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Introduction: Poullain De La Barre's Cartesian Feminism

Introduction: Poullain De La Barre's Cartesian Feminism

Chapter:
(p.3) Introduction: Poullain De La Barre's Cartesian Feminism
Source:
Three Cartesian Feminist Treatises
Author(s):
Marcelle Maistre WelchVivien Bosley
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226676555.003.0001

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

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