Women Philosophers of the Early Modern Period (review)
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BOOK REVIEWS 463 awareness is included in every thought without need for a second thought of the first. Awareness of the object of thought could be connected with the volition, or judgment, that the thought represents some particular thing. Nadler's article deals with a related issue by concentrating on Malebranche, proposing that he is a kind of "direct realist." This is, of course, quite contrary to the spirit of most interpretations of Malebranche. The relevance of Nadler's thesis in this context is that it makes it harder to characterize clearly what philosophical points might have been at issue between Arnauld and Malebranche aside from the dispute over the ontological status of ideas. There is, finally, a second article by Kremer on "Grace and Free Will in Arnauld." Arnauld himself attached much more importance to his work in theology than his better remembered work in philosophy. Kremer's article, however, shows that Arnauld sometimes intertwined philosophical and theological concerns such that it is not necessary to be a theologian to appreciate the issues. If the current surge of interest in Arnauld's distinctive, original contributions to philosophy stimulates further work, much of it will probably engage his own overarching theological concerns. ALAN NELSON Universityof California, Irvine Margaret Atherton, editor. Women Philosophersof theEarly Modern Period. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1994. Pp. ix + 166. Cloth, $29.95. The contribution of women to the history of philosophy is still largely unexplored territory. The marginal position of female philosophers in the times when they lived and in the history of philosophy as it has subsequendy been written has bequeathed us a legacy of historical and practical problems which have to be faced before the women philosophers of the past can be placed in relation to modern philosophy. Not least among these problems is the paucity of texts: the limited output of women writing in what we now recognize as identifiably philosophical terms, and the equally limited availability of those texts nowadays. There is a desperate need for good modern editions and well-annotated anthologies. And it is, presumably, to meet this need that Margaret Atherton has compiled her collection, Women Philosophersof the Early Modem Period. In many areas of Women's Studies, the rush to publish, in well-meant haste to rectify the neglect of history, has resulted in editions of limited value to modern readers. This is particularly true of early modern texts. A case in point is Kate Lilley's edition of Margaret Cavendish's Blazing World, which lacks the critical apparatus to explicate the philosophical content that Cavendish so mercilessly satirizes in that work. The Atherton collection is open to similar criticism. But first of all let me say that if I were asked to suggest names for inclusion in an anthology of the writings of women philosophers of the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, it would certainly include most of those represented in this collection: Elizabeth of Bohemia, Margaret Cavendish, Anne Conway, Lady Masham and Cather- 464 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 34:3 JULY 1996 ine Trotter. It might also include Mary Astell. But it certainly would not extend to Mary Shepherd (d. 1847), whose presence here immediately raises questions about the principles of selection and the adequacy of its historical basis. It is hard to justify such an anachronistic inclusion, even as a make-weight, when there are other early modern figures who are not represented--where, one would like to know, are Queen Christina , Anna Maria van Schurmann and Sor Juana de la Cruz? There is no consistent theme dictating the choice of the passages selected. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the criterion for selection was neither philosophical nor historical, but practical : easy availability in the English language. Six of the seven women here included were British. The only non-Briton is Princess Elizabeth, but her letters are conveniently available in John J. Blom's translation (taken here from Descartes: His Moral Philosophy and Psychology, 1978). Lady Masham is represented by her correspondence with Leibniz, which she conducted in English, he in French. Atherton prints her letters but not his. It is singularly unhelpful to exclude the arguments to which she was...