“Bad philosophy” and “derivative philosophy”: Labels that keep women out of the canon

Metaphilosophy 54 (2-3):238-253 (2023)
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Efforts to include women in the canon have long been beset by reactionary gatekeeping, typified by the charge “That's not philosophy.” That charge doesn't apply to early and mid‐analytic female philosophers—Welby, Ladd‐Franklin, Bryant, Jones, de Laguna, Stebbing, Ambrose, MacDonald—with job titles like lecturer in logic and professor of philosophy and publications in Mind, the Journal of Philosophy, and Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society. It's hopeless to dismiss their work as “not philosophy.” But comparable reactionary gatekeeping affects them, this paper argues, typified by the labels “bad philosophy” and “derivative philosophy.” Virtue and vice epistemology help explain why these women have been neglected and why their own approaches are epistemically virtuous. Their contemporaries and historians are deficient in scholarly virtues in labelling these women's work “bad” or derived from male mentors with no or specious justification. Their disparaged qualities—intellectual humility, modesty, critical self‐reflection, disclosing biases—are often epistemic virtues.



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Author Profiles

Frederique Janssen-Lauret
University of Manchester
Sophia Connell
Birkbeck, University of London

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