Ethics 93 (1):102- (1982)

The aim of this paper is to examine, comparatively, women’s place within the political systems of Plato, Aristotle and Hegel from a brief sketch of their conceptions about human nature and feminine nature. It will be intended to indicate to what extent there is a relation, sometimes of tension, sometimes of complementarity, in the way descriptive and prescriptive elements function to circumscribe the space of women from the household private sphere, from Aristotelian and Hegelian perspectives, and how the subordination of descriptive elements to prescriptive elements allow woman to ascend in the public sphere under the Platonic perspective. After tracing this sketch, it will be suggested how this tension, in the political philosophy of Hegel, will result, in a way, in an explicit denial of women's political rights and, in another way, in the possibility of envisioning civil and political equality between men and women from an internal and inherent device of the Hegelian system, the notion of “second nature” as ethical reposition of the natural.
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DOI 10.1086/292408
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