Jacqueline Broad
Monash University
According to some scholars, Mary Astell’s feminist programme is severely limited by its focus on self-improvement rather than wider social change. In response, I highlight the role of ‘virtuous friendship’ in Astell’s 1694 work, A Serious Proposal to the Ladies. Building on classical ideals and traditional Christian principles, Astell promotes the morally transformative power of virtuous friendship among women. By examining the significance of such friendship to Astell’s feminism, we can see that she did in fact aim to bring about reformation of society and not just the individual.
Keywords Mary Astell  friendship  feminism  virtue
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References found in this work BETA

Aristotle on the Forms of Friendship.John M. Cooper - 1977 - Review of Metaphysics 30 (4):619 - 648.

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Citations of this work BETA

Mary Astell’s Theory of Spiritual Friendship.Nancy Kendrick - 2018 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 26 (1):46-65.
Mary Astell.M. Sowal - 2005 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Mary Astell on the Social Nature of the Cartesian Passions.Maks Sipowicz - 2022 - Studia Z Historii Filozofii 12 (3):37-59.
Acts of Admiration: Wondrous Women in Early Modern Philosophy.Michael Deckard - 2012 - Journal of Early Modern Studies 1 (1):87-108.

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A Serious Proposal to the Ladies.Mary Astell (ed.) - 2002 - Broadview Press.
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The Advantages of Civic Friendship.Joyce L. Jenkins - 1999 - Journal of Philosophical Research 24:459-471.


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