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date: 21 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Cartesianism constitutes a particular and crucial moment in the history of the relations between the aims of philosophy and feminist claims. This is explained by theoretical reasons (the new Cartesian science posits a human being that is fundamentally non-sexual and ungendered) and by practical reasons (the importance of the philosophical vocations for women and the feminist vocations for men that Cartesianism has permitted). Recent readings of Descartes (which see him either as a misogynist or as a philogynist) show that the theoretical connections between Cartesianism and feminism are strong: Cartesianism powerfully questions the relation of women to philosophy, both as subjects and as philosophical objects.

Keywords: feminism, philosophical canon, sexual and gendered differences, embryology, moral philosophy, Cartesian women (philosophers), Marie Astell, Elisabeth of Bohemia, Poulain de la Barre

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