Chapter

Introduction: Poullain De La Barre's Cartesian Feminism

Marcelle Maistre Welch and Vivien Bosley

in Three Cartesian Feminist Treatises

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2002 | ISBN: 9780226676531
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226676555 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226676555.003.0001
Introduction: Poullain De La Barre's Cartesian Feminism

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François Poullain de la Barre wrote three treatises on women's nature and destiny. Bringing Cartesian objectivity to gender issues, he published On the Equality of the Two Sexes: A Physical and Moral Discourse which Shows the Importance of Getting Rid of One's Prejudices anonymously in 1673, which addressed cultural inequalities between the sexes. The following year, Poullain published On the Education of Ladies: For Training the Mind in the Sciences and in Moral Judgment, in which he advocated an enlightened education, soundly grounded in Cartesian philosophy, for women of leisure. Then in 1675, and in spite of its misleading and incomplete title, On the Excellence of Men: Against the Equality of Sexes, he applied the concept of equality between the sexes to a refutation of misogynist scholastic discourse. By systematically employing Cartesian methodology, Poullain rejected tradition as a means of dealing with the issue of feminism.

Keywords: François Poullain; women; education; equality; feminism; treatises; leisure; Two Sexes; Education of Ladies; Excellence of Men

Chapter.  14872 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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