Jacqueline Broad
Monash University
Some scholars have identified a puzzle in the writings of Mary Astell (1666–1731), a deeply religious feminist thinker of the early modern period. On the one hand, Astell strongly urges her fellow women to preserve their independence of judgement from men; yet, on the other, she insists upon those same women maintaining a submissive deference to the Anglican church. These two positions appear to be incompatible. In this paper, I propose a historical-contextualist solution to the puzzle: I argue that the seeming inconsistency can be dispelled through a close examination of (i) the concepts of selfhood and self-government in Anglican women’s devotional texts of the period, and of (ii) the role that these concepts play in Astell’s feminist arguments.
Keywords self-government  self  agency  Mary Astell  Elizabeth Burnet  autonomy
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DOI 10.1080/09672559.2019.1663234
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References found in this work BETA

Custom Freedom and Equality: Mary Astell on Marriage and Women's Education.Karen Detlefsen - 2016 - In Penny Weiss & Alice Sowaal (eds.), Feminist Interpretations of Mary Astell. Pennsylvania State University Press. pp. 74-92.
Mary Astell on Marriage and Lockean Slavery.Jacqueline Broad - 2014 - History of Political Thought 35 (4):717–38.
Explaining Addiction: How Far Does the Reward Account of Motivation Take Us?Jeanette Kennett & Doug McConnell - 2013 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 56 (5):470 - 489.

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Citations of this work BETA

New Perspectives on Agency in Early Modern Philosophy.Ruth Boeker - 2019 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 27 (5):625-630.

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The Soul.R. W. Serjeantson - 2011 - In Desmond M. Clarke & Catherine Wilson (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy in Early Modern Europe. Oxford University Press.
Astell, Mary.Jacqueline Broad - 2017 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Early Modern Women on Metaphysics.Emily Thomas (ed.) - 2018 - Cambridge University Press.


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