village. Hypatia 28 (2):399-403.
  3. Lilli Alanen & Charlotte Witt (eds.) (2004). Feminist Reflections on the History of Philosophy. Kluwer Academic Publishers.
    Feminist work in the history of philosophy has come of age as an innovative field in the history of philosophy. This volume marks that accomplishment with original essays by leading feminist scholars who ask basic questions: What is distinctive of feminist work in the history of philosophy? Is there a method that is distinctive of feminist historical work? How can women philosophers be meaningfully included in the history of the discipline? Who counts as a philosopher? This collection is a unique (...)
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  4. Marije Altorf (2011). After Cursing the Library: Iris Murdoch and the (In)Visibility of Women in Philosophy. Hypatia 26 (2):384-402.
    This article offers a critical reading of three major biographies of the British novelist and philosopher Iris Murdoch. It considers in particular how a limited concern for gender issues has hampered their portrayals of Murdoch as a creator of images and ideas. The biographies are then contrasted to a biographical sketch constructed from Murdoch's philosophical writing. The assessment of the biographies is set against the larger background of the relation between women and philosophy. In doing so, the paper offers a (...)
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  5. Rani Lill Anjum & Kjersti Fjørtoft (1999). David Hume. In Linda Rustad & Hilde Bondevik (eds.), Kjønnsperspektiver i filosofihistorien. Pax Forlag.
  6. Julia Annas (1980). Women in Western Political Thought By Susan Moller Okin Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980, 371 Pp., £13.60, £2.50 Paper. [REVIEW] Philosophy 55 (214):564-.
  7. Sandrine Berges (2011). Why Women Hug Their Chains: Wollstonecraft and Adaptive Preferences. Utilitas (1):72-87.
    In a recent article, Amartya Sen writes that one important influence on his theory of adaptive preferences is Wollstonecraft's account of how some women, though clearly oppressed, are apparently satisfied with their lot. Wollstonecraft's arguments have received little attention so far from contemporary political philosophers, and one might be tempted to dismiss Sen's acknowledgment as a form of gallantry. That would be wrong. Wollstonecraft does have a lot of interest to say on the topic of why her contemporaries appeared to (...)
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  8. Emanuela Bianchi (2012). The Interruptive Feminine: Aleatory Time and Feminist Politics. In Henriette Gunkel, Chrysanthi Nigianni & Fanny Söderbäck (eds.), Undutiful Daughters: New Directions in Feminist Thought and Practice. Palgrave Macmillan.
  9. Emanuela Bianchi (2006). Receptacle/. Hypatia 21 (4):124 - 146.
    : This essay undertakes a reexamination of the notion of the receptacle/chōra in Plato's Timaeus, asking what its value may be to feminists seeking to understand the topology of the feminine in Western philosophy. As the source of cosmic motion as well as a restless figurality, labile and polyvocal, the receptacle/chōra offers a fecund zone of destabilization that allows for an immanent critique of ancient metaphysics. Engaging with Derridean, Irigarayan, and Kristevan analyses, Bianchi explores whether receptacle/chōra can exceed its reduction (...)
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  10. Emanuela Bianchi (2006). Material Vicissitudes and Technical Wonders: The Ambiguous Figure of Automaton in Aristotle's Metaphysics of Sexual Difference. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy 11 (1):109-139.
    In Aristotle’s physics and biology, matter’s capacity for spontaneous, opaque, chance deviation is named by automaton and marked with a feminine sign, while at the same time these mysterious motions are articulated, rendered knowable and predictable via the figure of ta automata, the automatic puppets. This paper traces how automaton functions in the Aristotelian text as a symptomatic crossing-point, an uncanny and chiasmatic figure in which materiality and logos, phusis, and technē, death and life, masculine and feminine, are intertwined and (...)
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  11. Jacqueline Broad (2002). Women Philosophers of the Seventeenth Century. Cambridge University Press.
    In this rich and detailed study of early modern women's thought, Jacqueline Broad explores the complexity of women's responses to Cartesian philosophy and its intellectual legacy in England and Europe. She examines the work of thinkers such as Mary Astell, Elisabeth of Bohemia, Margaret Cavendish, Anne Conway and Damaris Masham, who were active participants in the intellectual life of their time and were also the respected colleagues of philosophers such as Descartes, Leibniz and Locke. She also illuminates the continuities between (...)
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  12. Peter J. Burgard (ed.) (1994). Nietzsche and the Feminine. University Press of Virginia.
    Now, in an innovative and wide-ranging volume, Peter Burgard has brought together new studies by outstanding scholars in philosophy, feminism, comparative ...
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  13. Judith Butler (1992). Response to Bordo's "Feminist Skepticism and the 'Maleness' of Philosophy&Quot;. Hypatia 7 (3):162 - 165.
    Bordo argues that the "theoretics of heterogeneity" taken too far prevents us from being able make generalizations or broadly conceptual statements about women. I argue that the political efficacy of feminism does not depend on the capacity to speak from the perspective of "women" and that the insistence on the heterogeneity of the category of women does not imply an opposition to abstraction but rather moves abstract thinking in a self-critical and democratizing direction.
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  14. Angela Curran (1998). Feminism and the Narrative Structures of Aristotle’s Poetics. In Cynthia Freeland (ed.), Re-Reading the Canon: Feminist Readings on Aristotle. Penn State University Press.
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  15. John Darling (1986). Are Women Good Enough? Plato's Feminism Re-Examined. Journal of Philosophy of Education 20 (1):123–128.
  16. Françoise Dastur, Res publica & Penelopetr Deutscher (2000). Françoise Dastur by Herself. Hypatia 15 (4):174-177.
    : Françoise Dastur describes her efforts to practice history of philosophy in a (paradoxically) non-historical fashion. She discusses her concept of the historical, and argues that the only true way to be of one's time is to be against one's time.
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  17. Monique David-Ménard (2000). Kant's "An Essay on the Maladies of the Mind" and Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and the Sublime. Hypatia 15 (4):82 - 98.
    David-Ménard examines the problem of the genesis of Kant's moral philosophy. The separation between Kantian practical reason and the inclinations of sense which it regulates is shown by the author to originate in Kant's attempt to regulate his own tendency to hypochondria. Her argument links the themes from two of Kant's precritical works which attest to this tendency-"An Essay on the Maladies of the Mind" and Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and the Sublime-to the final form of the (...)
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  18. Monique David-Ménard & Alison Ross (2000). Kant's "An Essay on the Maladies of the Mind" and Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and the Sublime. Hypatia 15 (4):82 - 98.
    David-Ménard examines the problem of the genesis of Kant's moral philosophy. The separation between Kantian practical reason and the inclinations of sense which it regulates is shown by the author to originate in Kant's attempt to regulate his own tendency to hypochondria. Her argument links the themes from two of Kant's pre-critical works which attest to this tendency--"An Essay on the Maladies of the Mind" and Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and the Sublime--to the final form of the (...)
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  19. Penelope Deutscher (2006). When Feminism is "High" and Ignorance is "Low": Harriet Taylor Mill on the Progress of the Species. Hypatia 21 (3):136-150.
    : This essay considers the important role attributed to education in the writings of nineteenth-century feminist Harriet Taylor Mill. Taylor Mill connected ignorance to inequality between the sexes. She called up the specter of regression into lowness and ignorance when she associated feminism with progress. As she stressed the importance of education, she constructed an 'other' to feminism, variously associated with lowness, poverty, and the primitive. She made a case for the advantages of civilization (education, enfranchisement, equality) to be opened (...)
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  20. Penelope Deutscher (2000). "Imperfect Discretion": Interventions Into the History of Philosophy by Twentieth-Century French Women Philosophers. Hypatia 15 (2):160-180.
    : How might we locate originality as emerging from within the "discrete" work of commentary? Because many women have engaged with philosophy in forms (including commentary) that preclude their work from being seen as properly "original," this question is a feminist issue. Via the work of selected contemporary French women philosophers, the author shows how commentary can reconfigure the philosophical tradition in innovative ways, as well as in ways that change what counts as philosophical innovation.
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  21. Jane Duran (2006). Eight Women Philosophers: Theory, Politics, and Feminism. University of Illinois Press.
    Overviews -- Hildegard of Bingen -- Anne Conway -- Mary Astell -- Mary Wollstonecraft -- Harriet Taylor Mill -- Edith Stein -- Simone Weil -- Simone de Beauvoir -- Conclusions.
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  22. Therese Boos Dykeman (ed.) (1999). The Neglected Canon: Nine Women Philosophers: First to the Twentieth Century. Kluwer Academic.
    The outstanding points of The Neglected Canon are that it provides a multicultural anthology of women philosophers: Chinese, European, North and Central American, that it provides a history of women philosophers through selected works from the first century to the beginning of the twentieth century, and that it provides unusual comprehensiveness in its bibliographies, biographies, and introductions to the works. In these three points it offers a more complete text than any yet on the market in this field. Designed for (...)
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  23. Michèle Le Dœuff & Penelope Deutscher (2000). Feminism Is Back in France: Or Is It? Hypatia 15 (4):243 - 255.
    Michèle Le Dœuff discusses the revival of feminism in France, including the phenomenon of state-sponsored feminism, such as government support for "parity": equal numbers of women and men in government. Le Dœuff analyzes the strategically patchy application of this revival and remains wary about it. Turning to the work of seventeenth-century philosopher Gabrielle Suchon, Le Dœuff considers her concepts of freedom, servitude, and active citizenship, which may well, she argues, have influenced Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Le Dœuff favorably juxtaposes the active citizenship (...)
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  24. Lauren Freeman (2011). The Center Must Not Hold: White Women Philosophers on the Whiteness of Philosophy. Edited by George Yancy. Hypatia 26 (2):438-445.
  25. Catherine Villanueva Gardner (2000). Rediscovering Women Philosophers: Philosophical Genre and the Boundaries of Philosophy. Westview.
    This book examines the philosophical foremothers of women’s philosophy and explores what their work may have to offer modern theorizing in feminist ethics. Through such writers as Catharine Macaulay, Mary Wollstonecraft, and George Eliot, Gardner interprets a varied selection of moral philosophers in an attempt both to contribute to our understanding of their work, and perhaps even to encourage other philosophers to interpretive work of their own. She also looks into the reasons such forms as novels, letters, and poetry have (...)
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  26. Moira Gatens (1991). Feminism and Philosophy: Perspectives on Difference and Equality. Indiana University Press.
  27. Joan Gibson (2006). The Logic of Chastity: Women, Sex, and the History of Philosophy in the Early Modern Period. Hypatia 21 (4):1-19.
    : Before women could become visible as philosophers, they had first to become visible as rational autonomous thinkers. A social and ethical position holding that chastity was the most important virtue for women, and that rationality and chastity were incompatible, was a significant impediment to accepting women's capacity for philosophical thought. Thus one of the first tasks for women was to confront this belief and argue for their rationality in the face of a self-referential dilemma.
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  28. Karen Green (1996). Rousseau's Women. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 4 (1):87 – 109.
    Abstract Feminists have interpreted Rousseau's attitudes to women as characteristic of a patriarchal ideology in which passion, nature and love are associated with the feminine and repressed in favour of masculine reason, culture and justice. Yet this reading does not cohere with Rousseau's adulation of nature, nor with the repression of writing and culture in favour of natural speech which Derrida finds in his texts. This paper uses Rousseau's accounts of his personal experiences to resolve this conflict and to develop (...)
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  29. Karen Green (1993). Reason and Feeling: Resisting the Dichotomy. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 71 (4):385 – 399.
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  30. Karen Green & John Bigelow (1998). Does Science Persecute Women? The Case of the 16th–17th Century Witch-Hunts. Philosophy 73 (2):195-217.
    I. Logic, rationality and ideology Herbert Marcuse once claimed that the ‘“rational” is a mode of thought and action which is geared to reduce ignorance, destruction, brutality, and oppression.’ He echoed a widespread folk belief that a world in which people were rational would be a better world. This could be taken as an optimistic empirical conjecture: if people were more rational then probably the world would be a better place (a trust that ‘virtue will be rewarded’, so to speak). (...)
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  31. Karen Green & Nicholas Roffey (2010). Women, Hegel, and Recognition in The Second Sex. Hypatia 25 (2):376 - 393.
    This paper develops a new account of Beauvoir's "Hegelianism" and argues that the strand of contemporary interpretation of Beauvoir that seeks to represent her thought in isolation from that of Jean-Paul Sartre constitutes a betrayal of the philosophy of recognition that she denves from Hegel. It underscores the extent to which Beauvoir influenced Sartre's Being and Nothingness and shows that Sartre and Beauvoir both adapted Hegel's ideas and agreed in rejecting his optimism.
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  32. Jean Grimshaw (1986). Feminist Philosophers: Women's Perspectives on Philosophical Traditions. Wheatsheaf Books.
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  33. Lori Gruen & Alison Wylie (2010). Feminist Legacies/Feminist Futures: 25th Anniversary Special Issue—Editors' Introduction. Hypatia 25 (4):725-732.
  34. Susan Haack (1979). Feminism and Philosophy Edited by M. Vetterling-Braggin, F. A. Elliston and J. English Littlefield, Adams, 1977, 452 Pp., $7.95. [REVIEW] Philosophy 54 (208):242-.
  35. Pamela Hall (1991). Feminism and the Canon. Journal of Philosophy 88 (10):568-569.
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  36. Lena Halldenius (2009). Historical Dictionary of Feminist Philosophy. British Journal for the History of Philosophy 17 (2):453-456.
    "The introduction of Historical Dictionary of Feminist Philosophy provides a useful overview of the subject, while the chronology runs the gamut from ancient Greek to contemporary feminist philosophers. Dictionary entries cover both the central figures and ideas from the historical tradition of philosophy, as well as ideas and theories from contemporary feminist philosophy, such as epistemology and topics like abortion and sexuality. In addition to including entries on Aristotle, Plato, Descartes, Kant, Wollstonecraft, Beauvoir, and Daly, relevant aspects of other fields (...)
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  37. Deborah K. Heikes (2010/2011). Rationality and Feminist Philosophy. Continuum.
    Exploring the history of the concept of 'rationality', Deborah K. Hakes argues that feminism should seek to develop a virtue theory of rationality.
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  38. Devin Henry (2007). How Sexist is Aristotle's Developmantal Biology? Phronesis 52 (3):251-69.
    The aim of this paper is to evaluate the level of gender bias in Aristotle’s Generation of Animals while exercising due care in the analysis of its arguments. I argue that while the GA theory is clearly sexist, the traditional interpretation fails to diagnose the problem correctly. The traditional interpretation focuses on three main sources of evidence: (1) Aristotle’s claim that the female is, as it were, a “disabled” (πεπηρωμένον) male; (2) the claim at GA IV.3, 767b6-8 that females are (...)
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  39. Leslie A. Howe (1994). Kierkegaard and the Feminine Self. Hypatia 9 (4):131-157.
    Kierkegaard shows two contrary attitudes to woman and the feminine: misogyny and celebration. The Kierkegaardian structure of selfhood, because combined with a hierarchical assumption about the relative value of certain human characteristics, and their identification as male or female, argues that woman is a lesser self. Consequently, the claim that the Kierkegaardian ideal of selfhood is androgynist is rejected, though it is the latter assumptions alone that force this conclusion.
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  40. Kristen Intemann, L. E. E. S., Kristin Mccartney, Shireen Roshanravan & Alexa Schriempf (2010). What Lies Ahead: Envisioning New Futures for Feminist Philosophy. Hypatia 25 (4):927-934.
    Thanks in large part to the record of scholarship fostered by Hypatia, feminist philosophers are now positioned not just as critics of the canon, but as innovators advancing uniquely feminist perspectives for theorizing about the world. As relatively junior feminist scholars, the five of us were called upon to provide some reflections on emerging trends in feminist philosophy and to comment on its future. Despite the fact that we come from diverse subfields and philosophical traditions, four common aims emerged in (...)
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  41. Luce Irigaray (1985). Speculum of the Other Woman. Cornell University Press.
    A radically subversive critique brings to the fore the masculine ideology implicit in psychoanalytic theory and in Western discourse in general: woman is defined as a disadvantaged man, a male construct with no status of her own.
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  42. Anne Jaap Jacobson (ed.) (2000). Feminist Interpretations of David Hume. Penn State University Press.
    This book is the first collection of feminist essays on one of the central figures in the history of English-speaking philosophy.
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  43. John Kaag (2013). Transgressing the Silence: Lydia Maria Child and the Philosophy of Subversion. Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 49 (1):46-53.
    There is something mournful in discussing a painting that has been lost or destroyed. It is the futile attempt to recover something that is irreparably gone. In the end, it recovers nothing, save for the memory of it’s vanishing. There is something mournful in discussing a people that has been lost or destroyed. It is the futile attempt to recover something that is irreparably gone. In the end, it recovers nothing, save for the memory of it’s vanishing. This paper is (...)
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  44. Chad Kautzer (2008). On Feminist Interpretations of John Locke. [REVIEW] Political Studies Review 6 (3):369-370.
  45. Joan Landes, The History of Feminism: Marie-Jean-Antoine-Nicolas de Caritat, Marquis de Condorcet. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  46. Michèle Le Dœuff (1991). Hipparchia's Choice: An Essay Concerning Women, Philosophy, Etc. Blackwell.
  47. Emily S. Lee (2008). Book Review of Dorothea Olkowski and Gail Weiss’s Feminist Interpretations of Maurice Merleau-Ponty. [REVIEW] American Philosophical Association Newsletter on Feminism and Philosophy 7 (2):24--26.
  48. Chenyang Li (2002). Revisiting Confucian Jen Ethics and Feminist Care Ethics: A Reply to Daniel Star and Lijun Yuan. Hypatia 17 (1):130 - 140.
    At two fronts I defend my 1994 article. I argue that differences between Confucian jen ethics and feminist care ethics do not preclude their shared commonalities in comparison with Kantian, utilitarian, and contractarian ethics, and that Confucians do care. I also argue that Confucianism is capable of changing its rules to reflect its renewed understanding of jen, that care ethics is feminist, and that similarities between Confucian and care ethics have significant implications.
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  49. Genevieve Lloyd (ed.) (2002). Feminism and History of Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
    This new collection of essays by leading feminist critics highlights the fresh perspectives that feminism can offer to the discussion of past philosophers. Rather than defining itself through opposition to a "male" philosophical tradition, feminist philosophy emerges not only as an exciting new contribution to the history of philosophy, but also as a source of cultural self-understanding in the present.
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  50. Genevieve Lloyd (1993). The Man of Reason: &Quot;male" and "Female" in Western Philosophy. University of Minnesota Press.
    This new edition of Genevieve Lloyd's classic study of the maleness of reason in philosophy contains a new introduction and bibilographical essay assessing the ...
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