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18th and 19th Century Philosophers on Misogyny

Oct 22, 2012


"Men are by nature merely indifferent to one another; but women are by nature enemies."
Arthur Schopenhauer



"Women are capable of education, but they are not made for activities which demand a universal faculty such as the more advanced sciences, philosophy and certain forms of artistic production... Women regulate their actions not by the demands of universality, but by arbitrary inclinations and opinions." 
G.W.F Hegel, Elements of the Philosophy of Right, quoted in Alanen, Lilli and Witt, Charlotte, Feminist reflections on the history of philosophy'



Otto Weininger has been accused of misogyny in his book Sex and Character, in which he characterizes the "woman" part of each individual as being essentially "nothing," and having no real existence, having no effective consciousness or rationality.



Friedrich Nietzsche stated that every higher form of civilization implied stricter controls on women (Beyond Good and Evil, 7:238). He is known to have said "Women are less than shallow," and "Are you going to women? Do not forget the whip!" Whether or not this amounts to misogyny, whether his polemic against women is meant to be taken literally, and the exact nature of his opinions of women, are controversial.



Charlotte Witt wrote that Kant's and Aristotle's writings contained overt statements of sexism and racism. She found derogatory remarks about women in Kant's Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime.

 

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