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Participant name: julie walsh
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Julie Walsh
Wellesley College (Wellesley, MA 02481-8203)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/15/2020 – 8/14/2020

Women and Freedom in the Works of French Philosopher Gabrielle Suchon (1632-1705)

Writing of two chapters of a book on the metaphysical account of human freedom developed by the French philosopher Gabrielle Suchon (1632–1703).

My project is a book-length analysis of the view of human freedom elaborated by French philosopher Gabrielle Suchon (1632–1703). Largely ignored by historians of philosophy, Suchon is nevertheless one of the first Western thinkers to leave a substantial body of work devoted to developing a metaphysical account of freedom that is tied to women’s social, political and moral lives. Her key philosophical innovation was to argue that freedom for women requires that they choose what she calls “the neutral life,” foreswearing personal and professional relationships. I offer the first systematic treatment of Suchon’s philosophical system, showing how it offers new, feminist perspective on early modern treatments of human freedom. By placing Suchon in the context of feminist thought, I join the larger scholarly tradition, led by feminist historians, of giving women their proper place in intellectual history.