Feminist Methods in the History of Philosophy, Or, Escape from Coventry

Authored by: Moira Gatens

The Routledge Companion to Feminist Philosophy

Print publication date:  May  2017
Online publication date:  May  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138795921
eBook ISBN: 9781315758152
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter addresses the various forms taken by feminist enquiry into the relationship between women and the history of philosophy. It will focus mostly on philosophy from the early modern and modern period, and on feminist work produced in Europe, Australia, and North America (for Ancient and non-Anglophone approaches see the other Chapters in this section). The chapter subtitle intentionally evokes the idea that the historical exclusion of women from philosophy has involved a kind of interdiction or exile from which women have only relatively recently, and even then only partially, escaped. This chapter closes with a brief consideration of the work of the writer, George Eliot (1819–1880), who may be seen as someone who metaphorically as well as literally escaped from Coventry, and who provides a fine example of a woman who was excluded from institutional contexts of knowledge but nevertheless produced outstanding philosophical thought although in a non-traditional format.

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