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How women have shaped philosophy: nine female philosophers our authors admire

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When asked to name a philosopher, it is more than likely that many of the major thinkers that spring to mind will be male. Throughout history, men have dominated the philosophical canon, with women vastly underrepresented. However, we can in fact trace women engaging in philosophical discourse back to ancient times. There is a long and rich tradition of female thinkers who have made important contributions to philosophy, and whose works merit further recognition.To celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month this month, we asked some of our authors to tell us about a female philosopher they admire, and why. Read their responses below for an illuminating and varied look at female thinkers and the contributions they have made to the field.Macrina the Younger“Ancient philosophy is not known for female thinkers. Only a few names are apt to spring to mind here, such as Diotima, a possibly fictional character featured in Plato’s Symposium, or Hypatia, famously murdered by a Christian mob in late ancient Alexandria. But there are hidden figures to be found, like Macrina the Younger (d. 379 AD), sister of the Greek church father and philosopher Gregory of Nyssa. Gregory devoted two works to his sister after her death, in what has been called “the most spectacular representation of a woman saint as philosopher” in antiquity. I would encourage anyone with an interest in Platonism or Christianity and philosophy to read his dialogue On Soul and Resurrection, in which Macrina is cast in the role of a female, Christian Socrates, discoursing on immortality while she is literally on her death bed. Paired with his more hagiographic account in his Life of Macrina, it gives us a vivid sense of her piety and learning, and of the way that pagan philosophy was taken up and repurposed by late ancient Christian theologians.”– Peter Adamson, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, author of the A History of Philosophy Without any. . .

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News source: OUPblog » Philosophy

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