Northwestern Events Calendar


Philosophy Colloquium Series - Jacqueline Broad, Monash University

When: Friday, May 14, 2021
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM CT

Where: Online

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Emily Berry   (847) 491-3656

Group: Philosophy Colloquium Series

Category: Academic


  “The Logic of Dignity: The Philosophical Foundations of Women’s Rights, 1600–1740.”

This paper investigates the philosophical foundations of women’s rights in defenses of women from the renaissance to the early modern period in Europe. My aim is to demonstrate that enlightenment calls for women’s rights—in the general sense of entitlements, privileges, and freedoms for women—do not emerge as radically new developments but rather as continuations of a recurring logic in earlier defenses of women’s dignity. Because dignity can be defined broadly as “worth, nobleness, excellence,” in this paper “the logic of dignity” will also refer to the logic of worth, nobility, and excellence. To achieve my aim, I will trace the cognate notions of dignity, worth, nobility, and excellence in the works of Dante and Italian pro-woman treatises of the renaissance, through to the arguments of Cartesian feminists in the seventeenth century, namely Mary Astell. More specifically, I will demonstrate that early modern pro-woman arguments grounded on these cognate concepts draw on the same patterns of argument found in later defenses of women’s rights.  *This paper is co-written with Marguerite Deslauriers (McGill)

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