Hypatia 29 (4):925-941 (2014)

Martina Reuter
University of Helsinki
The article investigates the philosophical foundations and details of Mary Wollstonecraft's criticism of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's views on the education and nature of women. I argue that Wollstonecraft's criticism must not be understood as a constructionist critique of biological reductionism. The first section analyzes the differences between Wollstonecraft's and Rousseau's views on the possibility of a true civilization and shows how these differences connect to their respective conceptions of moral psychology. The section shows that Wollstonecraft's disagreement with Rousseau's views on women was rooted in a broad scope of philosophical disagreement. The second section focuses on Rousseau's concept of nature, and I argue that Rousseau was neither a biological determinist nor a functionalist who denied that nature had any normative significance. The section ends with a discussion of Wollstonecraft's criticism of Rousseau's application of the distinction between the natural and the artificial. The third section focuses on Wollstonecraft's critique of Rousseau's claim that there are different standards for the perfectibility of men and women. The article concludes with a critical discussion of the claim that Aristotle would have provided Wollstonecraft with the philosophical tools she needed for her criticism of Rousseau
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DOI 10.1111/hypa.12105
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References found in this work BETA

Women in Western Political Thought.Susan Moller Okin - 1980 - Princeton University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Mary Wollstonecraft on the Imagination.Martina Reuter - 2017 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 25 (6):1138-1160.

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