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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. Kathryn Pyne Addelson (1994). Feminist Philosophy and the Women's Movement. Hypatia 9 (3):216 - 224.
    Feminist philosophy is now an established subdiscipline, but it began as an effort to transform the profession. Academics and activists worked together to make the new courses, and feminist theory was tested in the streets. As time passed, the "second wave" receded, but core elements of feminist theory were preserved in the academy. How can feminist philosophers today continue the early efforts of changing profession and the society, hand in hand with women outside the academy.
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  3. Azizah Al-Hibri (2013). Remembering Hypatia's Birth: It Took a Village. Hypatia 28 (2):399-403.
  4. 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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  5. Linda Alcoff & Eva Feder Kittay (eds.) (2007). The Blackwell Guide to Feminist Philosophy. Blackwell Pub..
    The Blackwell Guide to Feminist Philosophy is a definitive introduction to the field, consisting of 15 newly-contributed essays that apply philosophical methods and approaches to feminist concerns. Offers a key view of the project of centering women’s experience. Includes topics such as feminism and pragmatism, lesbian philosophy, feminist epistemology, and women in the history of philosophy.
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  6. 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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  7. Rani Lill Anjum & Kjersti Fjørtoft (1999). David Hume. In Linda Rustad & Hilde Bondevik (eds.), Kjønnsperspektiver i filosofihistorien. Pax Forlag.
  8. 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-.
  9. Louise M. Antony & Charlotte Witt (eds.) (2002). A Mind of One's Own: Feminist Essays on Reason and Objectivity. Westview Press.
    A book of tremendous influence when it first appeared, A Mind of One's Own reminded readers that the tradition of Western philosophy-- in particular, the ideals of reason and objectivity-- has come down to us from white males, nearly all of whom are demonstrably sexist, even misogynist. In this second edition, the original authors continue to ask, What are the implications of this fact for contemporary feminists working within this tradition? The second edition pursues this question about the value of (...)
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  10. Nancy Bauer (1999). The Philosophy of Simone de Beauvoir: Gendered Phenomenologies, Erotic Generosities, And: Sex and Existence: Simone de Beauvoir's 'The Second Sex', And: Beauvoir and The Second Sex : Feminism, Race, and the Origins of Existentialism, And: Philosophy as Passion: The Thinking of Simone de Beauvoir (Review). Journal of the History of Philosophy 37 (4):688-691.
  11. Seyla Benhabib (2002). On Hegel, Women, and Irony. In Genevieve Lloyd (ed.), Feminism and History of Philosophy. Oup Oxford.
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  12. Sandrine Berges (2013). Routledge Guidebook to Wollstonecraft's A Vindiciation of the Rights of Woman. Routledge.
    Mary Wollstonecraft was one of the greatest philosophers and writers of the Eighteenth century. During her brief career, she wrote novels, treatises, a travel narrative, a history of the French Revolution, a conduct book, and a children's book. Her most celebrated and widely-read work is A Vindication of the Rights of Woman . This Guidebook introduces: Wollstonecraft’s life and the background to A Vindication of the Rights of Woman The ideas and text of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (...)
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  13. Sandrine Berges (2013). Rethinking Twelfth Century Ethics: The Contribution of Heloise. British Journal for the History of Philosophy 21 (4):667-687.
    Twelfth-century ethics is commonly thought of as following a stoic in fl uence rather than an Aristotelian o ne. It is also assumed that these two schools are widely different, in particular with regards to the social aspect of the virtuous life. In this paper I argue that this picture is misleading and that Heloise of Argenteuil recognized that stoic ethics did not entail isolation but could be played out in a social context. I argue that her philosophical contribution does (...)
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  14. Sandrine Berges (2013). Teaching Christine de Pizan in Turkey. Gender and Education 25 (5):595-605.
    An important part of making philosophy as a discipline gender equal is to ensure that female authors are not simply wiped out of the history of philosophy. This has implications for teaching as well as research. In this context, I reflect on my experience of teaching a text by medieval philosopher Christine de Pizan as part of an introductory history of philosophy course taught to Turkish students in law, political science, and international relations. I describe the challenges I encountered, the (...)
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  15. 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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  16. Susan E. Bernick (1992). Philosophy and Feminism: The Case of Susan Bordo. Hypatia 7 (3):188 - 196.
    In this paper I lay out what I take to be the crucial insights in Susan Bordo's "Feminist Skepticism and the 'Maleness' of Philosophy" and point out some additional difficulties with the skeptical position. I call attention to an ambiguity in the nature or content of the "maleness" of philosophy that Bordo identifies. Finally, I point out that, unlike some feminist skeptics, Bordo never loses sight in her work of women's lived experiences.
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  17. 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.
  18. Emanuela Bianchi (2006). Receptacle/Chōra: Figuring the Errant Feminine in Plato's Timaeus. 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 to (...)
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  19. 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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  20. Susan Bordo (2002). Selections From 'The Flight to Objectivity'. In Genevieve Lloyd (ed.), Feminism and History of Philosophy. Oup Oxford.
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  21. Jacqueline Broad (ed.) (2013). The Equality of the Sexes: Three Feminist Texts of the Seventeenth Century. OUP Oxford.
    The seventeenth century witnessed the first publications that argued for the equality of men and women. Desmond M. Clarke presents new translations of the three most important ones, with excerpts from the authors' related writings, together with an extensive introduction to the religious and philosophical context within which they argued.
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  22. 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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  23. 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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  24. 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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  25. Tina Chanter (2000). The Trouble We (Feminists) Have Reasoning with Our Mothers: Penelope Deutscher, Yielding Gender: Feminism, Deconstruction, and the History of Philosophy. [REVIEW] Continental Philosophy Review 33 (4):487-497.
  26. Beverley Clack (ed.) (1999). Misogyny in the Western Philosophical Tradition: A Reader. Routledge.
    From some of the great philosophers of the Western tradition: "The Devils gateway" --Tertullian "A misbegotten male" --Aquinas "Big children their whole life long" --Schopenhauer The roots of philosophical misogyny in the writings of thinkers from the ancient Greeks through the modern age are exposed and explored in this collection. Beverley Clack questions whether the wisdom of these philosophers can be separated from the misogyny, and whether feminists should seek an alternative to the Western philosophical canon. This collection offers chronological (...)
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  27. Claire Colebrook (1997). Feminist Philosophy and the Philosophy of Feminism: Irigaray and the History of Western Metaphysics. Hypatia 12 (1):79 - 98.
  28. 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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  29. John Darling (1986). Are Women Good Enough? Plato's Feminism Re-Examined. Journal of Philosophy of Education 20 (1):123–128.
  30. 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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  31. 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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  32. 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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  33. Penelope Deutscher (2012). Feminism and the History of Political Philosophy. In Gerald F. Gaus & Fred D'Agostino (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Social and Political Philosophy. Routledge. 278.
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  34. 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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  35. Penelope Deutscher (2002). 'Is It Not Remarkable That Nietzsche . . . Should Have Hated Rousseau?' Woman, Femininity: Distancing Nietzsche From Rousseau. [REVIEW] In Genevieve Lloyd (ed.), Feminism and History of Philosophy. Oup Oxford.
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  36. 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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  37. Penelope Deutscher (2000). "A Matter of Affect, Passion, and Heart": Our Taste for New Narratives of the History of Philosophy. Hypatia 15 (4):1-17.
    : This article compares translation and commentary practices surrounding the texts associated with French feminism with those of contemporary French women philosophers more generally. Many of the latter, discussing the history of philosophy, ask questions such as "How do texts play against the means they supply themselves?" and "How are philosophical forces, and the institutions of commentary, countered, destabilized, deregulated?" Deutscher asks what institutional means are available to understand this work as innovative philosophy, and to what extent these projects can (...)
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  38. Penelope Deutscher (1997). Yielding Gender: Feminism, Deconstruction, and the History of Philosophy. Routledge.
    Yielding Gender explores and reconsiders the tensions that deconstruction poses for feminist philosophy. Emphasizing the important role of deconstruction in revealing the ambiguity and unstable nature of gender, Penelope Deutscher asks the crucial question: does the very instability of gender mean that we can no longer talk of a man or a woman of reason in the history of philosophy? Using the work of Judith Butler, Jacques Derrida and Luce Irigaray, Deutscher explores this question by examining the issue of gender (...)
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  39. Michael du Plessis (1990). "Am I That Name?": Feminism and the Category of Women in History (Review). Philosophy and Literature 14 (2):432-433.
  40. 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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  41. 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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  42. 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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  43. Clara Fischer (2014). Gendered Readings of Change: A Feminist-Pragmatist Approach. Palgrave Macmillan.
    In Gendered Readings of Change, Clara Fischer develops a unique theory of change by drawing on American philosophy and contemporary feminist thought. Via a select history of ancient Greek and Pragmatist philosophies of change, she argues for a reconstruction of transformation that is inclusive of women's experiences and thought. With wide-ranging analysis, this book addresses ontological, moral, epistemological, and political questions, and includes an insightful exploration of the philosophies of Parmenides, Aristotle, John Dewey, Iris Young, and Jane Addams.
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  44. 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.
  45. Sarah Gamble (ed.) (2002). The Routledge Companion to Feminism and Postfeminism. Routledge.
    Approachable for general readers as well as for students in women's studies related courses at all levels, this invaluable guide follows the unique Companion format in combining over a dozen in-depth background chapters with more than 400 A-Z dictionary entries. The background chapters are written by major figures in the field of feminist studies, and include thorough coverage of the history of feminism, as well as extensive discussions of topics such as Postfeminism, Men in Feminism, Feminism and New Technologies and (...)
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  46. Catherine Villanueva Gardner (2012). Empowerment and Interconnectivity: Toward a Feminist History of Utilitarian Philosophy. Penn State University Press.
    "Examines the work of three nineteenth-century utilitarian feminist philosophers: Catharine Beecher, Frances Wright, and Anna Doyle Wheeler.
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  47. Catherine Villanueva Gardner (2006). Historical Dictionary of Feminist Philosophy. Scarecrow Press.
  48. 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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  49. Don Garrett (2004). Hume as Man of Reason and Woman's Philosopher. In Lilli Alanen & Charlotte Witt (eds.), Feminist Reflections on the History of Philosophy. Kluwer Academic Publishers. 171.
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  50. Moira Gatens (1991). Feminism and Philosophy: Perspectives on Difference and Equality. Indiana University Press.
1 — 50 / 151