An invited symposium at the Monash University Prato Centre, in Prato, Italy, supported by the Australian Research Council, from Monday, 30 June, to Wednesday, 2 July 2014.
From 1600 to 1800, women philosophers were active participants in discussions about concepts of freedom and liberty. To date, however, there has been little scholarship on their contributions to the topic. The main purpose of this three-day symposium was to enhance our appreciation of women’s philosophical ideas about freedom and liberty in the early modern and enlightenment periods.
The topics of papers ranged from women’s metaphysical and moral-theological views concerning freedom, to their ethical and political ideas about liberty. Speakers examined early modern women’s ideas about free will and necessity in relation to their theories of human redemption and perfection, as well as their ideas about moral and political responsibility. They examined the connections between early modern women’s theological views about God’s essential nature and its implications for both divine and human agency. They discussed connections between early forms of feminism and the political ideals of liberty as freedom from external interference, freedom as self-determination or independence, and freedom from domination or dependence. They also discussed pre-enlightenment women’s accounts of freedom with respect to present-day feminist theories of relational autonomy.
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