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The suspicion of virtue : women philosophers in neoclassical France

Conley, John J.

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ISBN 10: 0801440203 / ISBN 13: 9780801440205
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Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2002. Hardcover Dustjacket. xi, 222 pp. Condition : very good copy. ISBN 0801440203[KEYWORDS: PHILOSOPHY*, *2013-32 philosophy. Buchnummer des Verkäufers 246265

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Titel: The suspicion of virtue : women philosophers...

Einband: Hardcover

Zustand des Schutzumschlags: Dust Jacket Included

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The salon was of particular importance in mid- to late-seventeenth-century France, enabling aristocratic women to develop a philosophical culture that simultaneously reflected and opposed the dominant male philosophy. In The Suspicion of Virtue, John J. Conley, S. J., explores the moral philosophies developed by five women authors of that milieu: Madame de Sablé, Madame Deshoulières, Madame de la Sabliére, Mlle de la Vallière, and Madame de Maintenon. Through biography, extensive translation, commentary, and critical analysis, The Suspicion of Virtue presents the work of women who participated in the philosophical debates of the early modern period but who have been largely erased from the standard history of philosophy. Conley examines the various literary genres (maxim, ode, dialogue) in which these authors presented their moral theory. He also unveils the philosophical complexity of the arguments presented by these women and of the salon culture that nurtured their preoccupations. Their pointed critiques of virtue as a mask of vice, Conley asserts, are relevant to current controversy over the revival of virtue theory by contemporary ethicians.


"The Suspicion of Virtue is, above all, a study of the inspired participation of five female authors in a renascent catholicism during the second half of the seventeenth century. John Conley believes that gender and religion came together, enabling these women to develop a distinctly female philosophical voice. . . . Conley has developed an interesting argument about the existence of female moralistes with a distinctly feminine approach to ethics, and it is to be hoped that he continues his investigations."―David Klinck, University of Windsor, H-France, October 2003

"Conley's investigation repositions the study of women philosophers by shifting the focus of philosophical inquiry away from the 'male bastion of the early modern university' to the world of the salon. . . . Conley's study is essential for scholars and students alike who wish to broaden their knowledge of neoclassical philosophy. Clearly written, it provides both biographical information and insightful analyses of the question of virtue and offers a broad introduction to the main trends in neoclassical moral philosophy. The appendices, which include the Maximes of Sable, the Reflexions diverses of Deshoulieres, the Maximes chretiennes of Sabliere, and Sur les vertus cardinales of Maintenon, add to the value of this work. They not only make these difficult-to-consult texts available and allow the reader to explore further the moral philosophy of these writers, they also demonstrate the diversity of genres in which women philosophers voices are to be heard."―Edith K. Benkov, San Diego State University, Renaissance Quarterly LVII:3 Fall 2004

"This work is a very important first step, and long overdue, in turning our attention to the philosophical thought of early modern French women."―Katharine J. Hamerton, Columbia College, Sixteenth Century Journal, 36/2, 2005

"The Suspicion of Virtue is well written, well developed, and meticulously researched. John Conley succeeds in bringing to the attention of the contemporary English reader important contributions by seventeenth-century French women to virtue ethics, an area that incorporates social, moral, and religious philosophy."―Mary Ellen Waithe, Cleveland State University

"In the Renaissance, Castiglione painted the social and moral concerns of the men of the Italian court―a world outside of academic and ecclesiastical institutions; through meticulous translations and unsurpassed archival research, John Conley reveals the scrutiny of the virtues by seventeenth-century aristocratic women writers of a comparable world for women: the Parisian salons. He exposes, for the first time, the original ideas behind the maxims, devotional reflections and pastoral idylls,which go beyond Jansenist, Quietist, sceptical fideist, and Epicurean influences."―Eileen O'Neill, University of Massachusetts

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