Ruth Hagengruber on Diotima and the History of Philosophy

How can we understand the important impact of women philosophers upon the discipline? Ruth E. Hagengruber about Diotima and the History of Philosophy.

“The standard history, retelling the narrative of the single and exceptional woman, tends like a veil to conceal the tradition of women’s ideas. On the other side oft-repeated claims of modesty and humility on the part of the authors of these ideas do not withstand a more detailed investigation…Aspasia and Diotima, distinguished as teachers of Socrates, have an established role in European cultural history, although they are presumably the most critically and controversially discussed women philosophers within both mainstream and feminist historical research… Marie de Gournay, author of The Equality of Men and Women (1622) and editor and commentator on Montaigne, had a wide impact by grace of the royal backing she received, so that her writings were even read in England. The courage with which she presented her philosophical ideas made her a famous figure of her age and also later. She compared herself to Diotima and Aspasia, and judged the value of male philosophical writings from the perspective of their treatment of gender.”

Hagengruber, Ruth. “Cutting through the Veil of Ignorance. Rewriting the History of Philosophy”. The Monist. 2015;98:34-42.

Ruth E. Hagengruber, Director of the Center for the History of Women Philosophers, will speak about Diotima and the history of philosophy at the IV Eroticism and Philosophy online conference.

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