Gender in Renaissance and Early Modern Philosophy

Main funder

Funder's project number349476

Funds granted by main funder (€)

  • 496 202,00

Funding program

Project timetable

Project start date01/09/2022

Project end date31/08/2026


The last two decades have witnessed an increase in research on the contributions of women to the history of philosophy, with the main focus on early modern women and their contributions to seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century epistemology and metaphysics. Through these efforts many women and some other previously marginalized philosophers have gained important visibility, but there is still very little research on what can in a broad sense of the word be called the feminist arguments of renaissance and early modern authors. This project will address those arguments.

Our general hypothesis is that there is a coherent tradition of feminist arguments in the history of philosophy. We are not primarily looking for historical continuity of influence between authors (though there might be that as well), but for a philosophical continuity of arguments. This continuity will be traced through the conceptual analysis of particular arguments and it must be described as continuity despite difference. We hypothesize that some features of an argument will recur in different philosophical contexts, even when other aspects of that argument – such as, for example, its metaphysical foundation – have changed.

We will test the hypothesis of continuity in relation to four clusters of research questions: (i) the question of education and its relation to innate capacities; (ii) claims about the superiority of women and/or equality between women and men; (iii) the relation between the mind and the body; and finally, (iv) the question of political rule. The team will study texts by renaissance and early modern authors, beginning with Christine de Pisan’s La Cité des Dames (1405) and continuing into the eighteenth century. We will attend in particular to the gradual shift from an Aristotelian to a Cartesian epistemology and metaphysics that takes place during the seventeenth century.

Principal Investigator

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Last updated on 2024-17-04 at 13:01