A1 Journal article (refereed)
Subjugation, freedom, and recognition in Poulain de la Barre and Simone de Beauvoir (2024)

Reuter, M. (2024). Subjugation, freedom, and recognition in Poulain de la Barre and Simone de Beauvoir. British Journal for the History of Philosophy, 32(2), 301-318. https://doi.org/10.1080/09608788.2022.2074364

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsReuter, Martina

Journal or seriesBritish Journal for the History of Philosophy



Publication year2024

Publication date23/05/2022


Issue number2

Pages range301-318


Publication countryUnited Kingdom

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessPartially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/81693


In 1949, Simone de Beauvoir cited the fairly unknown author Poulain de la Barre in an epigraph for The Second Sex (1949). When reading The Second Sex, one soon realizes that there are profound similarities between the two authors’ discussions of women’s situation. Both Poulain and Beauvoir view the subjection of women as a process that includes choice as well as force. Liberation necessarily requires overcoming opinions rooted in custom and prejudice. The article develops a comparison between the arguments of Poulain and Beauvoir in order to illuminate interesting features in the works of both authors. The focus is on similarities as well as differences. The first section examines how prejudice and the practices of men’s self-interest have contributed to the reification of women. Section 2 discusses the peculiar nature of prejudices about oneself and section 3 focuses on the metaphysical relation between freedom and materiality. Finally, section 4 examines how mutual recognition becomes possible in the context of freedom, the search for truth, and friendship.

Keywordswoman's statussubmissionprejudicesobjectificationfreedomrecognition (philosophy)social philosophy

Free keywordsPoulain de la Barre, François; Beauvoir, Simone de; subjugation; freedom; recognition

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Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2022

JUFO rating2

Last updated on 2024-14-06 at 23:26