Faculty Mentor

Kevin Decker


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Oral Presentation

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In my paper I address the unfoundedness of leaving out certain voices in the historical studies of philosophy. In order to make this point I investigate a brilliant thinker of the 17th and 18th centuries, Mary Astell. I also address, analyze and critique the Western Canon for leaving out the philosophies of women, and highlight social constructivism and social representation theory in education and the philosophies behind these concepts. Despite the misleading drift of the Western canon, there were brilliant female thinkers throughout the history of philosophy. Telling only a single story of something that has so much depth, history, and culture can come with unintended consequences, for example, the exclusion of marginalized people from the discipline of philosophy as well as the perpetuation of “other-ing.” Mary Astell is one of the many voices who deserves to be studied and discussed just as much as any other male philosopher, if for no other reason than her early foreshadowing of social constructivism in her educational theory. Her radical ideas exemplify how she was capable of reason and advocated for the other women whom she knew were also capable. This is an example of the way philosophy can avoid telling a single story and recover forgotten voices of history without disregarding the legacies like Cartesianism.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.