Women Philosophers

Genre and the Boundaries of Philosophy


Catherine Villanueva Gardner

First Edition • July 1, 2003 • 214 pages


Print ISBN: 9780813341330 • $43.00 USD$46.00 CAN

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Long considered “non-philosophical,” the letters and novels of women like Catharine Macaulay, Mary Wollstonecraft, and George Eliot have often been omitted from the canon of the Western philosophical tradition. This unfortunate omission is corrected here through Catherine Villanueva Gardner’s thorough discussion of the philosophical importance of their work. Gardner also looks carefully at why letters and novels have been considered this way since they are so prevalent in the work of women in general. Gardner argues that the devaluation or exclusion of certain forms of writing is connected to the biases that underpin the Western ethical tradition. This book is critical reading for courses in introductory philosophy and women’s studies.


Catherine Villanueva Gardner is assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.

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Catherine Gardner’s Women Philosophers is a rich and vital resource for philosophers in general, historians of philosophy, and the many feminist philosophers who are in the process of articulating new points of view. Her emphasis on style and form-so frequently overlooked-provides a sparkling introduction to five important thinkers, and the work as a whole is a remarkable addition to the growing corpus of work that attempts to give voice to the thought of women over time.
— Jane Duran, University of California, Santa Barbara

One of the most exciting projects in contemporary philosophy is the expansion of the canon to include the voices of forgotten women philosophers. Gardner makes a signal contribution to this project by revealing the philosophical vigor of five women long noted as authors but rarely studied as philosopher. Not only does Gardner resurrect the original moral theories of these medieval and modern philosophers; she crafts a compelling argument on the centrality of form and style to all philosophical analysis.
— John J. Conley, S.J., Fordham University

Gardner is most interested in issues related to the boundaries created within the discipline about what counts as philosophical, and why. With books such as Gardner’s, the map of women’s intellectual history becomes more visible, its importance ever more apparent. This work needs to be integrated at every level of philosophical study.
— Sara Ebenreck, St. Mary’s College of Maryland APA Newsletters, Volume , Number 1

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