Do you enjoy thinking about what others say as much as they enjoy arguing their own views?
The Langara College Department of Philosophy invites you to attend Philosophers’ Jam, a forum for the expression of provocative ideas. This dialogue series is intended for people who want to discuss ideas but whose busy lives prevent them from signing up for a credit course.
Philosophers’ Jams are free and open to all Langara faculty, staff, and students, as well as anyone in the Vancouver community. Bring a friend or colleague and see you at the next Jam session!
Resisting Marriage, Reclaiming Right: An Early Modern Critique of Patriarchy
Moderata Fonte’s dialogue, The Worth of Women (1600) contains stinging critiques of marriage and the dowry system as well as of women’s social and material inequality. I argue that Fonte employs a modern method of argumentation, which anticipates the method used by later social contract theorists. Given that women are naturally men’s equals, Fonte argues that their de facto authority over women is illegitimate. Moreover, by treating marriage as an artificial institution, rather than as a natural institution, Fonte anticipates later feminist arguments that are critical of the modern contract tradition for overlooking the ambiguous status of the family and women’s subordinate role in it. In light of this history, Fonte’s critique of patriarchy is especially interesting: it challenges the patriarchal family structure and the institutions that collude to diminish women’s agency, and this challenge to male authority is similar to later (male) challenges to de facto political authority.
Kelin Emmett is an Assistant Professor Without Review at the University of British Columbia. After completing her PhD. at the University of Toronto, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Simon Fraser University with the New Narratives in the History of Philosophy, a project that seeks to recover and rehabilitate early modern women’s philosophical work. Her interests are in the history of moral and political philosophy with a particular focus on autonomy and emerging conceptions of autonomy in the early modern period, especially in the works of early modern women.
Thursday, Oct 17
7:00 pm–9:00 pm
A Building, Employee Lounge
Coordinator, Philosophers’ Jam