Denis Diderot is no Sexist! Understanding his Pensées by way of Le Rêve ...

Abstract

Denis Diderot’s thoroughly materialist metaphysics undergird prescient philosophical analyses; his forays into the field of ethics arguably tend toward what we today would class amongst the range of forward-looking alternative perspectives. It isn’t just that Diderot sketches or even defends the cutting-edge which motivates this paper, but also his use of female characters to reveal crucial insights. Anyone familiar with the prolific author’s body of work realizes that Diderot’s women are certainly not mere “pretty little things.” So it is that his Pensées sur l’interprétation de la nature might seem to smack dissonantly of sexism. My intent is to dispel such a misreading by demonstrating that the Pensées are addressed to the intellectual everyman. To wit, Diderot’s “jeune homme” is both gender and age neutral. Denis Diderot is proven, yet again, to be ahead of his time. A MUCH-IMPROVED (corrected, filled out etc.) VERSION OF THIS MANUSCRIPT IS IN THE WORKS. (Autumn 2022)

Author's Profile

Juliette Christie, née Cordero
University of California at Santa Barbara (PhD)

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