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HISTORY 336 Eddie Jeong and Jerry Guo Three Cartesian Feminist treatises by François Poullain de le Barre (p125-174)

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Presentation on theme: "HISTORY 336 Eddie Jeong and Jerry Guo Three Cartesian Feminist treatises by François Poullain de le Barre (p125-174)"— Presentation transcript:

1 HISTORY 336 Eddie Jeong and Jerry Guo Three Cartesian Feminist treatises by François Poullain de le Barre (p )

2 POULLAIN’S PHILOSOPHY  The fundamental prejudice of women’s inferiority originates from lack of intellectual exposure (p125) - The mind is without sex - Anatomy does not determine destiny  Two fundamental principles in his plea for gender equality (p125): 1. free thinking: judging bases on reason, rather than opinion.  Two main premises govern his thesis: 2. Modern over ancient: rejecting the principle of authority, and the belief in the progression of civilization.

3 INTRO TO THE CONVERSATIONS.  Stasimachus: Represents Poullain, and author of the book Equality. (uses Cartesian philosophy, believes in equality opportunity for education, and rejects the learning from perception and experience)  Sophia: a young intelligent woman, who had brought Stasimachus into their argument. (seems like Poullain’s ideal woman)  Timander: Gentleman who is persuadable by reason and good sense. (the opponent to Poullain’s claim for equality)  Eulalia: A well-spoken lady, and friend of Sophia. (defender of Poullain’s arguments)

4 THE FIRST CONVERSATION  Is highly against two areas of masculine abuse of power(p126): - The confining of women into religious orders against their will (p144) - Marriage with and abusive husband, with no chances for divorce (p144)  He distinguishes true learned ladies, from the précieuses. His “true learned ladies can assert their intelligence, without compromising their femininity. (p144)  He would much prefer the précieuses over the savants and professional men. (p145)

5 THE FIRST CONVERSATION  Knowledge is the basis for happiness, and it can only be achieved through the enlightenment given by truth. (p147)  The love for truth creates intellectual and spiritual pleasure, superior to any bodily pleasure. (p148)  Knowledge “is a man for women and a woman for mean, without having any of the disadvantages each sex has for the other. (p149)  Utility of the sciences for women: - They should taught with the same level of care as men (p152)

6 THE FIRST CONVERSATION  Idea of true devotion: - Stasimachus argued that women who participate in enforcing the ideas of their own inferiority, are simply mislead or ignorant. (p154) - He gives examples of female saints who were just as intelligent and generous as their male counterparts. (p154)  How women could be instructed: - Women should not be required to learn Greek or Latin. Instead, they should focus more on more modern French literature and translations of Latin pieces. (p155) - Women need not go to colleges for education. Tutors could teach them like they do for dancing or writing. (p156)

7 THE SECOND CONVERSATION  The state of mind necessary to teach and to be well-taught: - In order to learn and use the knowledge, it is necessary to have the right attitude towards the obtaining of the knowledge. (p158) - It all begins at childhood (p160)  The basis for most people’s certitude: - The child’s mind is like a blank slate, and is vulnerable to influences from outside influences. (p161)

8 THE SECOND CONVERSATION  Three types of intellectual deceitfulness practiced by people who cling to doctrines of the past: 1. The mixed bag of pseudo-learned men: - Stasimachus argues that those who possess no knowledge, yet claim to have it, are even worse than those who actually are ignorant of it. (p163) 2. Intellectual frauds in academic ideology: - Their veneration the ancients doesn’t just encumber their free thinking with heavy handed conformity, but it also prevents them from accessing ne ideas. (p168-9) 3. Men who are reputed for their academic learning: - He mentions the disorderly conduct of their meetings, their arrogance formed from their title. (p172) -These people exclude women from higher learning, just as they exclude reasonable people.

9 QUESTIONS 1.What perspectives does each of the characters in the dialogue represent? 2.Do you think his reference to the saints contradicts his modernist ideology? 3.How does Poullain’s beliefs on the obtaining of truth and knowledge lead him to his ideas on women’s education? 4.His recommendation for educating women without college, is the hiring of tutors. Does this seem like a practical solution in the real world? 5.If Poullain is to be consistent with rationalist philosophy, then why does he put so much emphasis on the influence of majority and public opinion? 6.Do you think the 3 intellectual deceitfulness practiced by people who cling to doctrines of the past, still applies to any modern institutions? (not just academia)


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