Mary Astell (1666-1731)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


This chapter investigates two key interpretations of Mary Astell’s philosophical views concerning women’s education, one feminist, the other religious. Some scholars claim that the feminist reading is misguided because the true purpose of Astell’s writings is not to promote female autonomy or independence of judgment, but rather to facilitate the indoctrination of women into the Anglican religion. In response, it is argued that Astell intended for women’s education to serve recognizably feminist ends and not purely conservative religious goals. To support this argument, the chapter investigates evidence that Astell was critical of Anglican ideas that prevented women from attaining intellectual independence.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Women and Early Modern European Philosophy
EditorsKaren Detlefsen, Lisa Shapiro
Place of PublicationAbingdon Oxon UK
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781315450001
ISBN (Print)9781138212756, 9781032496764
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Publication series

NameRoutledge Handbooks in Philosophy

Cite this