FILO Filosofi i kontekst

Kursusindhold

Title:

Redefining philosophy’s past: Women philosophers from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment

 

Description:

In this class we investigate the contributions made by women philosophers to the development of early modern philosophy. Recent works on the historiography of philosophy have shown that the neglect of women philosophers, characteristic for most of the standard accounts of the history of philosophy, is not just historically inaccurate but deprives us also of different perspectives, genres, topics and problems of philosophy that are of relevance to get a nuanced and comprehensive understanding of early modern philosophy and that are of interest today. Currently, many international projects are under way to re-cover texts written by women philosophers and to develop new narratives including women philosophers. In our class, we will read and analyse the writings of six outstanding women philosophers and focus, among others, on the following topics: the role of education, re-definitions of woman’s nature, the re-valuation of the body in metaphysics and politics, non-mechanistic understandings of nature, and political claims for equality.

The aim of the course is twofold:

  1. to investigate the thought of six women philosophers from the early Renaissance to the French revolution and relate it to philosophical debates of their time and
  2. to critically engage with traditional accounts of the historiography of philosophy and to explore new, more inclusive approaches.

The course is divided into four parts. Part 1 focusses on models and methods in the historiography of philosophy, on feminist historiography and on developing reading and writing skills in history of philosophy. Part 2 focusses on women philosophers from the Renaissance, especially on their arguments for equality and criticism of philosophy’s past. We will read excerpt from Christine de Pizan’s (1364-c.1430) work The city of Ladies and letters written by the Italian humanist Laura Cereta (1449-1499) on feminist topics. Part 3 is on the 17th century, where we will investigate how women philosophers discussed the shortcomings of the new mechanistic philosophy of nature. In this context we will investigate Elisabeth of Bohemia’s (1618-1680) criticism of Descartes’s philosophy and Anne Conway’s (1631-1679) work The Principles of the Most Ancient and Modern Philosophy. Part 4 on the 18th century will focus on Emilie du Châtelet’s (1706-1749) writings on natural philosophy and Mary Wollstonecraft’s (1759-1797) arguments for equal rights for women in her Vindication of the Rights of Women.

 

 

Suggested background reading:

  • Alanen, Lilli, and Witt, Charlotte, eds., (2004): Feminist Reflections on the History of Philosophy, Dordrecht/Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
  • Hutton, Sarah (2019): “Women, philosophy and the history of philosophy”, British Journal for the History of Philosophy 27:4, 684–701
  • O’Neill, Eileen (1998): “Disappearing Ink: Early Modern Women Philosophers and Their Fate in History”, in Janet Kourany (ed.),Philosophy in a Feminist Voice: Critiques and Reconstructions, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 17-62.
  • Witt, Charlotte and Shapiro, Lisa (2018): “Feminist History of Philosophy”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2018 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = .
Engelsk titel

FILO Philosophy in Context

Uddannelse

Kandidatuddannelsen i Filosofi, 2019-ordningen:

Filosofi i kontekst:  HFIK04071E

Kandidattilvalg på filosofi, 2019-ordningen

Filosofi i kontekst: HFIK14071E

Målbeskrivelse

At the examination, the student is able to demonstrate:

 

Knowledge and understanding of:

  • key concepts, theories and arguments in a philosophical text belonging to the past
  • influential interpretations of the text concerned and of its context, including its historical and institutional context
  • the latest tools and reference works used to determine the context of a selected text.

 

Skills to:

  • describe and analyse philosophical aspects of the selected text, as well as its context
  • make a description using the latest standards in the field of the history of philosophy with regard to citation, referencing and documentation
  • evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the selected text and other influential interpretations of the text in question.

 

Competencies to:

  • analyse complex texts belonging to past philosophy
  • assess the extent of contextualisation for the selected texts belonging to past philosophy
  • give a clear, well-documented and well-argued written and oral presentation of selected aspects of a text belonging to the past, and of its context.

The course is conducted as seminars

Which books should I acquire before the course?

  • Alanen, Lilli, and Witt, Charlotte, eds., (2004): Feminist Reflections on the History of Philosophy, Dordrecht/Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
  • Hutton, Sarah (2019): “Women, philosophy and the history of philosophy”, British Journal for the History of Philosophy 27:4, 684–701
  • O’Neill, Eileen (1998): “Disappearing Ink: Early Modern Women Philosophers and Their Fate in History”, in Janet Kourany (ed.),Philosophy in a Feminist Voice: Critiques and Reconstructions, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 17-62.
  • Witt, Charlotte and Shapiro, Lisa (2018): “Feminist History of Philosophy”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2018 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = .
ECTS
15 ECTS
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