On De Beauvoir by Sally Scholz

By Sally Scholz

This short textual content assists scholars in realizing De Beauvoir's philosophy and pondering that will extra totally have interaction in precious, clever category discussion and increase their knowing after all content material. a part of the ''Wadsworth Philosophers Series,'' (which will ultimately include nearly a hundred titles, every one targeting a unmarried ''thinker'' from precedent days to the present), ON DE BEAUVOIR is written by means of a thinker deeply versed within the philosophy of this key philosopher. Like different books within the sequence, this concise e-book bargains adequate perception into the taking into account a extraordinary thinker larger permitting scholars to have interaction within the studying and to debate the cloth at school and on paper.

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48 She has the necessary skills and places them in the service of truth. Clearly, then, there is a strong analogy to be made between the patriots Macaulay writes about and Macaulay herself, between the personal sacrifices they are willing to make in the interest of society and the sacrifice she herself undertakes in memorialising them for the cause of liberty. If they relinquish their personal affections, their lives and their property, she is willing to forsake her reputation as a woman – ‘An Eve to Please Me’ 33 and most certainly the tranquillity and peace that such a reputation provides – in the cause of liberty.

30 Their absence or retreat from public life of the court and city, corrupted by patronage and monied interest, enhances a disinterested and virtuous ‘public spirit’. What possibilities exist, then, for women in the discourse of civic humanism? I might begin by noting that in its origins the inner essence of the citizen, or its virtue, is a resolutely masculine quality. This is less the case because of its etymological origins in the Latin ‘vir’ (man) than because of the defining characteristics of the independent citizen.

Only with the necessary independence will they be able to pursue active virtue as female citizens. As such, more than acting according to rules of good behaviour, they can consciously decide to go beyond the pleasing complacency of Milton’s Eve and Mrs Gabell. If, then, Wollstonecraft’s argument echoes the discourse of republican motherhood, it also emphasises female self-determination. Although she clearly participates in the emerging family ethos, characterised by fewer but healthier and happier children,69 she insists that this ethos should not be promoted at the expense of marital obedience.

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