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Three Cartesian Feminist Treatises
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Three Cartesian Feminist Treatises

Francois Poullain de la Barre


One of the most radical feminist theorists in Europe before the nineteenth century, François Poullain de la Barre (1647–1723) was a man way ahead of his time. Applying Cartesian principles to “the Woman Question,” he demonstrated by rational deduction that the supposedly “self-evident” inequality of the sexes was nothing more than unfounded prejudice. Poullain published three books (anonymously) on this topic in the 1670s, all of which are included in English translation in this volume. In On the Equality of the Two Sexes, he argued that the supposedly “natural” inferiority of women was cultur ... More

Keywords: Two Sexes, Cartesian principles, Woman Question, François Poullain, rational deduction, inferiority, prejudice, Education of Ladies, Excellence of Men, women's liberation movement

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2002 Print ISBN-13: 9780226676531
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226676555.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Francois Poullain de la Barre, author