Philosophical Topics 46 (2):183-208 (2018)

Christia Mercer
Columbia University
In this paper, I examine the arguments offered by prominent ancient philosophers and medical theorists to justify the view that female bodies are imperfect or “mutilated” compared to male bodies from which it is supposed to follow that women are morally inferior to men. These arguments rendered men superior to women and justified the need for women to subjugate themselves to their procreative powers and to the wisdom of their superiors. Western sexism and misogyny has its roots here. It is unsettling to witness the ease with which a few men writing millennia ago laid the groundwork for centuries of sexism and depressing to realize that many of our contemporaries embrace the residue of these ancient ideas. But it is important for us to understand how these sexist attitudes arose, how they maintained themselves, and how utterly contingent they are.
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  General Interest  Philosophy of Mind
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DOI 10.5840/philtopics201846218
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