Women in philosophy have been ignored. Help crowdfund The Philosopher Queens to have their voices heard. Its editors Rebecca Buxton and Lisa Whiting tell us more about how and why this important book project has come about.
When we began looking for a book on women in philosophy we were not prepared for what we found – or rather didn’t find. An afternoon in Waterstone’s, followed by a trip to Kensington library, followed by an evening of angrily searching online for something, anything on women in philosophy, had generated almost nothing. The only book we found was written by an incredible woman in philosophy herself, Mary Warnock, who wrote a book in women in philosophy over 20 years ago.
Of course, we should have known that books on women in philosophy would be scarce. A cursory glance at an BA or MA Philosophy syllabus will show you a number of modules focusing on the work on men like Aristotle, Plato, Kant, Descartes, Locke, Hume, Hobbes, Rousseau, Rawls, and Russell (to name only a few). We are not saying these modules are not important, of course they are. Part of learning philosophy means engaging with ideas from history, most of which came from men. However, these modules and reading lists would have you believe that no women feature in the history of philosophy whatsoever. That is just not true.
While the rest of academia has been embracing and supporting the work of women, philosophy still seems sadly behind the game. Just under 30% of academics in philosophy in the UK are women, putting our subject behind English, law, anthropology, classics, history, politics and economics. Whilst we have some of a greatest women in academia working in philosophy, our progress seems alarmingly slow.
So after an evening of angrily venting our frustrations on Twitter and finding that many young women working in philosophy felt the same, we decided that it was time to do something ourselves.
The Philosopher Queens was borne out of this frustration. Frustration that philosophy book don’t reflect the work of women in philosophy, both today or throughout history. That’s why we’ve asked 21 women to write a chapter on a woman in philosophy and their impact on the world. There were (obviously) too may women to squeeze into this one book, but we hope that The Philosopher Queens will be an initial step towards filling this important and often ignored gap.
You can pledge to support The Philosopher Queens at the Unbound website. If you do you’ll receive a special hardback and your name in the book as a supporter. There are also lots of other philosophy goodies on the page as well.