Recovering Early Modern Women Writers: Some Tensions

Jessica Gordon-Roth, Nancy Kendrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Feminist work in the history of philosophy has been going on for several decades. Some scholars have focused on the ways philosophical concepts are themselves gendered. Others have recovered women writers who were well known in their own time but forgotten in ours, while still others have firmly placed into a philosophical context the works of women writers long celebrated within other disciplines in the humanities. The recovery of women writers has challenged the myth that there are no women in the history of philosophy, but it has not eradicated it. What, we may ask, is impeding our progress? This paper argues that so often we treat early modern women philosophers’ texts in ways that are different from, or inconsistent with, the explicit commitments of the analytic tradition, and in so doing, we may be triggering our audiences to reject these women as philosophers, and their texts as philosophical. Moreover, this is the case despite our intention to achieve precisely the opposite effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)268-285
Number of pages18
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
What, we may ask, is impeding our progress in eradicating the myth that there are no women in the history of philosophy, despite decades-long attempts to do just this? This is a timely question. There has been a recent surge in funding, and interest, in expanding the canon.1 Two examples that easily come to mind are Project Vox, at Duke University, and New Narratives in the History of Philosophy, at Simon Fraser University. Both of these projects receive funding via major granting institutions. Project Vox is funded by the American Council of Learned Societies and the Mellon Foundation, among other sources, and New Narratives is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).2 Their aim is to bring the works of early modern women philos-

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Metaphilosophy LLC and John Wiley & Sons Ltd


  • Astell
  • Cavendish
  • Cockburn
  • Conway
  • analytic tradition
  • canon expansion
  • early modern women
  • feminist history of philosophy
  • implicit bias
  • philosophical authority


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