Margaret Cavendish and Thomas Hobbes on Freedom, Education, and Women

In Nancy J. Hirschmann & Joanne Harriet Wright (eds.), Feminist Interpretations of Thomas Hobbes. The Pennsylvania State University Press. pp. 149-168 (2012)
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In this paper, I argue that Margaret Cavendish’s account of freedom, and the role of education in freedom, is better able to account for the specifics of women’s lives than are Thomas Hobbes’ accounts of these topics. The differences between the two is grounded in their differing conceptions of the metaphysics of human nature, though the full richness of Cavendish’s approach to women, their minds and their freedom can be appreciated only if we take account of her plays, accepting them as philosophical texts alongside her more standard philosophical treatises.

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Karen Detlefsen
University of Pennsylvania


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