Philosophy’s First Hysterectomy: Diotima of Mantinea

Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy 29:125-129 (2018)
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Abstract

Philosophy became known as a “man’s” profession over the past three thousand years. This is an account of how, in the case of Diotima of Mantinea, the histories of philosophy came to systematically ignore, overlook, doubt and declare false the fact that some philosophers had uteruses. The effect has been a massive hysterectomy –the removal from or ignoring of women’s contributions to Philosophy as related by the major histories and encyclopedias of Philosophy. This nearly discipline-wide hysterectomy has created the false impression that women cannot think philosophically. In this PowerPoint presentation I will present historical and archeological evidence relative to Diotima of Mantinea who may have been the first woman philosopher to receive a posthumous hysterectomy by later historians of philosophy.

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Mary Ellen Waithe
Cleveland State University

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