A1 Journal article (refereed)
François Poulain de la Barre (2019)

Reuter, M. (2019). François Poulain de la Barre. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Winter 2019. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/francois-barre/

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Reuter, Martina

Journal or series: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

eISSN: 1095-5054

Publication year: 2019

Volume: Winter 2019

Publisher: Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University

Publication country: United States

Publication language: English

Persistent website address: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/francois-barre/

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/67086


François Poulain de la Barre (1648–1723) is known for his treatises De l’égalité des deux sexes [On the Equality of the Two Sexes] (1673), De l’éducation des dames [On the Education of Ladies] (1674) and De l’excellence des hommes [On the Excellence of Men] (1675). Despite its name the third treatise continues his defense of equality between the sexes by overturning rhetorically presented arguments on the behalf of the excellence of men. Together the three books constitute one of the most detailed analyses of the subjugation of women written in the seventeenth century.

Poulain’s thought was deeply influenced by René Descartes’ philosophy. He used Descartes’ methods of doubt and right reasoning in order to reject prejudices about the inferiority of women and his arguments in defense of the equality of the sexes use many insights drawn from Descartes’ account of the nature of the human being. After an introductory biographical sketch, this entry will first examine the Cartesian foundations of Poulain’s thought and then proceed to a discussion of his analysis of the subjugation of women. Next, his four main arguments for the equality of the sexes are presented and evaluated. The entry closes with a brief discussion of Poulain’s direct and indirect relations to later developments in the history of feminist thought. Throughout, the aim is to present Poulain’s core ideas as well as examine their philosophical validity.

Keywords: philosophers; Cartesianism; gender; woman's status; equality (values); feminism

Free keywords: Poulain de la Barre, François

Fields of science:

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2019

JUFO rating: 2

Last updated on 2023-10-01 at 15:08