In Sandrine Berges & Alan Coffee (eds.), The Social and Political philosophy of Mary Wollstonecraft. Oxford University Press. pp. 183-200 (2016)

Alan M. S. J. Coffee
King's College London
Although ‘virtue’ is a complex idea in Wollstonecraft’s work, one of its senses refers to the capacity and willingness to govern one’s own conduct rationally, and to employ this ability in deliberating about matters of public concern. Wollstonecraft understands virtue to be integral to the meaning of freedom rather than as merely instrumentally useful for its preservation. It follows, therefore, that a free republic must be a virtuous one. The first virtue of social institutions, we might say, is ‘virtue’ itself. In a virtuous republic all citizens, from no matter which social group, are able to represent themselves in law and in public debate. This is a demanding condition, requiring not just suitably robust republican institutions but an open and accommodating public culture in which sufficient numbers of citizens are positively engaged in ensuring that the available stock of background ideas and values is representative, diverse and inclusive.
Keywords Mary Wollstonecraft  Independence  Freedom  Non-Domination  Virtue  Multiculturalism  Feminism  Public Reason  Republicanism
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 50,241
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Cultural Accommodation and Domination.Frank Lovett - 2010 - Political Theory 38 (2):243-267.
The Discourses.Niccolò Machiavelli - 1950 - [Harmondsworth, Eng.]Penguin Books.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Mary Wollstonecraft on the Imagination.Martina Reuter - 2017 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 25 (6):1138-1160.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Mary Wollstonecraft, Freedom and the Enduring Power of Social Domination.Alan M. S. J. Coffee - 2013 - European Journal of Political Theory 12 (2):116-135.
Feminist Interpretations of Mary Wollstonecraft.Maria J. Falco (ed.) - 1995 - Pennsylvania State University Press.


Added to PP index

Total views
2 ( #1,327,630 of 2,325,148 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #671,788 of 2,325,148 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes