The Philosophy of Mary Astell: An Early Modern Theory of Virtue

Hardcover | October 3, 2015

byJacqueline Broad

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Mary Astell (1666-1731) is best known today as one of the earliest English feminists. She is also known as a Tory political pamphleteer, an Anglican apologist, an eloquent rhetorician, and an educational theorist. In this book, Jacqueline Broad interprets Astell first and foremost as a moralphilosopher, or as someone committed to providing guidance on how best to live and how to attain happiness. The central claim of this work is that all the different strands of Astell's thought - her theory of knowledge, her metaphysics, her philosophy of the passions, her feminist vision, and herconservative political views - are best understood in light of her ethical objectives. To demonstrate this, Broad examines Astell's major writings and traces her programme to bring about a moral transformation of character in her fellow women. This programme draws on several key aspects ofseventeenth-century philosophy, including Cartesian and Neoplatonist epistemologies, proofs for the existence of God, arguments for the immaterial soul, and theories about how to regulate the passions in accordance with reason. At the heart of Astell's philosophy, it is argued, lies a theory ofvirtue and guidelines on how to cultivate generosity of character, a benevolent disposition toward other people, and the virtue of moderation.This book will help readers to see Astell's feminist, political, and religious views in the context of her wider philosophical vision. It provides a rich and illuminating account of a unique female-centred contribution to the philosophy of the early modern period. It will appeal to students andscholars in philosophy, history of ideas, and gender studies.

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Mary Astell (1666-1731) is best known today as one of the earliest English feminists. She is also known as a Tory political pamphleteer, an Anglican apologist, an eloquent rhetorician, and an educational theorist. In this book, Jacqueline Broad interprets Astell first and foremost as a moralphilosopher, or as someone committed to provi...

Jacqueline Broad is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow in the Philosophy Department of the School of Philosophical, Historical, and International Studies at Monash University, Melbourne. Her main area of research interest is early modern women's philosophy. She is the author of Women Philosophers of the Seventeenth Century (C...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:224 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.72 inPublished:October 3, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198716818

ISBN - 13:9780198716815

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. Knowledge3. God4. Soul and Body5. Virtue and the Passions6. Love7. Marriage8. Moderation9. ConclusionBibliographyIndex