Melissa Shew and Kimberly Garchar

Jul 25, 2023

Philosophy for Girls

An Invitation to the Life of Thought

Oxford University Press 2020

Melissa Shew and Kimberly Garchar's book Philosophy for Girls: An Invitation to the Life of Thought (Oxford UP, 2020) empowers its readers by exploring enduring, challenging, and timely philosophical issues in new essays written by expert women philosophers. The book will inspire and entice these philosophers' younger counterparts, curious readers of all genders, and all who support equity in philosophy.

If asked to envision a philosopher, people might imagine a bearded man, probably Greek, perhaps in a toga, pontificating about abstract ideas. Or they might think of that same man in the Enlightenment, gripping a quill pen and pouring universal truths onto a page. They may even call to mind a much more modern man, wearing a black sweater and smoking a cigarette in a Paris café, expressing existential angst in a new novel or essay.

What people are unlikely to picture, though, is a woman. Women have historically been excluded from the discipline of philosophy and remain largely marginalized in contemporary textbooks and anthologies. The under-representation of women in secondary and post-secondary curricula makes it harder for young women to see themselves as future philosophers. In fact, it makes it harder for all people to engage the valuable contributions that women have made and continue to make to intellectual thought. While some progress has been made in building a more inclusive world of philosophy, especially in the last fifty years, important work remains to be done.

Philosophy for Girls helps correct the pervasive and problematic omission of women from philosophy. Divided into four sections that connect to major, primary fields in philosophy (metaphysics, epistemology, social and political philosophy, and ethics), this anthology is unique: chapters are all written by women, and each chapter opens with an anecdote about a girl or woman from mythology, history, art, literature, or science to introduce chapter topics. Further, nearly all primary and secondary sources used in the chapters are written by women philosophers. The book is written in a rigorous, academic spirit but in lively and engaging prose, making serious philosophical insights accessible to readers who are new to philosophy.

This book appeals to a wide audience. Individual readers will find value in these pages--especially girls and women ages 16-24, as well as university and high school educators and students who want a change from standard anthologies that include few or no women. The book's contributors both represent and map the diverse landscape of philosophy, highlighting its engagement with themes of gender and equity. In doing so, they encourage philosophers current and future philosophers to explore new territory and further develop the topography of the field.

Philosophy for Girls is a rigorous yet accessible entry-point to philosophical contemplation designed to inspire a new generation of philosophers.

Morteza Hajizadeh is a Ph.D. graduate in English from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. His research interests are Cultural Studies; Critical Theory; Environmental History; Medieval (Intellectual) History; Gothic Studies; 18th and 19th Century British Literature. YouTube channel.

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Morteza Hajizadeh

Morteza Hajizadeh is a Ph.D. graduate in English from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. His research interests are Cultural Studies; Critical Theory; Environmental History; Medieval (Intellectual) History; Gothic Studies; 18th and 19th Century British Literature. YouTube channel. Twitter.

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