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  1. Cartesianism and its Feminist Promise and Limits: The Case of Mary Astell.Karen Detlefsen - forthcoming - In Catherine Wilson & Stephen Gaukroger (eds.), Descartes and Cartesianism: Essays in Honour of Desmond Clarke. Oxford University Press.
    In this paper, I consider Mary Astell's contributions to the history of feminism, noting her grounding in and departure from Cartesianism and its relation to women.
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  2. Women, Liberty, and Forms of Feminism.Karen Detlefsen - forthcoming - In Jacqueline Broad & Karen Detlefsen (eds.), Women and Liberty, 1600-1800: Philosophical Essays. Oxford University Press.
    This chapter shows how Mary Astell and Margaret Cavendish can reasonably be understood as early feminists in three senses of the term. First, they are committed to the natural equality of men and women, and related, they are committed to equal opportunity of education for men and women. Second, they are committed to social structures that help women develop authentic selves and thus autonomy understood in one sense of the word. Third, they acknowledge the power of production relationships, especially friendships (...)
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  3. Mary Astell’s Radical Criticism of Gender Inequality.Martin Fog Lantz Arndal - 2021 - Intellectual History Review 31 (1):91-110.
  4. Cartesian Social Epistemology? Contemporary Social Epistemology and Early Modern Philosophy.Amy M. Schmitter - 2020 - Roczniki Filozoficzne 68 (2):155-178.
    Kartezjańska epistemologia społeczna? Współczesna epistemologia społeczna a wczesna filozofia nowożytna Wielu współczesnych epistemologów społecznych uważa, że tocząc batalię z indywidualistycznym podejściem do wiedzy, walczy tym samym z podejściem do wiedzy opisanym przez Kartezjusza. Choć wypada się zgodzić, że Kartezjusz przedstawia indywidualistyczny obraz wiedzy naukowej, niemniej trzeba dodać, że wskazuje on na istotne praktyczne funkcje odnoszenia się do świadectw i przekonań innych osób. Jednakże zrozumienie racji Kartezjusza za zaangażowaniem się w indywidualizm pozwala nam na identyfikację kluczowych wyzwań, z jakimi spotka się (...)
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  5. Philosophy as a Feminist Spirituality and Critical Practice for Mary Astell.Simone Webb - 2020 - Metaphilosophy 51 (2-3):280-302.
  6. “Since All the World is Mad, Why Should Not I Be So?” Mary Astell on Equality, Hierarchy, and Ambition.Teresa M. Bejan - 2019 - Political Theory 47 (6):781-808.
    Ever since Mary Astell was introduced as the “First English Feminist” in 1986, scholars have been perplexed by her dual commitments to natural equality and social, political, and ecclesiastical hierarchy. But any supposed “paradox” in her thought is the product of a modernist conceit that treats equality and hierarchy as antonyms, assuming the former must be prior, normative, and hostile to the latter. Seeing this, two other crucial features of Astell’s thought emerge: her ethics of ascent and her psychology of (...)
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  7. New Perspectives on Agency in Early Modern Philosophy.Ruth Boeker - 2019 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 27 (5):625-630.
    This introductory article outlines the themes and aims of this special issue, which offers new perspectives on early modern debates about agency in two ways: First, it recovers writings on agency and liberty that have been widely neglected or that have received insufficient attention, including writings by Anne Conway, Henry More, Ralph Cudworth, William King, Gabrielle Suchon, Elizabeth Berkeley Burnet, Mary Astell, and Anthony Ashley Cooper, the Third Earl of Shaftesbury. Second, it reveals the richness of early modern debates about (...)
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  8. Mary Astell’s Critique of Pierre Bayle: Atheism and Intellectual Integrity in the Pensées.Jacqueline Broad - 2019 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 27 (4):806-823.
    This paper focuses on the English philosopher Mary Astell’s marginalia in Lady Mary Wortley Montagu’s personal copy of the 1704 edition of Pierre Bayle’s Pensées diverses sur le comète (first published in 1682). I argue that Astell’s annotations provide good reasons for thinking that Bayle is biased toward atheism in this work. Recent scholars maintain that Bayle can be interpreted as an Academic Sceptic: as someone who honestly and impartially follows a dialectical method of argument in order to obtain the (...)
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  9. Selfhood and Self-Government in Women’s Religious Writings of the Early Modern Period.Jacqueline Broad - 2019 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 27 (5):713-730.
    ABSTRACTSome scholars have identified a puzzle in the writings of Mary Astell, a deeply religious feminist thinker of the early modern period. On the one hand, Astell strongly urges her...
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  10. Mary Astell on Bad Custom and Epistemic Injustice.Allauren Samantha Forbes - 2019 - Hypatia 34 (4):777-801.
    Mary Astell is a fascinating seventeenth‐century figure whose work admits of many interpretations. One feature of her work that has received little attention is her focus on bad custom. This is surprising; Astell clearly regards bad custom as exerting a kind of epistemic power over agents, particularly women, in a way that limits their intellectual capacities. This article aims to link two contemporary sociopolitical/social‐epistemological projects by showing how a seventeenth‐century thinker anticipated these projects. Astell's account of bad custom shows that (...)
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  11. Gender Models Alternative Communities and Women's Utopianism by Gilberta Golinelli.Vita Fortunati - 2019 - Utopian Studies 30 (2):346-350.
    Gilberta Golinelli's book is set within an important area of utopian studies that, from the 1990s, also via archival studies, started to focus on the numerous utopias penned by women in the early modern English period. The book, significantly titled Gender Models, Alternative Communities and Women's Utopianism, analyzes some of the utopian writings by Margaret Cavendish, Aphra Behn, and Mary Astell. Golinelli did not choose to use the term utopianism on a whim, since the utopias of these authors are hybrids, (...)
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  12. Early Modern Women on the Cosmological Argument: A Case Study in Feminist History of Philosophy.Marcy P. Lascano - 2019 - In Eileen O'Neill & Marcy P. Lascano (eds.), Feminist History of Philosophy: The Recovery and Evaluation of Women’s Philosophical Thought. Springer, NM 87747, USA: pp. 23-47.
    This chapter discusses methodology in feminist history of philosophy and shows that women philosophers made interesting and original contributions to the debates concerning the cosmological argument. I set forth and examine the arguments of Mary Astell, Damaris Masham, Catherine Trotter Cockburn, Emilie Du Châtelet, and Mary Shepherd, and discuss their involvement with philosophical issues and debates surrounding the cosmological argument. I argue that their contributions are original, philosophically interesting, and result from participation in the ongoing debates and controversies about the (...)
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  13. The Radical Nature of Mary Astell’s Christian Feminism.Hilda L. Smith - 2019 - In Eileen O’Neill & Marcy P. Lascano (eds.), Feminist History of Philosophy: The Recovery and Evaluation of Women’s Philosophical Thought. Springer. pp. 301-317.
    This chapter argues that Mary Astell’s Christian Religion as Profess’d by a Daughter of the Church of England was central to her feminist ideas, rather than limiting them—a position taken by most scholars, and especially by those who term her a conservative. Astell was totally devoted to the importance of reason and its link to faith and religious belief. Her primary motivation was reason’s guarantee of an independent and thoughtful Christianity for women. This acceptance of the centrality of reason and (...)
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  14. Mary Astell’s Theory of Spiritual Friendship.Nancy Kendrick - 2018 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 26 (1):46-65.
    Mary Astell’s theory of friendship has been interpreted either as a version of Aristotelian virtue friendship, or as aligned with a Christian and Platonist tradition. In this paper, I argue that Astell’s theory of friendship is determinedly anti-Aristotelian; it is a theory of spiritual friendship offered as an alternative to Aristotelian virtue friendship. By grounding her conception of friendship in a Christian–Platonist metaphysics, I show that Astell rejects the Aristotelian criteria of reciprocity and partiality as essential features of the friendship (...)
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  15. Early Modern Women on Metaphysics.Emily Thomas (ed.) - 2018 - Cambridge University Press.
    The work of women philosophers in the early modern period has traditionally been overlooked, yet their writing on topics such as reality, time, mind and matter holds valuable lessons for our understanding of metaphysics and its history. This volume of new essays explores the work of nine key female figures: Bathsua Makin, Anna Maria van Schurman, Elisabeth of Bohemia, Margaret Cavendish, Anne Conway, Damaris Cudworth Masham, Mary Astell, Catharine Trotter Cockburn, and Émilie Du Châtelet. Investigating issues from eternity to free (...)
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  16. The Philosophy of Mary Astell: An Early Modern Theory of Virtue. [REVIEW]Sandrine Berges - 2017 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 25 (4):835-837.
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  17. The Philosophy of Mary Astell: An Early Modern Theory of Virtue, by Jacqueline Broad: Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015, Pp. Vi + 205, US$70. [REVIEW]Deborah Boyle - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (3):606-609.
  18. Astell, Mary.Jacqueline Broad - 2017 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Mary Astell The English writer Mary Astell is widely known today as an early feminist pioneer, but not so well known as a philosophical thinker. Her feminist reputation rests largely on her impassioned plea to establish an all-female college in England, an idea first put forward in her Serious Proposal to the Ladies. … Continue reading Astell, Mary →.
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  19. Feminist Interpretations of Mary Astell. [REVIEW]Melissa Frankel - 2017 - Hypatia Reviews Online 2017.
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  20. ‘Slaves Among Us’: The Climate and Character of Eighteenth-Century Philosophical Discussions of Slavery.Margaret Watkins - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (1):e12393.
    This article introduces several aspects of eighteenth-century discussions of slavery that may be unfamiliar or surprising to present-day readers. First, even eighteenth-century philosophers who were opponents of slavery often exhibited marked racism and helped develop racial concepts that would later serve pro-slavery theorists. Such thinkers include Hume, Voltaire, and Kant. Second, we must see slavery debates in the context of larger scientific and political debates, including those about climate and character, just political systems, the superiority or inferiority of the moderns (...)
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  21. Snapshot: Mary Astell.Jacqueline Broad - 2016 - The Philosophers' Magazine 74:63-65.
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  22. Custom Freedom and Equality: Mary Astell on Marriage and Women's Education.Karen Detlefsen - 2016 - In Penny Weiss & Alice Sowaal (eds.), Feminist Interpretations of Mary Astell. Pennsylvania State University Press. pp. 74-92.
    Whatever may be said about contemporary feminists’ evaluation of Descartes’ role in the history of feminism, Mary Astell herself believed that Descartes’ philosophy held tremendous promise for women. His urging all people to eschew the tyranny of custom and authority in order to uncover the knowledge that could be found in each one of our unsexed souls potentially offered women a great deal of intellectual and personal freedom and power. Certainly Astell often read Descartes in this way, and Astell herself (...)
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  23. The Philosophy of Mary Astell by Jacqueline Broad.Sarah Hutton - 2016 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 54 (3):504-505.
    The study of female philosophers of the past has come a long way in the last two decades. Until relatively recently, special pleading was required in order to make the case that there were any women philosophers and that they deserved to be taken seriously. Since then the picture has changed radically. Not only are the philosophical credentials of women philosophers better known, but many more women have been recognized as philosophers. It is increasingly taken for granted that philosophers today (...)
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  24. Mary Astell on the Existence and Nature of God.Marcy Lascano - 2016 - In Alice Sowaal & Penny Weiss (eds.), Feminist Interpretations of Mary Astell. University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press. pp. 168-187.
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  25. Feminist Interpretations of Mary Astell.Penny Weiss & Alice Sowaal (eds.) - 2016 - Pennsylvania State University Press.
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  26. On the Outskirts of the Canon: The Myth of the Lone Female Philosopher, and What to Do About It.Sandrine Berges - 2015 - Metaphilosophy 46 (3):380-397.
    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 (...)
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  27. Mary Astell on Flattery and Self-Esteem.A. Blank - 2015 - The Monist 98 (1):53-63.
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  28. The Philosophy of Mary Astell: An Early Modern Theory of Virtue.Jacqueline Broad - 2015 - Oxford University Press.
    Mary Astell is best known today as one of the earliest English feminists. This book sheds new light on her writings by interpreting her first and foremost as a moral philosopher—as someone committed to providing guidance on how best to live. The central claim of this work is that all the different strands of Astell’s thought—her epistemology, her metaphysics, her philosophy of the passions, her feminist vision, and her conservative political views—are best understood in light of her ethical objectives. To (...)
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  29. Remarkable Women in a Remarkable Age. Sulla genesi della sfera pubblica inglese, 1642-1752.Eleonora Cappuccilli - 2015 - Scienza and Politica. Per Una Storia Delle Dottrine 27 (52).
    During the era of the English Revolutions and shortly after that, some spaces, albeit limited, of female visibility open up. Thanks to the window of opportunity caused by the collapse of censorship, the participation in the radical sects and in the Civil war, some remarkable women succeed in introducing themselves in the public sphere, shaping it since its very genesis. Moreover, analysing law institutions as jointure and feoffment, the attempt is to reconstruct some fragments of juridical female autonomy, which belie (...)
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  30. Including Early Modern Women Writers in Survey Courses: A Call to Action.Jessica Gordon-Roth & Nancy Kendrick - 2015 - Metaphilosophy 46 (3):364-379.
    There are many reasons to include texts written by women in early modern philosophy courses. The most obvious one is accuracy: women helped to shape the philosophical landscape of the time. Thus, to craft a syllabus that wholly excludes women is to give students an inaccurate picture of the early modern period. Since it seems safe to assume that we all aim for accuracy, this should be reason enough to include women writers in our courses. This article nonetheless offers an (...)
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  31. A Moral Philosophy of Their Own? The Moral and Political Thought of Eighteenth-Century British Women.Karen Green - 2015 - The Monist 98 (1):89-101.
    Despite the fact that the High-Church Tory, Mary Astell, held political views diametrically opposed to the Whiggish Catharine Trotter Cockburn and Catharine Macaulay, it is here argued that their metaethical views were surprisingly similar. All were influenced by a blend of Christian universalism and Aristotelian eudaimonism, which accepted the existence of a law of nature, that we strive for happiness, and that happiness results from living in accord with our God-given nature. They differed with regard to epistemological issues; the means (...)
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  32. Mary Astell on Marriage and Lockean Slavery.Jacqueline Broad - 2014 - History of Political Thought 35 (4):717–38.
    In the 1706 third edition of her Reflections upon Marriage, Mary Astell alludes to John Locke’s definition of slavery in her descriptions of marriage. She describes the state of married women as being ‘subject to the inconstant, uncertain, unknown, Arbitrary Will of another Man’ (Locke, Two Treatises, II.22). Recent scholars maintain that Astell does not seriously regard marriage as a form of slavery in the Lockean sense. In this paper, I defend the contrary position: I argue that Astell does seriously (...)
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  33. Women on Liberty in Early Modern England.Jacqueline Broad - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (2):112-122.
    Our modern ideals about liberty were forged in the great political and philosophical debates of the 17th and 18th centuries, but we seldom hear about women's contributions to those debates. This paper examines the ideas of early modern English women – namely Margaret Cavendish, Mary Astell, Mary Overton, ‘Eugenia’, Sarah Chapone and the civil war women petitioners – with respect to the classic political concepts of negative, positive and republican liberty. The author suggests that these writers' woman-centred concerns provide a (...)
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  34. Christianity and Women's Education: Anna Maria van Schurman and Mary Astell.Jane Duran - 2014 - Philosophy and Theology 26 (1):3-18.
    A contrast is developed between the educational views of van Schurman and Astell, revolving around their sense of Christian piety and their stance on women’s place in the social and political sphere. The work of Irwin, Hill, and others is cited, and it is concluded that important differences between the views of the two thinkers can be delineated, and that doing so helps us to understand the intellectual and philosophical milieu of the seventeenth century. In addition, the debate sheds light (...)
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  35. A History of Women's Political Thought in Europe, 1700–1800.Karen Green - 2014 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    During the eighteenth century, elite women participated in the philosophical, scientific, and political controversies that resulted in the overthrow of monarchy, the reconceptualisation of marriage, and the emergence of modern, democratic institutions. In this comprehensive study, Karen Green outlines and discusses the ideas and arguments of these women, exploring the development of their distinctive and contrasting political positions, and their engagement with the works of political thinkers such as Hobbes, Locke, Mandeville and Rousseau. Her exploration ranges across Europe from England (...)
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  36. The Christian Religion, as Professed by a Daughter of the Church of England by Mary Astell.Sarah Hutton - 2014 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 52 (4):847-848.
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  37. Amor Dei in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries.David C. Bellusci - 2013 - Amsterdam: Editions Rodopi.
    Amor Dei, “love of God” raises three questions: How do we know God is love? How do we experience love of God? How free are we to love God? This book presents three kinds of love, worldly, spiritual, and divine to understand God’s love. The work begins with Augustine’s Confessions highlighting his Manichean and Neoplatonic periods before his conversion to Christianity. Augustine’s confrontation with Pelagius anticipates the unresolved disputes concerning God’s love and free will. In the sixteenth-century the Italian humanist, (...)
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  38. Enthusiastic Improvement: Mary Astell and Damaris Masham on Sociability.Joanne E. Myers - 2013 - Hypatia 28 (3):533-550.
    Many commentators have contrasted the way that sociability is theorized in the writings of Mary Astell and Damaris Masham, emphasizing the extent to which Masham is more interested in embodied, worldly existence. I argue, by contrast, that Astell's own interest in imagining a constitutively relational individual emerges once we pay attention to her use of religious texts and tropes. To explore the relevance of Astell's Christianity, I emphasize both how Astell's Christianity shapes her view of the individual's relation to society (...)
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  39. The Outward And Inward Beauty Of Early Modern Women.Lisa Shapiro - 2013 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 138 (3):327-346.
    I explore some early modern philosophical thought about the relation of beauty and wisdom, a theme first expressed in Plato's Symposium. The thinkers I consider most centrally are two women, Lucrezia Marinella and Mary Astell, though I also consider the writers Aphra Behn and Sarah Scott. While women in particular might have a special interest in appropriating the Platonic image of the ladder of desire, this ought not to be conceived as a 'women's issue'. Rather, I suggest, this strand of (...)
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  40. Impressions in the Brain: Malebranche on Women, and Women on Malebranche.Jacqueline Broad - 2012 - Intellectual History Review 22 (3):373-389.
    In his De la recherche de la vérité (The Search after Truth) of 1674-75, Nicolas Malebranche makes a number of apparently contradictory remarks about women and their capacity for pure intellectual thought. On the one hand, he seems to espouse a negative biological determinism about women’s minds, and on the other, he suggests that women have the free capacity to attain truth and happiness, regardless of their physiology. In the early eighteenth-century, four English women thinkers – Anne Docwra (c. 1624-1710), (...)
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  41. When is a Contract Theorist Not a Contract Theorist? Mary Astell and Catharine Macaulay as Critics of Thomas Hobbes.Karen Green - 2012 - In Nancy Hirschmann Joanne Wright (ed.), Feminist Interpretations of Thomas Hobbes. Penn State. pp. 169-89.
    Although Catharine Macaulay was a contract theorist and early feminist her philosophy is not based on a concept of liberty like that of Hobbes, but on a notion of individual liberty as self government close to that accepted by Mary Astell. This raises the question of whether criticisms of liberal feminism which assume that it is rooted in Hobbes's suspect notion of freedom and consent may miss there mark.
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  42. Philosophy and Sexual Politics in Mary Astell and Samuel Richardson.Jocelyn Harris - 2012 - Intellectual History Review 22 (3):445-463.
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  43. Reason and Religious Tolerance: Mary Astell’s Critique of Shaftesbury.D. P. Alvarez - 2011 - Eighteenth Century Studies 44 (4).
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  44. Koncasinda Koparilmiş Akil: Kadin Haklarinin Gerekçelendirilmesinde Özgürlük Ve Eğitim.Sandrine Berges - 2011 - Felsefe Tartismalari 46:18-38.
    This paper focuses on what Mary Astell and Mary Wollstonecraft had to say about women's condition of subservience in the 18th century. While both philosophers held that education played a central role in women's freedom, there were some significant differences in their outlooks. I will try to understand Astell's arguments in the light of Wollstonecraft's subtle and perceptive analysis of oppression. I will further suggest that Wollstonecraft's own account is closely related to Amartya Sen's discussion of adaptive preferences and indeed (...)
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  45. Mary Astell's Machiavellian Moment? Politics and Feminism in Moderation Truly Stated.Jacqueline Broad - 2011 - In Jo Wallwork & Paul Salzman (eds.), Early Modern Englishwomen Testing Ideas. Ashgate. pp. 9-23.
    In The Women of Grub Street (1998), Paula McDowell highlighted the fact that the overwhelming majority of women’s texts in early modern England were polemical or religio-political in nature rather than literary in content. Since that time, the study of early modern women’s political ideas has dramatically increased, and there have been a number of recent anthologies, modern editions, and critical analyses of female political writings. As a result of Patricia Springborg’s research, Mary Astell (1668-1731) has risen to prominence as (...)
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  46. Mary Astell.Regan Penaluna - 2010 - The Philosophers' Magazine 51 (51):98-100.
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  47. Mary Astell on Virtuous Friendship.Jacqueline Broad - 2009 - Parergon: Journal of the Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies 26 (2):65-86.
    According to some scholars, Mary Astell’s feminist programme is severely limited by its focus on self-improvement rather than wider social change. In response, I highlight the role of ‘virtuous friendship’ in Astell’s 1694 work, A Serious Proposal to the Ladies. Building on classical ideals and traditional Christian principles, Astell promotes the morally transformative power of virtuous friendship among women. By examining the significance of such friendship to Astell’s feminism, we can see that she did in fact aim to bring about (...)
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  48. The Broadview Anthology of Social and Political Thought: Volume 1: From Plato to Nietzsche.Andrew Bailey, Samantha Brennan, Will Kymlicka, Jacob T. Levy, Alex Sager & Clark Wolf (eds.) - 2008 - Broadview Press.
    This comprehensive volume contains much of the important work in political and social philosophy from ancient times until the end of the nineteenth century. The anthology offers both depth and breadth in its selection of material by central figures, while also representing other currents of political thought. Thucydides, Seneca, and Cicero are included along with Plato and Aristotle; Al-Farabi, Marsilius of Padua, and de Pizan take their place alongside Augustine and Aquinas; Astell and Constant are presented in the company of (...)
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  49. Mary Astell: Theorist of Freedom From Domination. [REVIEW]Alice Sowaal - 2008 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 46 (2):322-323.
    Project MUSE - Journal of the History of Philosophy - Mary Astell: Theorist of Freedom from Domination Project MUSE Journals Journal of the History of Philosophy Volume 46, Number 2, April 2008 Mary Astell: Theorist of Freedom from Domination Journal of the History of Philosophy Volume 46, Number 2, April 2008 E-ISSN: 1538-4586 Print ISSN: 0022-5053 DOI: 10.1353/hph.0.0014 Reviewed by Alice SowaalSan Francisco State University Patricia Springborg. Mary Astell: Theorist of Freedom from Domination. Cambridge-New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Pp. (...)
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  50. Mary Astell: Theorist of Freedom From Domination. [REVIEW]Melinda Zook - 2008 - Clio: A Journal of Literature, History, and the Philosophy of History 37 (2):279-283.
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