Skip to main content
Browse by:

“Sexual Differences in Natural Character: the Reception of Aristotle’s Biology in Sixteenth Century Italy”

Marguerite Deslauries, the speaker, smiling
Friday, November 17, 2023
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Marguerite Deslauriers

Abstract: This paper considers the reception of Aristotle's biological works in several polemical treatises written in the sixteenth century, defending the capacities and virtues of women from misogynist attacks. It argues that the reputation Aristotle has gained as an arch-misogynist was formulated in the responses to misogynist appeals to Aristotle, but that in feminist contributions to the Querelle des femmes we also find appeals to his biology for the claim that women are superior in virtue of their physiology. In addition, the paper aims to show that the reception of the biology in these works is moralizing: the structures and physiology of the bodies of men and women are held to have moral value and to produce inferior or superior intellectual and moral qualities.

Contact: Rachel Gilbert