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On the Equality of the Two Sexes

On the Equality of the Two Sexes

A Physical and Moral Discourse Which Shows the Importance of Getting Rid of One's Prejudices

(p.49) On the Equality of the Two Sexes
Three Cartesian Feminist Treatises
Marcelle Maistre WelchVivien Bosley
University of Chicago Press

This chapter discusses François Poullain de la Barre's discourse on the equality of the two sexes. It seemed that the best way to introduce such an important topic was through a clear-cut, obvious example that is of interest to everybody. The chapter offers proofs that a very deep-seated universal belief is the result of prejudice and error in order to convince readers to judge things for themselves and not to let themselves be deceived by the opinions of others. It examines this idea by applying the rule of truth—accept nothing as true unless it is supported by clear and distinct ideas—and uses examples from everyday life to show that women have many advantages that make them the equals of men. This comprises the first part of the chapter. The second part addresses the arguments of the scholars and is a refutation of their proofs.

Keywords:   François Poullain, equality, universal belief, prejudice, rule of truth, women

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