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The Philosopher Queens: The lives and legacies of philosophy's unsung women

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'This is brilliant. A book about women in philosophy by women in philosophy – love it!' Elif Shafak Where are the women philosophers? The answer is right here. The history of philosophy has not done women justice: you’ve probably heard the names Plato, Kant, Nietzsche and Locke – but what about Hypatia, Arendt, Oluwole and Young? The Philosopher Queens is a long-awaited book 'This is brilliant. A book about women in philosophy by women in philosophy – love it!' Elif Shafak Where are the women philosophers? The answer is right here. The history of philosophy has not done women justice: you’ve probably heard the names Plato, Kant, Nietzsche and Locke – but what about Hypatia, Arendt, Oluwole and Young? The Philosopher Queens is a long-awaited book about the lives and works of women in philosophy by women in philosophy. This collection brings to centre stage twenty prominent women whose ideas have had a profound – but for the most part uncredited – impact on the world. You’ll learn about Ban Zhao, the first woman historian in ancient Chinese history; Angela Davis, perhaps the most iconic symbol of the American Black Power Movement; Azizah Y. al-Hibri, known for examining the intersection of Islamic law and gender equality; and many more. For anyone who has wondered where the women philosophers are, or anyone curious about the history of ideas – it's time to meet the philosopher queens.


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'This is brilliant. A book about women in philosophy by women in philosophy – love it!' Elif Shafak Where are the women philosophers? The answer is right here. The history of philosophy has not done women justice: you’ve probably heard the names Plato, Kant, Nietzsche and Locke – but what about Hypatia, Arendt, Oluwole and Young? The Philosopher Queens is a long-awaited book 'This is brilliant. A book about women in philosophy by women in philosophy – love it!' Elif Shafak Where are the women philosophers? The answer is right here. The history of philosophy has not done women justice: you’ve probably heard the names Plato, Kant, Nietzsche and Locke – but what about Hypatia, Arendt, Oluwole and Young? The Philosopher Queens is a long-awaited book about the lives and works of women in philosophy by women in philosophy. This collection brings to centre stage twenty prominent women whose ideas have had a profound – but for the most part uncredited – impact on the world. You’ll learn about Ban Zhao, the first woman historian in ancient Chinese history; Angela Davis, perhaps the most iconic symbol of the American Black Power Movement; Azizah Y. al-Hibri, known for examining the intersection of Islamic law and gender equality; and many more. For anyone who has wondered where the women philosophers are, or anyone curious about the history of ideas – it's time to meet the philosopher queens.

30 review for The Philosopher Queens: The lives and legacies of philosophy's unsung women

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rachael

    I read this book slowly, savouring it - an entry each day (first thing in the morning, accompanying my breakfast). Before I started reading, I had only heard of 7 of the philosophers covered in this book. Of them, I could probably give a semi-detailed account of only 2. This is a great introduction to a diverse bunch of women across time and the globe, and their various notable contributions to various areas of philosophy (including feminism, political theory, metaphysics, phenomenology, morality I read this book slowly, savouring it - an entry each day (first thing in the morning, accompanying my breakfast). Before I started reading, I had only heard of 7 of the philosophers covered in this book. Of them, I could probably give a semi-detailed account of only 2. This is a great introduction to a diverse bunch of women across time and the globe, and their various notable contributions to various areas of philosophy (including feminism, political theory, metaphysics, phenomenology, morality and more). I like the care taken to choose and describe how each woman contributed to philosophy – what they wrote (if they did) and what they taught to others – their ideals and values and theories, their commentaries and developments on previous thoughts and their messages to others and influences on those following them. This book isn't just a collection of woman philosophers, it also carries undertones throughout speaking of the lack of recognition and injustice against women and their work, and is arguing for us to look out for and take female academics and philosophers more seriously, because unfortunately that bias is still prevalent today. The entries are written quite passionately. They read not incredibly formally and aloof, but lighter and more accessible, and, importantly, genuine and sincere. The authors are not coming from a neutral factual stance but a position of admiration - they express how good each woman philosopher was, how important their thoughts and work was (and is). Sometimes, with its use of metaphors and at times almost flowery language, the book reads as more descriptive and literature-like than most straight non-fiction. It's a different tone from most other books I've read, but I think I like it that way. The authors aren't trying to be something they're not, but writing in a way true to them. It's as if they are telling you in person about these philosophers (and I admire that). And despite every entry being written by a different author, they don’t read jarringly different at all – there's actually a really nice flow to the book as a whole. The only thing is, I want more. These are lovely little introductions, and after each entry I wanted to read more! But that's the point of the book of course - to introduce the reader to a number of women philosophers and their work. This is a starting point opening up all sorts of roads to explore further. (Though, it would be awesome if they made a 2nd version - 20 more Philosopher Queens, exploring some of the additional names listed in the back!) Oh, and have I not mentioned the artwork yet? It is beautiful, and really adds to the book. Love it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    This book is written for people like me. Having read a considerable number of “great” books, it is understood that it means I have read a lot of writing from white dead dudes. When confronted with the obvious dismissive criticism due to lack of diversity, I am left with the feeble response that I can only read what is extant and published. Which is true, but also lazy. Rebecca Buxton and Lisa Whiting compiled Philosopher’s Queens to showcase the published writings of women from various times and This book is written for people like me. Having read a considerable number of “great” books, it is understood that it means I have read a lot of writing from white dead dudes. When confronted with the obvious dismissive criticism due to lack of diversity, I am left with the feeble response that I can only read what is extant and published. Which is true, but also lazy. Rebecca Buxton and Lisa Whiting compiled Philosopher’s Queens to showcase the published writings of women from various times and parts of the world. They bring the chairs to the table and ensure this collection of brilliant, and often times iconoclastic, women are part of the conversation. Sometimes, they were in the background of their more famous male counterparts, as inspiration, editors, or sounding boards, but often they stand alone. Depending on their time, some were more well-known than others. Thinkers whose ideas also deserve their place among their culture’s respective canons. Written as short biographies, each by a different author who is part a new generation of women philosophers, this book achieves exactly what it sets out to do. It provides an introduction and map to some of the great women thinkers who have often been sidelined and at risk of being forgotten. As the back jacket succinctly states: For anyone who has wondered where the women philosophers are, or anyone curious about the history of ideas – it’s time to meet the philosopher queens. Reducing thinking by dismissing thinkers should not be the goal. The traditional great books from history don’t necessarily need to be disregarded due to their lack of diversity, however, they cannot exist in a vacuum. Rediscovering thinkers marginalized in their own time helps us expand thinking in our time and become better thinkers ourselves. Books like these serve a critical role in that admirable goal.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Iina

    An excellent introduction into the contributions women have made in philosophy and political thought. [I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, but all views here are my own.] This book showcases a selection of female philosophers from Ancient Greece to modern day, with a few pages for each. I knew about some of these women, but most were quite unknown to me. The text is accessible to non-experts but enjoyable to those who know more about the topic; I was transported back to my stud An excellent introduction into the contributions women have made in philosophy and political thought. [I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, but all views here are my own.] This book showcases a selection of female philosophers from Ancient Greece to modern day, with a few pages for each. I knew about some of these women, but most were quite unknown to me. The text is accessible to non-experts but enjoyable to those who know more about the topic; I was transported back to my student days (in the best way, I loved reading and studying these sorts of things). There is a good variety and diversity in the philosophers selected, and at the back of the book there are resources for further reading, and a longer list of other female philosophers one can research.

  4. 5 out of 5

    LynnDee (LynnDee's Library)

    3.5/5 I'm definitely down to read about forgotten women of history, especially in fields like philosophy where I only knew about male philosophers. My issue, which is more me than the book, is that my brain is just not wired to really get philosophy. So I appreciated this for the historical aspect but the philosophies these women were known for just went over my head. I would still recommend it though for anyone interested in either women's history, philosophy, or both. 3.5/5 I'm definitely down to read about forgotten women of history, especially in fields like philosophy where I only knew about male philosophers. My issue, which is more me than the book, is that my brain is just not wired to really get philosophy. So I appreciated this for the historical aspect but the philosophies these women were known for just went over my head. I would still recommend it though for anyone interested in either women's history, philosophy, or both.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Peta Garside

    before reading i knew maybe 4 of the women in here, these women are so underrated and their ideas are so integral to so many facets of philosophy.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Emma Shaw

    The Philosopher Queens is a beautifully illustrated non-fiction book that introduces the reader to the forgotten female voices of philosophy. A subject long dominated by the works of men, the author's of this book decided it was time to bring those forgotten voices into the light for all to hear and finally give them the credit for their contributions they deserve. The book is written as a series of essays that each focus on a different woman. The essay outlines the key points of her ideas and i The Philosopher Queens is a beautifully illustrated non-fiction book that introduces the reader to the forgotten female voices of philosophy. A subject long dominated by the works of men, the author's of this book decided it was time to bring those forgotten voices into the light for all to hear and finally give them the credit for their contributions they deserve. The book is written as a series of essays that each focus on a different woman. The essay outlines the key points of her ideas and influence on philosophy, as well as personal details such as her upbringing, education, personal life and character. At the end of the book there is information about where you can read more about them should you wish to further explore their ideas. For me, it was the personal details combined with the stunning portrait of each woman that accompanies each essay, that brought each woman to life and made them leap from the pages in vivid technicolour. I am not a philosopher. I've never studied it, and know very little about the subject. But I found this to be a fascinating read that educated me without feeling too heavy or academic. It surprised me to see some familiar names in this book, like George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans, to give her non-pen name), Iris Murdoch and Angela Davis, and I will certainly look at them, and their impact on our society, differently after reading this book. If you're looking for something different that you can pick up and read a little of when you have some time here or there, something educational or a book about amazing women and their ideas, then this is a book for you. It is in an important book that I hope will come to be studied in schools and universities for many years to come so that the future generations never forget the Philosopher Queens.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Suhail

    As a student-turned-teacher of philosophy, this is such an important book. When I studied philosophy, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to study an elective on feminist philosophy - which wasn't until my final year of undergraduate. Whilst I loved learning about feminist philosophy and thought, what frustrated me was that all these incredibly wise and important female philosophers were simply lumped into one module which you could elect to study if you so wished. In reality, these women As a student-turned-teacher of philosophy, this is such an important book. When I studied philosophy, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to study an elective on feminist philosophy - which wasn't until my final year of undergraduate. Whilst I loved learning about feminist philosophy and thought, what frustrated me was that all these incredibly wise and important female philosophers were simply lumped into one module which you could elect to study if you so wished. In reality, these women ought to have been taught to me when I studied epistemology, metaphysics and moral philosophy in their own rights - rather than being othered into one stock-module. Rebecca Buxton and Lisa Whiting do a fantastic job of finding diverse female philosophical voices to write and give credit to diverse female philosophers in their own right, as they deserve to be told. What I love most is that this book doesn't simply glorify them, either. Notably when discussing Hannah Arendt, her anti-black racism is explicitly condemned and openly discussed and critiqued, as it should be. What this book does is expose the world to a handful of philosopher queens from the presocratic era up to contemporary philosophy. We get to explore non-Western, nonwhite and non-Christian philosophers through this book - the holy trinity of Philosophy as an academic discipline (at least from my experience of both teaching and studying philosophy). This book is a gem, and it's one I'll be using to shape my own teaching of philosophy in the future. I hope that it's read by anyone who is studying or teaching the subject, or even anyone who simply wishes to broaden their minds into the holistic, eclectic and insightful eyes of the women of philosophy.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Maria Lianou

    This was an exceptional introduction into women philosophers. Highly recommending it!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    220622: sometimes friends ask me how I decide on books to read, authors, philosophy. this book is one very recent resource. there are twenty women mentioned here, eleven of whom are read of, four of whom are read, as follows: diotima (ro), ban Zhao (ro), Hypatia (ro), lalla, mary astell, mary Wollstonecraft (ro), harriet taylor mill, George Eliot (ro), Edith stein (ro), Hannah Arendt (ro, r), simone de beauvoir (ro, r), iris Murdoch (ro, r), mary midgley (ro, r), Elizabeth anscombe, mary Warnock 220622: sometimes friends ask me how I decide on books to read, authors, philosophy. this book is one very recent resource. there are twenty women mentioned here, eleven of whom are read of, four of whom are read, as follows: diotima (ro), ban Zhao (ro), Hypatia (ro), lalla, mary astell, mary Wollstonecraft (ro), harriet taylor mill, George Eliot (ro), Edith stein (ro), Hannah Arendt (ro, r), simone de beauvoir (ro, r), iris Murdoch (ro, r), mary midgley (ro, r), Elizabeth anscombe, mary Warnock (ro), sophie boede oluwole, Angela davis (ro), iris Marion young, anita l allen, azizah y al-hibri... want to particularly read these chinese, african, arabic thinkers... have now read 661 books of philosophy of all sorts but, including this one, only 70 have been feminist, this is a deficit I wish to improve. some of these women are very familiar (de Beauvoir), whose brief article makes me reassess her thought, her empathic existentialism, vs Sartre's more conflictual version. some I have really enjoyed reading, particularly Science and Poetry by Mary Midgley, which I read in a run of her accessible, entertaining work. as these are individual authors, some concentrate on bio, some on ideas- I like ideas best but some cannot be separated from bio (Angela Davis, iris Marion young), some such as iris Murdoch has written both fiction and philosophy The Unicorn and Sartre: Romantic Rationalist, as has de Beauvoir Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter, The Ethics of Ambiguity. there is also list of more names at the back, there are some read who are not here (Julia kristeva, Luce irigiray)... generally, this is how to read, though the u library might not have many of these authors...

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ciara Corless

    the slayification of philosophy

  11. 4 out of 5

    Courtney Ferriter

    ** 4 stars ** A delightful collection that gives an overview of about 20 women philosophers, some well-known like Simone de Beauvoir and Hannah Arendt and others less well-known like Lalla, Sophie Bosede Oluwole, and Ban Zhao. Each entry in this anthology was written by a different author, and as a result, some entries are heavier on biographical detail while others are more detailed about the subject's contributions to philosophy (I personally preferred the philosophy discussions). For a couple ** 4 stars ** A delightful collection that gives an overview of about 20 women philosophers, some well-known like Simone de Beauvoir and Hannah Arendt and others less well-known like Lalla, Sophie Bosede Oluwole, and Ban Zhao. Each entry in this anthology was written by a different author, and as a result, some entries are heavier on biographical detail while others are more detailed about the subject's contributions to philosophy (I personally preferred the philosophy discussions). For a couple of entries, there seemed to be too much focus on the husband or partner of the woman in question, but otherwise I quite enjoyed it overall and it made me interested in checking out more of the work of some of these women. I would recommend this volume for anyone interested in feminism, philosophy, or women in politics.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jen Burrows

    Philosopher Queens is a great introduction to the contributions women have made to the study of philosophy, from Ancient Greece to the modern day. I can't say I have much experience of reading philosophy, but I found this collection to be both accessible and engaging. There is a good range of philosophers covered (although the majority focus on the Western tradition), and I particularly enjoyed how each section offered both a biography and a concise insight into the philosophers' key theories. I Philosopher Queens is a great introduction to the contributions women have made to the study of philosophy, from Ancient Greece to the modern day. I can't say I have much experience of reading philosophy, but I found this collection to be both accessible and engaging. There is a good range of philosophers covered (although the majority focus on the Western tradition), and I particularly enjoyed how each section offered both a biography and a concise insight into the philosophers' key theories. It highlights how life experience can shape your philosophical focus, and the importance of diversity. I would recommend this to other readers who are new to philosophy, as well as those who want to broaden their existing knowledge. Philosopher Queens is an enjoyable and illuminating read. *Thank you to ThePigeonhole.com for sharing this book!*

  13. 5 out of 5

    Chris Meinke

    This is a compelling collection of short biographies and overviews of 20 female philosophers from antiquity to present, written by 20 contemporary female philosophers. A great read, and a book destined to be one of those references that refuses to be shelved, as it presents a sort of amuse bouche of each thinker, giving you enough to whet your appetite and then providing a resource section listing primary and secondary sources for each for further exploration. The collection also includes a chro This is a compelling collection of short biographies and overviews of 20 female philosophers from antiquity to present, written by 20 contemporary female philosophers. A great read, and a book destined to be one of those references that refuses to be shelved, as it presents a sort of amuse bouche of each thinker, giving you enough to whet your appetite and then providing a resource section listing primary and secondary sources for each for further exploration. The collection also includes a chronological list of dozens of other women philosophers not included in the text (volume II?) not to mention the contributors themselves who are well worth looking in to. I should mention I was also a crowdsource contributor to this project, so perhaps have a little bias. Honestly though, I received my BA in philosophy in 1984 without studying a single female philosopher - that is a tragic gap I’m still trying to fill. Can’t wait to dig deeper into some of the women featured in this collection.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jane Hunt

    The Philosopher Queens is a beautifully illustrated collection of biographies of female philosophers from ancient time to the present time. This is just a few of the women who most books on great philosophers overlook, more are listed at the end. There is also a list of further reading sources and details about the contributors. A colourful illustration prefaces each concise biography. It is of interest to those who like to learn but also a textbook for those studying philosophy more widely. This The Philosopher Queens is a beautifully illustrated collection of biographies of female philosophers from ancient time to the present time. This is just a few of the women who most books on great philosophers overlook, more are listed at the end. There is also a list of further reading sources and details about the contributors. A colourful illustration prefaces each concise biography. It is of interest to those who like to learn but also a textbook for those studying philosophy more widely. This is a well-presented book. It informs and intrigues the reader to find out more about these remarkable women and their work. I received a copy of this book from Unbound publishing in return for an honest review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Isa

    A clear and accessible yet detailed introduction to women philosophers, both well and less known inside academic circles.

  16. 5 out of 5

    El (book.monkey)

    This was a wonderful introduction to the females of philosophy. I'm excited to read more about philosophy in the future This was a wonderful introduction to the females of philosophy. I'm excited to read more about philosophy in the future

  17. 5 out of 5

    Malcolm

    Many of us have an image of ‘a philosopher’ – usually an earnest looking chap thinking deep thoughts, almost certainly a white guy, maybe bearded and with a good chance of being dead…. I mean, it’s philosophy and for those of us who studied it as undergraduates there was a heavy emphasis on dead white guys. Although as I have discovered since I started to work in and around the field, there’s a quite few women and people of colour, and so far I’ve not encountered any of the deceased – a few ghos Many of us have an image of ‘a philosopher’ – usually an earnest looking chap thinking deep thoughts, almost certainly a white guy, maybe bearded and with a good chance of being dead…. I mean, it’s philosophy and for those of us who studied it as undergraduates there was a heavy emphasis on dead white guys. Although as I have discovered since I started to work in and around the field, there’s a quite few women and people of colour, and so far I’ve not encountered any of the deceased – a few ghosts perhaps, but that’s the limit. Yet, that’s precisely the image the lies behind this useful and valuable collection of short intellectual biographical essays about women philosophers. The essays, covering 20 women from the ancient to the living, are well-pitched to an interested non-specialist audience, including some general biographical material and a short discussion of key ideas and reasons why she’s significant and total between 6 and 9 pages. Covering figures from Diotima of Mantinea, who appears in Plato’s Symposium, to most the recent, Anita Allen, a specialist in bioethics and jurisprudence (who also is a contributor to this collection), 15 of the 20 are Euro-American writers from the modern era (that is, born after the middle of the 18th century) – but then that’s representative of much of the work we see in the discipline as a whole. The editors, Rebecca Buxton and Lisa Whiting, both currently graduate students, seem to have sought to be as inclusive as possible noting the limit on numbers – so alongside Diotima, the ‘ancient’ world is represented by Ban Zhoa (Han China, 1st century CE) and Hypatia (Egypt, 4th century CE) while the transition to more recent work opens with Lalla (Kashmir, 13th century CE). The contemporary era also features a number of women of colour – including Allen, Angela Davis, Sophie Bosede Oluwole and Azizah Y Al-Hibri. To their credit also Buxton and Whiting have not limited themselves to women who wrote stereotypically or conventionally ‘philosophical’ texts, although figures such as Hannah Arendt, Mary Midgely and Simone de Beauvoir appear – so George Eliot features although known primarily as a novelist, Lalla’s remaining works are mainly poetry and much of Harriet Taylor/Mill’s work is subsumed into John Stuart Mill’s, while, as noted Diotima appears as a discussant in Plato’s work. As I reflected (as I say, as one who works in the field) one the thinkers considered and how they popped my bubble-of-smugness about ‘knowing the field’ I was reminded how useful and important these collections are, to rupture that image of the philosopher as DWEM (with or without beard). It also comes with a list of early 100 other ‘philosopher queens’ to explore, and a reading list for the 20 deal with including key works and commentaries – although for Hypatia and Diotima there are only commentaries. On top of that, it’s a gorgeous book (mine is a hardback – but that might be for early funders only), on good quality heavy paper with gorgeous sketches of each woman discussed. Unbound has done well with this production. It’s a fabulous introduction to women we should know more about. It’s also an indictment of the field that we need these kinds of collections, but not a surprising indictment….. Highly recommended.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jacqui

    Twenty contemporary scholars each write a concise and inviting introduction to the work of an underrepresented woman in philosophy. An inspiring read for anyone curious to learn more about these diverse, influential philosophers. Don’t let yourself be one of the people incapable of naming a non-male philosopher! An added bonus is that the book (I have the hardcover) and its illustrations are beautiful. Quality all around.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Fernanda Ortega

    This book is amazing! Get it now! Now! Don’t be shy read it now!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Gabriella Hoff

    JULY 2020 My third book for the Reading Rush 2020 Essential for getting into philosophy with a feminine touch, the pictures were GORGEOUS and it was overall very eye opening and now I got a lot of people to look into

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lynn B

    This is a beautifully illustrated book and just to have and hold it is an experience in itself. Inside are larger versions of the cover illustrations. I certainly never knew of the existence of the majority of these women philosophers or their work. It was a real eye opener to discover that some of them hail from many centuries ago. If you think this book is a complete guide, think again as there is a list of many more inside. But for now this is a very decent start. I had intended to read a "Que This is a beautifully illustrated book and just to have and hold it is an experience in itself. Inside are larger versions of the cover illustrations. I certainly never knew of the existence of the majority of these women philosophers or their work. It was a real eye opener to discover that some of them hail from many centuries ago. If you think this book is a complete guide, think again as there is a list of many more inside. But for now this is a very decent start. I had intended to read a "Queen" a day but once I got started I found that I wanted to read more and so I did far many more than that in one sitting. I've never studied philosophy although I have read a few books on the subject over the years. What I liked about this (apart from spotlighting unsung women) is that each philosopher has their life span shown and some background about their life is given as well as the basic concept of their take on philosophy. If you want to read more you can easily research using the information given. Also at the back of the book is a handy section about the individual authors who contributed to this book. Two of the philosophers stood out for me. One was Mary Midgley who had a late start in life but wrote over 200 hundred books, articles and chapters between the ages of 59 and 99. She passed away in 2018. The other was Elizabeth Anscombe who wrote a ground breaking work entitled "Intention". This was mainly in response to the decision President Truman made to drop the atomic bomb in 1945. I found myself thinking of a parallel in the decisions made by world leaders during the pandemic times of 2020. There's certainly plenty of food for thought in this collection.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alice

    Many, many years ago, I faced the choice of what subject to study at university. I was taking Religious Studies for A Level, which was split between ethics and philosophy, and I much preferred the ethics component for its real-world applicability - I preferred working through issues that affect people in the world immediately to pondering the existence of god or the separation (or otherwise) between body and mind. I thought philosophy at university would be all of the former and none of the latt Many, many years ago, I faced the choice of what subject to study at university. I was taking Religious Studies for A Level, which was split between ethics and philosophy, and I much preferred the ethics component for its real-world applicability - I preferred working through issues that affect people in the world immediately to pondering the existence of god or the separation (or otherwise) between body and mind. I thought philosophy at university would be all of the former and none of the latter - so I applied to do history instead. I now realise, from The Philosopher Queens, that that wouldn’t have been the case! Some of the women who feature between its covers do fit my erroneous image of philosophers being all about god and dualism, but their ideas are original and refreshing, and would liven up any traditional, overly-male A Level or university module. Others, such as Simone de Beauvoir and Angela Davis (both of whom I had heard of before, but didn’t know much about), and Mary Midgley and Iris Marion Young (both of whom I hadn’t, and would now like to learn more about!) especially appealed to me because they actively engage with everyday issues, including experiences from their own lives. The Philosopher Queens is a really accessible book. The authors’ short chapters and understandable language give you a digestible taster of each philosopher’s life and key ideas, and there’s a selective bibliography to help you find out more about those who interest you the most. Non-white and non-Western women are represented, and the authors openly acknowledge their subjects’ outdated or offensive views, as well as the privilege that helped a number of them pursue careers in philosophy. I also loved the colourful, bold illustrations throughout the book. A big theme that runs through the chapters is men preventing these intelligent, innovative women from achieving their potential. It was so infuriating to see men downplay or take the credit for women’s work, or block them from positions they clearly deserved. It says it all that during WWII, without so many men in their classes at Oxford, an unusual number of women were able to make philosophy their career! The Philosopher Queens is an accessible introduction to the work and lives of several interesting women who should be better-known.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I’ve just read this via Pigeonhole and it’s proved to be another fantastic opportunity to pick up a book I might never otherwise have read. This book is a series of essays each about a different woman who has contributed to the field of philosophy. Some like Simone de Beauvoir and Mary Wollstonecraft I had heard of before and was not surprised to see them here, others like George Eliot and Iris Murdoch I’d heard of but would have never considered them philosophers. Whether the names are familiar o I’ve just read this via Pigeonhole and it’s proved to be another fantastic opportunity to pick up a book I might never otherwise have read. This book is a series of essays each about a different woman who has contributed to the field of philosophy. Some like Simone de Beauvoir and Mary Wollstonecraft I had heard of before and was not surprised to see them here, others like George Eliot and Iris Murdoch I’d heard of but would have never considered them philosophers. Whether the names are familiar or not the stories are fascinating. Each essay gives us an introduction to the philosophies and writings of one woman who has influenced the field. They give the human side as well as the academic giving a sense of upbringing and context to why each of these women have had a voice in a very male dominated field. An excellent read, not too academic and not too light touch. A great entry to then go on and explore the original writings of these ‘philosopher queens’ if you wish.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Icy Sedgwick

    This is a fascinating collection of essays that serve as a good introduction to these often unknown female philosophers. It's certainly served to boost my reading list somewhat! As the essays are all written by different contributors, the quality is slightly uneven, with some essays more dense or focused on the biography than others. In others, the chapters assume a background in philosophy, and if the concepts aren't explained, I'm none the wiser as to what their work was about. For me, the cha This is a fascinating collection of essays that serve as a good introduction to these often unknown female philosophers. It's certainly served to boost my reading list somewhat! As the essays are all written by different contributors, the quality is slightly uneven, with some essays more dense or focused on the biography than others. In others, the chapters assume a background in philosophy, and if the concepts aren't explained, I'm none the wiser as to what their work was about. For me, the chapters in which the philosopher's work is unpacked and explained were the most successful. Either way, it's a good collection and it goes at least a small way towards redressing the balance.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Loona Mets

    Fantastic overview of some of the most influential and important women in philosophy. As I only knew a few names before reading this book, I am very content that I decided to read it. Not only have these women made incredibly important contributions to feminist movements, but have advanced fields such as bioethics and found clever ways to implement their wisdom to real life problems. Another excellent thing was the further reading list at the back of the book. I will most definitely try to read Fantastic overview of some of the most influential and important women in philosophy. As I only knew a few names before reading this book, I am very content that I decided to read it. Not only have these women made incredibly important contributions to feminist movements, but have advanced fields such as bioethics and found clever ways to implement their wisdom to real life problems. Another excellent thing was the further reading list at the back of the book. I will most definitely try to read primary texts by philosophers such as Mary Astell, Sophie Oluwole, Simone de Beauvoir, Edith Stein, and many others. Wonderful read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Clare

    This is a really informative and thoroughly interesting introduction to female philosophers. The Philosopher Queens is a series of chapters about 20 influential female philosophers. I say “influential”, but it’s not until you read about them that you realise just how influential they were and continue to be. Anyone would think that there are NO female philosophers for all the exposure that they’ve had in the mainstream. As with so many subjects in academia and society, women were studying and ma This is a really informative and thoroughly interesting introduction to female philosophers. The Philosopher Queens is a series of chapters about 20 influential female philosophers. I say “influential”, but it’s not until you read about them that you realise just how influential they were and continue to be. Anyone would think that there are NO female philosophers for all the exposure that they’ve had in the mainstream. As with so many subjects in academia and society, women were studying and making contributions to philosophy, but it was nearly always the men who were in the limelight. When I read this book though, I could see just how much these women have formed my thoughts and opinions: feminism' politics, morality - as well as things that I haven’t ever really thought or heard of, including phenomenology. This is a really accessible route into learning about philosophy, whilst at the same time it’s not overly simple either. They’re great overviews, and they explain some quite difficult concepts in a way that I could understand. I’m glad that I read it! Many thanks to The Pigeonhole for serialising this.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Alison

    The ‘Philosopher Queens’ by Rebecca Buxton and Lisa Whiting is an enlightening book about twenty women philosophers armed with intelligent and the ability to bring new opinions and ideas to fruition. I was very lucky to read this book on thepigeonhole.com along with other readers, daily reading and discussions of ideas that have helped to shape society as a whole in various countries. A remarkable insight from these women into the nature of theories of morals, ethics and bio-ethics which, are re The ‘Philosopher Queens’ by Rebecca Buxton and Lisa Whiting is an enlightening book about twenty women philosophers armed with intelligent and the ability to bring new opinions and ideas to fruition. I was very lucky to read this book on thepigeonhole.com along with other readers, daily reading and discussions of ideas that have helped to shape society as a whole in various countries. A remarkable insight from these women into the nature of theories of morals, ethics and bio-ethics which, are relevant in the past centuries and also resonate in today’s society. So great to read about women philosophers and learn about and from them. A very different voice speaks in each chapter. A remarkable book about remarkable women philosophers.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lynne Smith

    These little vignettes of women philosophers are excellent and so interesting. They are short enough to be readable by anyone and informative enough to give a brief overview of their lives and philosophies. The book starts way back in the time of Plato and comes bang up to date. Some I had heard of - Simone de Beauvoir, Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Warnock and George Elliot - and didn’t realise they all were philosophers! I particularly enjoyed reading about those from other cultures and the contem These little vignettes of women philosophers are excellent and so interesting. They are short enough to be readable by anyone and informative enough to give a brief overview of their lives and philosophies. The book starts way back in the time of Plato and comes bang up to date. Some I had heard of - Simone de Beauvoir, Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Warnock and George Elliot - and didn’t realise they all were philosophers! I particularly enjoyed reading about those from other cultures and the contemporary subjects who believe philosophy should address real issues and lead by example! I read this book on The Pigeonhole online book club and it’s not a book I would have necessarily found otherwise but I am so glad I did!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Laura Hamilton

    Read via The Pigeonhole. This a fascinating & informative book about female philosophers from ancient history to modern times who's contributions have often been overlooked. Learned about several ladies who have contributed to both the fields of philosophy & feminism, which have impacted our lives today. This has encouraged me to read more about these ladies, as the book is a very good starting point as it gives an overview of their lives & work. Read via The Pigeonhole. This a fascinating & informative book about female philosophers from ancient history to modern times who's contributions have often been overlooked. Learned about several ladies who have contributed to both the fields of philosophy & feminism, which have impacted our lives today. This has encouraged me to read more about these ladies, as the book is a very good starting point as it gives an overview of their lives & work.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    I was fortunate to read this book with the Pigeonhole otherwise I probably wouldn't have chosen it. I have to confess that I'd only heard of a few of the remarkable women whose stories are told in this fascinating book. However I feel that maybe it's time I looked into their lives more closely. Most informative and enjoyable. I was fortunate to read this book with the Pigeonhole otherwise I probably wouldn't have chosen it. I have to confess that I'd only heard of a few of the remarkable women whose stories are told in this fascinating book. However I feel that maybe it's time I looked into their lives more closely. Most informative and enjoyable.

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