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The Philosophy of Mary AstellAn Early Modern Theory of Virtue$
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Jacqueline Broad

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198716815

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198716815.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
The Philosophy of Mary Astell

Jacqueline Broad

Oxford University Press

The early modern philosopher Mary Astell aimed to bring about a moral and intellectual awakening in her fellow women so that they might attain excellence of character and true and lasting happiness. This chapter provides an introduction to her project of reformation, and explains the main purpose behind this book: to interpret Astell’s philosophy in terms of her theory of virtue. It offers a brief overview of the scholarly literature to date, and then situates this study in relation to the literature. The first part of the chapter discusses some of the major influences on Astell’s thought, such as Cartesian and Malebranchean philosophies of the period. The second part provides an account of Astell’s life and works; the third discusses her influence on subsequent generations; and the fourth provides an outline of the book as a whole.

Keywords:   Mary Astell, Cartesian, early modern philosopher, Malebranchean doctrine, theory of virtue

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