Hegel, Women, and Hegelian Women on Matters of Public and Private*


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Abstract

This paper introduces America's first women Idealists and discusses their appropriation and reconfiguration of Hegel's public/private distinction. Through their philosophies of education two of these women, Susan E. Blow (1843–1916) and Anna C. Brackett (1836–1911), legitimized women's active involvement in public life. A third, Marietta Kies (1853–1899), put forth a political theory of altruism. Her theory anticipates feminist critiques of male-centered political theory and has important implications for today's “ethic of care.” Blow and Brackett were associates of William T. Harris (1835–1909) in the St. Louis Philosophical Movement (ca. 1860–1880) and contributors to The Journal of Speculative Philosophy. Kies was associated with Harris through the Concord Summer School of Philosophy (1879–1888). She was also a student of John Dewey at the University of Michigan.

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