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Women in the history of philosophy

October 6, 2015

Excerpt from an OUPblog article, published on 3rd October, by Jacqueline Broad, ARC Future Fellow in Philosophy at Monash University, Melbourne. She is author of The Philosophy of Mary Astell: An Early Modern Theory of Virtue, which is available on Oxford Scholarship Online.

The Philosophy of Mary Astell: An Early Modern Theory of Virtue

"Philosophers have been happily borrowing and stealing ideas from others for centuries. We like to call it “research.”

For the most part, the practice of philosophy tends to be collective and conversational and collaborative. We enjoy reading what others have written on a given topic, and we like to hear what others have to say, because different people see things differently. Their comments and criticisms can open our minds to uncontemplated truths, or else they can encourage us to close ranks, and strengthen our arguments, in light of opposition.

Face-to-face, this practice is not always for the faint-of-heart and thin-of-skin. The argumentative nature of the discipline can be challenging for introverts and for those with a disposition toward politeness and common human civility.

But the funny thing is, despite its brutal reputation, philosophy is actually quite inclusive by nature."

Discover more: Read more about women in the history of philosophy, and why society is so slow to recognize their contributions, in 'Women in the history of philosophy'. The conclusion of The Philosophy of Mary Astell is now freely available until the end of November. Get access to the full text of this book, as well as almost 1,700 Oxford Philosophy titles, by recommending OSO to your librarian today.