Help Needed for Finding Good Quotes by Women Philosophers


This could start a nice collection of resource material for all of us.

A reader asks:

On the first slide for my introductory philosophy lectures, I
like to try to include a thought-provoking quote each day (ideally
related to that day’s topic, but I am flexible on how tightly
related).  I’ve been trying to do some work to balance the gender
ratio of these quotes, but I haven’t been able to find a good resource
for locating good succinct quotes by women philosophers, and
wikipedia/wikiquote are find resources for major male figures in the
historical canon, but don’t tend to have a lot of coverage when it
comes to women philosophers.  I was wondering if any of your readers
might know of a good resource to help with this.


5 thoughts on “Help Needed for Finding Good Quotes by Women Philosophers

  1. Have you seen the series of photographs of philosophers by Steve Pyke? He includes a quote with each photo. There are some interesting ones there. Some examples:

    “The planet needs philosophy. Human beings are moral beings: we must preserve a philosophical discourse which takes this as its fundamental subject matter. The great metaphysicians were great moralists. The center must hold.” – Iris Murdoch

    “The point of philosophy, in my view, is to examine things we take for granted in ordinary or scientific discourse, such as the nature of causal connection, the relation between mind and body, or health and disease.” – Mary Warnock

    “You ask a philosopher a question and after he or she has talked for a bit, you don’t understand your question any more.” – Phillipa Foot

    Here’s the link the series:

  2. Some philosophers you could consider in your search: Hannah Arendt, Simone de Beauvoir, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Simone Weil.

  3. I don’t know how brief you need it to be, but there are some great quotes by women who have authored thought experiments (Philippa Foot and Judith Thomson below). It was Thomson’s essay that really ignited my passion in moral philosophy!

    “If the room is stuffy, and I therefore open a window to air it, and a burglar climbs in, it would be absurd to say, ‘Ah, now he can stay, she’s given him a right to the use of her house – for she is partially responsible for his presence there, having voluntarily done what enabled him to get in, in full knowledge that there are such things as burglars, and that burglars burgle.’

    It would be still more absurd to say this if I had had bars installed outside my windows, precisely to prevent burglars from getting in, and a burglar got in only because of a defect in the bars.”

    — Judith Jarvis Thomson – A Defense of Abortion

  4. There is a book “A Dictionary of Philosophical QUotations” edited by A.J. Ayer and Jane O’Grady that has quotes from over 10 different women, all time periods up to 1992 when book published.

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