Long considered ?non-philosophical,? the letters and novels of women like Catharine Macaulay, Mary Wollstonecraft, and George Eliot have often been omitted from the canon of the Western philosophical tradition. This unfortunate omission is corrected here through Catherine Villanueva Gardner's thorough discussion of the philosophical importance of their work. Gardner also looks carefully at why letters and novels have been considered this way since they are so prevalent in the work of women in general. Gardner argues that the devaluation or exclusion of certain forms of writing is connected to the biases that underpin the Western ethical tradition. This book is critical reading for courses in introductory philosophy and women's studies.
* Acknowledgments * 1. Introduction * Preliminaries * The Exclusion * The Dominant Model of Moral Philosophy * Philosophical Genre and the Dominant Model * Five Forms, Five Philosophers * 2. Catharine Macaulay's Letters on Education: What Constitutes a Philosophical System? * Biography * Letters on Education, * The Problems of the Epistolary Form * Macaulay's Work * The Argument for Women * The Second and Third Parts of Letters on Education, * The Argument of Letters on Education, * Conclusion * 3. Allegory and Moral Philosophy in Christine de Pisan's The Book of the City of Ladies * Christine de Pisan * The Book of the City of Ladies, * The Situation of Women * Women and Moral Agency * The Question of Marriage * The Prudent Woman * The Problem * The Allegorical City * The Need for Allegory * Problems with the City * Conclusion * 4. Mary Wollstonecraft and the Separation of Poetry and Politics * Wollstonecraft's Corpus * The Second Vindication as an Enlightenment Treatise * The Second Vindication Is Not a Work of Enlightenment Philosophy * Principles of Form and Expression * Form and Sensibility * True Sensibility * The Philosophical Role of Sensibility * Conclusion * 5. George Eliot and How to Read Novels as Philosophy * Eliot's Work * Comte, Spinoza, and Eliot * How to Read Eliot * The Centrality of Sympathy in Eliot's Novels * Philosophy * Conclusion * 6. Knowing and Speaking of Divine Love: Mechthild of Magdeburg * Biography * Women and Writing * The Problem of Authority * The Authorship of God * Morality and Experience * The Forms in the Flowing Light * Conclusion: Contingencies * 7. Conclusion * Philosophical Genre and the Boundaries of Philosophy * A Few Comments on Content * References * Index