From a ‘Memorable Place’ to ‘Drops in the Ocean’: On the Marginalization of Women Philosophers in German Historiography of Philosophy

Author(s)Sabrina Ebbersmeyer
JournalBritish Journal for the History of Philosophy
Thematic Cluster/Special IssueHistoriographies of Philosophy 1800–1950
AbstractThis paper examines the striking absence of women philosophers from German historiography of philosophy during the nineteenth and early twentieth century. While the general topic has been considered before, additional documents and considerations are presented that will help us better understand the omission of women philosophers in the German context. Firstly, material is presented showing that women philosophers were widely discussed in Germany prior to 1800. These discussions stand sharply in contrast with the silence about women in subsequent general histories of philosophy. Secondly, it is shown that the absence of women philosophers in German historiography of philosophy during the nineteenth century is not entirely new but has to be seen as a continuation of tendencies characteristic for the historiography of philosophy already during the eighteenth century. Thirdly, it is argued that, towards the end of the nineteenth century, there was a new stimulus for thinking about women in the history of philosophy, namely women’s emancipation and, more specifically, the right to a university education. Seen in this light, the renewed and intensified effort to diminish women philosophers can be understood as a symptomatic attempt to keep women out of academia in general, and out of philosophy in particular.
KeywordsHistoriography of philosophy, Germany, women philosophers, gender, emancipation
Date Published November 14, 2019
Google Scholar Link,5
Open Access?No

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