On the outskirts of the Canon: the myth of the Lone Female philosopher, and what to do about it
Blackwell Publishing Ltd
380 - 397
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Women philosophers of the past, because they tended not to engage with each other much, are often perceived as isolated from ongoing philosophical dialogues. This has led - directly and indirectly - to their exclusion from courses in the history of philosophy. This article explores three ways in which we could solve this problem. The first is to create a course in early modern philosophy that focuses solely or mostly on female philosophers, using conceptual and thematic ties such as a concern for education and a focus on ethics and politics. The second is to introduce women authors as dialoguing with the usual canonical suspects: Cavendish with Hobbes, Elisabeth of Bohemia with Descartes, Masham and Astell with Locke, Conway with Leibniz, and so on. The article argues that both methods have significant shortcomings, and it suggests a third, consisting in widening the traditional approach to structuring courses in early modern philosophy. © 2015 Metaphilosophy LLC and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.