Women Philosophers on Autonomy : Historical and Contemporary Perspectives book cover
1st Edition

Women Philosophers on Autonomy
Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

ISBN 9780367590208
Published August 14, 2020 by Routledge
240 Pages

FREE Standard Shipping
USD $52.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

We encounter autonomy in virtually every area of philosophy: in its relation with rationality, personality, self-identity, authenticity, freedom, moral values and motivations, and forms of government, legal, and social institutions. At the same time, the notion of autonomy has been the subject of significant criticism. Some argue that autonomy outweighs or even endangers interpersonal or collective values, while others believe it alienates subjects who don’t possess a strong form of autonomy. These marginalized subjects and communities include persons with physical or psychological disabilities, those in dire economic conditions, LGBTI persons, ethnic and religious minorities, and women in traditional communities or households.

This volume illuminates possible patterns in these criticisms of autonomy by bringing to light and critically assessing the contribution of women throughout the history of philosophy on this important subject. The essays in this collection cover a wide range of historical periods and influential female philosophers and thinkers, from medieval philosophy through to contemporary debates. Important authors whose work is considered, among many others, include Hildegard of Bingen, Margaret Cavendish, Anne Conway, Mary Wollstonecraft, Susan Moller Okin, Hélène Cixous, Iris Marion Young, and Judith Jarvis Thomson. Women Philosophers on Autonomy will enlighten and inform contemporary debates on autonomy by bringing into the conversation previously neglected female perspectives from throughout history.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

Sandrine Bergès and Alberto L. Siani

2. Hildegaard von Blingen on Autotonomy

Julia Lerius

3. Freedom’s Just Another Word for Nothin’ Left to Lose: Olivia Sabuco’s Philosophy and Life

Mary Ellen Waithe

4. Complaisance and the Question of Autonomy in the French Women Moralists, 1650-1710

Andreas Blank

5. Margaret Cavendish on Women’s Autonomy, Political Skepticism and Republican Values

Sandrine Bergès

6. Three Types of Infinite Autonomy: The Philosophy of Anne Conway

Fiona Tomkinson

7. Independence as Relational Freedom: A Republican Account Derived from Mary Wollstonecraft and Catharine Macaulay

Alan Coffee

8. Mary Wollstonecraft’s Contribution to the "Invention of Autonomy"

Martina Reuter

9. No Justice without Autonomy: Olympe de Gouges and Susan Moller Okin

Alberto L. Siani

10. Autonomy, Divinity, and the Common Good: Selflessness as a Source of Freedom in Thomas Hill Green and Mary Augusta Ward

Patrick Fessenbecker

11. Intersextuality: Derrida & Cixous

Hatics Karaman

12. Responsibility and Involvement: Judith Jarvis Thomson’s Justification of Abortion

Daniela Ringkamp

13. "Living in Contradition": Iris Marion Young’s Contribution to the Philosophy of Sports

Martine Prange

14. Autonomy, Emotional Vulnerability and the Dynamics of Power

Carla Bagnoli

View More



Sandrine Bergès is associate professor in philosophy at Bilkent University in Ankara. Her books include: The Routledge Companion to Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman and A Feminist Perspective on Virtue Ethics. She also co-edited The Social and Political Philosophy of Mary Wollstonecraft (with Alan Coffee).

Alberto L. Siani is a Senior Researcher at the Department of Civilizations and Forms of Knowledge at Università di Pisa, after being an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Yeditepe University, Istanbul. Among others, he published Morte dell’arte, libertà del soggetto. Attualità di Hegel (2017), and edited L’estetica di Hegel (2014, with Mario Farina).