History of Women Philosophers and Scientists, Paderborn, Germany

The Teaching and Research Area “History of Women Philosophers and Scientists” at the Philosophy Department of the University of Paderborn (Germany) will host an

International Workshop
“The Self-Determined Individual in the Enlightenment“
September 14th 2015
University of Paderborn, Germany

It has often been pointed out that emancipation of the individual from traditional conventions has been the hallmark of the European enlightenment. But only recently the contribution of female philosophers and political thinkers to this process has become the focus of research in the history of philosophy and political theory. The present workshop has the aim to present some cutting-edge research contributions to this burgeoning field.


Karen Green (Monash University/Melbourne):
Reassessing the Impact of the ‘Republican Virago’

In November 1790 a young Mary Wollstonecraft reviewed Letters on Education, one of the last major works of the celebrated and execrated republican historian, Catharine Macaulay, whose eight volume history of the Stuarts and the English Civil War had begun to appear in 1763. Immediately after completing her review, Wollstonecraft penned her response to Burke, the Vindication of the Rights of Men. Wollstonecraft admired and was profoundly influenced by Macaulay, and it is argued in this paper that a full understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of Wollstonecraft’s feminism is impossible without an acknowledgement of the influence of Macaulay. More broadly, this paper sets out to demonstrate that Macaulay was an influential advocate for a central strand of enlightenment radicalism, which has been lost sight of, as a result of the concentration of contemporary political theory on the philosophies of Hobbes, Bentham, and Kant. Her synthetic approach, which was grounded in intellectualist theism, in Locke, and in seventeenth-century republicanism, appealed to reformers in both America and France. It constitutes an important, influential strand of enlightenment political thought which deserves to be more fully recognized by contemporary political philosophers.

Ana Rodrigues (University of Paderborn):
Emilie Du Châtelet on Self-Care

In my talk, I will investigate Châtelet’s views concerning happiness from a new perspective. Retracing the variety of physiological, psychological and social aspects Du Châtelet unfolds in her Réflexions sur le Bonheur, I will explicate her particular concept of the good life. The emphasis will be put on her strong concept of the self which legitimates to designate her treatise on happiness as an essay on self-care.

Andreas Blank (University of Paderborn):
Anne-Thérèse de Lambert on Esteem, Friendship and Aging

My paper will examine the relevance of natural-law based conceptions of virtue for the moral economy of esteem in early modern accounts of gender relations. Here, I will focus on writings by Marie-Thérèse de Lambert (1647-1733), whose importance for early modern political has been recently brought to light by Karen Green. In a series of essays, Lambert discusses issues such as the connection between human nature and virtue, the problem of complaisance, and the relevance of aging (and especially the aging of women) for the empirical and normative aspects of esteem. I will argue that in Lambert a natural-law based normative conception of esteem and self-esteem provides the basis for a thorough critique of gender-related domination.

Ruth Hagengruber (University of Paderborn):
Societal and Cosmologic Revolution in Emilie du Châtelet

Enlightened philosophy stands for its criticism against blind dogmatisms and conventionalist views on God, King and society, the worth of man and women and their relation to other beings. It challenged the up to then presented ideas on the divine soul and earthly matter and questioned the cosmologic order. This fundamental criticism shattered the concepts of morals and of nature. The vast investigations on this period have shaped philosophic and scientific research for more than two hundred years.

However, only recently the philosophy of Emilie du Chatelet has come to the first row of Enlightenment investigation and is now to play an eminent role in this discussion. Du Chatelet’s reflection on the inter-connection of physics and morals, of laws of nature and ethics shape the cornerstone of her philosophy, as I propose. Analogous to Newtonian physics, societal aggregation is directed by laws of attraction, causing closer and distant relations. My talk unfolds how this shapes the idea of the individual in Du Chatelet’s philosophy.

Organisation: Prof. Dr. Ruth Hagengruber, PD Dr. Andreas Blank

For more information, go to www.upb.de/self-determined-individual

Date: September 14th, 2015, 2 to 6 pm;
Place: University of Paderborn, Room: L2.201

Prof. Dr. Ruth Hagengruber
Professorin für Philosophie
Leitung des Fachs Philosophie
Universität Paderborn
Warburger Str. 100
33098 Paderborn
Fon: *49-5251-602308/09

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