Empowerment and Interconnectivity

Toward a Feminist History of Utilitarian Philosophy

By (author) Catherine Villanueva Gardner

Paperback - £22.95

Publication date:

15 April 2015

Length of book:

224 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271058153

Feminist history of philosophy has successfully focused thus far on canon revision, canon critique, and the recovery of neglected or forgotten women philosophers. However, the methodology remains underexplored, and it seems timely to ask larger questions about how the history of philosophy is to be done and whether there is, or needs to be, a specifically feminist approach to the history of philosophy. In Empowerment and Interconnectivity, Catherine Gardner examines the philosophy of three neglected women philosophers, Catharine Beecher, Frances Wright, and Anna Doyle Wheeler, all of whom were British or American utilitarian philosophers of one stripe or another. Gardner’s focus in this book is less on accounting for the neglect or disappearance of these women philosophers and more on those methodological (or epistemological) questions we need to ask in order to recover their philosophy and categorize it as feminist.

Empowerment and Interconnectivity is an important, finely reasoned, politely radical book that will be widely discussed. It makes a persuasive case that histories of philosophy need to be reconceived to ‘fit’ feminist philosophy rather than the other way around. Centering on methodological analyses, the book both honors and revitalizes a philosophical heritage of justice-seeking feminists no longer marginalized, even erased, from ‘patrimonial’ histories.”

—Elizabeth K. Minnich, founding member of the Society for the Study of Women Philosophers