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37 Philosophers You Really Should Know About (None Of Them Are Men)

Every one of these women is inspiring.

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We recently asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us about their favourite female philosophers. Here are some of the women you should know about.

1. Gayatri Spivak (born 1942)

en.wikipedia.org

"She is one of the first Indian women to feature prominently in US academia, and her writings on French feminism, translation, deconstruction, and on how intellectuals need to be more transparent in their own work have changed the way I view life."

shadypoetricks

2. Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986)

en.wikipedia.org

Simone de Beauvoir was a French philosopher who is perhaps best known for writing The Second Sex, a book which in which she differentiates between biological sex and socially constructed gender. De Beauvoir is often credited for laying the groundwork for second wave feminism and wrote extensively about female oppression and the patriarchy.

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3. Hannah Arendt (1906-1975)

feministcurrent.com

Hannah Arendt was a German political theorist who wrote a lot about power, democracy, and totalitarianism. Her essay On Violence made an important distinction between power and violence, but her most famous piece of work was probably The Human Condition. In it she discusses political action as a means to achieving freedom.

4. María Zambrano (1904-1991)

fundacionmariazambrano.org

"María Zambrano was a Spanish philosopher and essayist who was part of the Generation of '36 and was exiled from Spain for her support of the Republic during the Civil War. She was the first woman to be awarded the Miguel de Cervantes Prize and was awarded an honourary doctorate by the University of Málaga for her work on mysticism and religion."

lottier

5. Hypatia of Alexandria (c.350–370 - 415 AD)

medium.com

"Hypnatia was one of the few female philosophers, and also an astronomer, and mathematician, who lived in Alexandria, Egypt, then part of the Eastern Roman Empire. Although no writings directly written by her have survived, it is thought that she may have edited the surviving texts of Euclid's Elements and Ptolemy's Almagest and possibly co-written some of the commentaries attributed to her father, Theon of Alexandria."

mishapollens

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7. Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797)

en.wikipedia.org

In her book A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, English philosopher and women's rights activist Mary Wollstonecraft argued that both men and women should be treated as rational beings. She is remembered as one of the founding feminists, and she argued that women deserve an equal education to men.

8. Angela Davis (born 1944)

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Angela Davis is an American philosopher and political activist, who writes and lectures on issues regarding women's rights, race, class, and the state of the American criminal justice system.

9. Chandra Talpade Mohanty (born 1955)

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— Jennifer Forshee, via Facebook

Chandra Talpade Mohanty works on transnational and intersectional feminism and is based at Syracuse University. She's most well-known for her essay Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses in which she establishes common projects between feminists in the "Third and First worlds".

10. Wendy Brown (born 1955)

en.wikipedia.org

— Jennifer Forshee, via Facebook

Wendy Brown is an American political theorist based at the University of California, Berkeley. She is most interested in contemporary critical theory.

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11. Maria Lugones

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— Stephen Masson, via Facebook

Maria Lugones is an Argentine philosopher who is known for developing the concept of the coloniality of gender. She's based at Binghamton University in New York.

12. Catherine MacKinnon (born 1946)

feministcurrent.com

Catherine MacKinnon is an American radical feminist who is currently a Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School. Her work focusses heavily on sexual harassment and pornography. In Toward a Feminist Theory of the State, MacKinnon argues that pornography contributes to attitudes of violence towards women.

13. Sally Haslanger (born 1955)

news.mit.edu

American philosopher Sally Haslanger is a professor of both Philosophy and Women's & Gender Studies at MIT. Her work on the social construction of race and gender is widely considered groundbreaking.

14. Talia Mae Bettcher (born 1951)

umass.edu

— Stephen Masson, via Facebook

Talia Mae Bettcher is based at California State University and her work focusses on transphobic violence and feminism. She is a founding member the editorial board of Transgender Studies Quarterly, the first-ever non-medical journal focusing on transgender issues.

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15. Philippa Foot (1920-2010)

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Philippa Foot was a British philosopher who, inspired by Aristotle, was one of the founders of contemporary virtue ethics. One of her most famous thought experiments is the trolley problem, which raises questions about moral judgement.

18. Judith Jarvis Thomson (born 1929)

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Judith Jarvis Thomson is an American philosopher who is perhaps most well known for her essay A Defense of Abortion, in which she argues that a woman has the right to control her own body.

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19. Susan Moller Okin (1946-2004)

theinternationalcoalition.blogspot.co.uk

— Jennifer Forshee, via Facebook

Susan Moller Okin was a liberal feminist philosopher from New Zealand. She critiqued modern theories of justice in her book Justice, Gender, and the Family and suggested that children commonly acquire perceptions of gender in the family's sexist setting.

20. Hortense Spillers (born 1942)

cornell.edu

— Stephen Masson, via Facebook

Hortense Spillers is based at Vanderbilt University and her work focusses on black feminism and African-American literature. She's especially interested in the alleged matriarchal family structure in black communities.

21. Harriet Taylor Mill (1807-1858)

en.wikipedia.org

Harriet Taylor Mill was a British philosopher and women's rights activist who is well-known for influencing her husband, John Stuart Mill's, writing. She wrote a lot about domestic violence and is known to have influenced J. S. Mill's On Liberty.

22. Alexandra Kollontai (1872-1952)

en.wikipedia.org

Alexandra Kollontai was a Russian Communist revolutionary who was interested in Marxism and advocated free love. She viewed traditional families and marriages as oppressive and suggested that children ought to be raised by society, rather than their parents.

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23. Linda Martín Alcoff (born 1955)

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Linda Martín Alcoff is a Panamian philosopher who specialises in feminism, race theory, and existentialism. She has written a lot about sexual violence, gender and race, and Latino issues.

25. bell hooks (born 1952)

bellhooksinstitute.com

— Stephen Masson, via Facebook

bell hooks is an American feminist who writes about the intersectionality of race, capitalism, and gender. One of her famous claims is that if feminism is about making women and men equal, it is impossible because not all men are equal in Western society.

26. Kathryn Sophia Belle (born 1978)

arc.la.psu.edu

Kathryn Sophia Belle is an American philosopher who works at Pennsylvania State University. A lot of her work focuses on increasing diversity within Philosophy and she founded the Collegium of Black Women Philosophers. Belle has written a lot about acknowledging the black female identity in relation to overcoming oppression.

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27. Martha Nussbaum (born 1947)

en.wikipedia.org

Martha Nussbaum is an American philosopher based at the University of Chicago. She has written about how sex and sexuality are irrelevant distinctions that have been enforced as part of a social hierarchy and also about objectification. This New Yorker profile about her is brilliant.

28. Judith Butler (born 1956)

en.wikipedia.org

American philosopher Judith Butler's work on gender theory has influenced third-wave feminism. In her book Gender Trouble she argues that sexuality, sex, and gender, are culturally constructed and that gender is performative. She's based at the University of California, Berkeley.

30. Ruth Barcan Marcus (1921-2012)

en.wikipedia.org

Ruth Barcan Marcus was an American philosopher and logician. Her work on modal logic, the theory of direct reference, and moral conflict is widely considered hugely influential.

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31. Lory Janelle Dance

umass.edu

"She speaks truth about the human condition so simplistically but with a macrocosmic view of social situations that you find yourself, no matter what your ethnic or racial identification, saying, 'amen, sister' after almost every paragraph."

— Jeanne McVerry, via Facebook

32. Rae Langton (born 1961)

newn.cam.ac.uk

Australian-British philosopher Rae Langton is currently based at the University of Cambridge. She's well-known for her work on pornography and objectification, and especially her book Sexual Solipsism: Philosophical Essays on Pornography and Objectification. She's also written about animal ethics.

33. Donna Haraway (born 1944)

wgss.yale.edu

"Donna Haraway is best known for A Cyborg Manifesto but more recently for her writings on ecology and animality/kinship. I cannot recommend Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Cthulucene enough."

terril5

34. Andrea Dworkin (1946-2005)

en.wikipedia.org

Andrea Dworkin was an American radical feminist who argued that pornography was linked to rape and violence against women. When she was asked how she'd like to be remembered, she said: "In a museum, when male supremacy is dead. I'd like my work to be an anthropological artifact from an extinct, primitive society".

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