The Philosopher Queens

By Rebecca Buxton and Lisa Whiting

A book about women in philosophy by women in philosophy

Biography | Illustrated
174% funded
1269 supporters
Preparing for print

Publication date: June 2020

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For all the young women and girls sitting in philosophy class wondering where the women are, this is the book for you. This collection of 21 chapters, each on a prominent woman in philosophy, looks at the impact that women have had on the field throughout history. From Hypatia to Angela Davis, The Philosopher Queens will be a guide to these badass women and how their amazing ideas have changed the world.

This book is written both for newcomers to philosophy, as well as all those professors who know that they could still learn a thing or two. This book is also for those many people who have told us that there are no great women philosophers. Please pledge, read this book and then feel free to get back to us.

The two of us are young women who have studied and loved philosophy for many years. This book is borne out of frustration with the total lack of recognition for women in philosophy, not only its history but its current teaching.

Each chapter is written by a woman working in philosophy today. Our chapters and contributing authors include:

Diotima by Zoi Aliozi
Ban Zhao by Eva Kit Wah Man
Hypatia by Lisa Whiting
Lalla by Shalini Sinha
Mary Astell by Simone Webb
Mary Wollstonecraft by Sandrine Bergès
Harriet Taylor Mill by Helen McCabe
Mary Anne Evans by Clare Carlisle
Edith Stein by Jae Hetterley
Hannah Arendt by Rebecca Buxton
Simone de Beauvoir by Kate Kirkpatrick
Iris Murdoch by Fay Niker
Mary Midgley by Ellie Robson
Elizabeth Anscombe by Hannah Carnegy-Arbuthnott
Mary Warnock by Gulzaar Barn
Sophie Bosede Oluwole by Minna Salami
Angela Davis by Anita L Allen
Iris Marion Young by Desiree Lim
Anita L Allen by Ilhan Dahir
Azizah Y. al-Hibri by Nima Dahir
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  • Rebecca Buxton avatar

    Rebecca Buxton

    Lisa Whiting avatar

    Lisa Whiting

    Rebecca Buxton is a PhD student in International Development at the University of Oxford,
    specialising in philosophy, ethics and forced migration. Rebecca previously
    studied Philosophy at King’s College London. When she’s not working on her
    PhD she writes as a Community Fellow for Refugees Deeply, a news
    organisation specialising in forced displacement. In her spare time Rebecca
    likes to visit her one-eyed goldendoodle, Duffy, back at home in Worthing.


    Lisa Whiting is currently studying for an MSc in Government, Policy and Politics following her undergraduate degree in philosophy. She studies whilst working as a policy professional focused on the intersection of policy and ethics with a particular interest in data ethics. In her spare time, she listens to podcasts, watches documentaries and tries to keep her house plants alive.

  • Introduction

    Most people probably wouldn’t think of Plato’s Republic as a work of feminist philosophy. But when Plato proposed that women, as well as men, were capable of leading his ideal city-state, he was thinking far ahead of his time. He argued that women who were as competent as men should be chosen “to serve with them as guardians since they are capable of it and akin by nature.” These ‘Philosopher Kings’, as Plato named them, would rule over the Republic, providing perfect philosophical enlightenment.

    Over two thousand years later, you would forgive people for assuming that men have been doing most of the thinking since then. Women have not seemed to fulfill Plato’s great prediction that they were able to become great philosophers. Or, at least, that is how the books and philosophy lectures today make it look. Books about the history of philosophy have not done women justice. In Philosophy: 100 Essential Thinkers only two women feature, with Mary Wollstonecraft and Simone de Beauvoir taking the seats of honour. The same two share the limelight in Philosophy: The World’s Greatest Thinkers, which has space for fifty eight men. You’re beginning to sense a theme.

    It is important to note that this gap is not due to a lack of books being published about philosophy. On the contrary, texts are being written on incredibly broad topics, such as Golf and Philosophy: Lessons from the Links, Aristotle and an Aardvark go to Washington, and last but certainly not least, Surfing with Sartre. And yet, very little has been written for a general audience to celebrate the work of great women, despite the amazing work being done in universities to better understand the lives and works of these women. One notable exception was a book written by a great philosopher herself, Baroness Mary Warnock (Chapter 15), who wrote Women in Philosophy over 20 years ago.

    Read more...
  • Rebecca Buxton and Lisa Whiting have written 1 private update. You can pledge to get access to them all.

    10th July 2019 Publication date, supporters list, and text and cover design

    Hello wonderful supporters. We can't believe there are now 955 of you!

    We thought it was time to give you an update on the exciting goings-on of the team behind The Philosopher Queens. Our biggest announcement is that our publication date has been brought forward from August to 11th June 2020! You will therefore receive your copies in good time for summer holiday reading.

    Although this may still…

    7th May 2019 The Philosopher Queens: The Representation of Women Philosophers

    Today we’re very excited to be speaking at the University of Bristol about The Philosopher Queens and the representation of women in philosophy. The first half of the talk looks at data on women and minorities in philosophy, so we thought we would share with you some of the shocking statistics that we found!

    • In the UK women make up only 29.7% of academic staff in philosophy. That’s less than…

    6th March 2019 The Philosopher Queens: International Women's Day 2019

    This week we're celebrating International Women's Day! Any new supporters can get 10% off their pledge by using the promo code IWD19 at the checkout.

    But we also wanted to give our amazing supporters a little something extra. As you know, we've commissioned an illustration for each chapter of the book. We're very happy to be able to share a sneak peek. 

    So here are the first drafts of Ban Zhao…

    3rd February 2019 The Philosopher Queens: Manuscript Submission

    It's been nearly a whole year since Lisa first went looking for an introduction to women in philosophy. Over an angry Twitter rant and tea (how we come up with most of our good ideas), we decided to do it ourselves.​





    Today, we submitted the full manuscript of The Philosopher Queens.

    This book has been written by some incredible women that we have had the absolute privilege of working…

    1st December 2018 The Philosopher Queens: December Update

    Since The Philosopher Queens hit its crowdfunding target in October, you’re probably wondering what we’ve been up to. Needless to say, it’s been a very busy few months.

    With the two of us beginning a PhD and a Masters Degree, we’ve been working as hard as we can on the book in any spare time we can find. We’ve now received over half of the chapters from our amazing authors, and most are ready for…

    11th October 2018 The Philosopher Queens: 100%! What Happens Now?

    On Monday morning, at around 9am, The Philosopher Queens reached its crowdfunding target. After only three weeks of spamming you on Twitter, sending hundreds of emails, and generally shouting the news from the hilltops, we now know that this book will be published. The two of us want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been so supportive over the last few weeks and months. We are so humbled…

    3rd October 2018 The Philosopher Queens: Week Two, Chapter Announcement and 80%!

    The last two weeks have been a whirlwind, so we wanted to take a moment to update you on what’s been happening with The Philosopher Queens. First, a huge thank you to our new supporters (there are now 552 of you!). We are overwhelmed by your generosity in helping us reach the 80% milestone. A special shout-out to Corey Mohler from Existential Comics for publicly supporting the project and helping…

    25th September 2018 The Philosopher Queens: Week One Complete!

    We wanted to send a quick update to thank you all for your support in our first week of crowdfunding. We reached 30% last night, just before the one week mark, and we couldn’t be happier.

    We’ve also had so many pledges from around the world, particularly Canada and New Zealand which is very exciting. We’re not quite sure what happened at the University of Calgary but we have so many supporters…

    21st September 2018 The Philosopher Queens: We have a little announcement for you…

    Thank you so much to everyone who has pledged so far and shown their support for the book. We never imagined reaching 20% within the first week and it gives us hope that so many people want this book to exist as much as we do. Please do continue to post and share as much as you can!

    Now with the emotional stuff out of the way, we have an exciting announcement for you. Not only is our book written…

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  • Florence Angelo
    Florence Angelo asked:

    If you could have a dinner party and you could invite three of the philosophers from your book, who would you invite?

    Rebecca Buxton
    Rebecca Buxton replied:

    Thank you for your question, Flo! My invites would definitely go to Hannah Arendt, Azizah Y. al-Hibri and Angela Davis. Although I would love a dinner party with all 21!

    Saurabh Belsare
    Saurabh Belsare asked:

    Hi, I'm really keen to pledge for this, but because I'm currently in the US, the shipping costs are quite high. Are there any plans to include an E-book tier? I would love to pledge for that. Thanks!

    Lisa Whiting
    Lisa Whiting replied:

    Thank you for your question and interest in the book Saurabh! Now we have reached 100% funded, we have introduced an ebook only tier to help make the book more accessible to those living in other countries. We hope you enjoy

    Axelle Cazeneuve
    Axelle Cazeneuve asked:

    When is the book expected to be shipped please?

    Rebecca Buxton
    Rebecca Buxton replied:

    Hi Axelle, thanks for the question. The book only goes into production after we reach the crowdfunding target. So it usually takes at least a year before the book is finished and ready to be published. We're currently aiming for March 2020, although of course, that could change!

    Lesley Mitchell
    Lesley Mitchell asked:

    Any chance of an ebook only tier for those of us who just don't do physical books any more (and are on rather limited budgets)?

    Lisa Whiting
    Lisa Whiting replied:

    Hi Lesley, thank you so much for your question! Now we have reached 100%, we've introduced a new ebook pledge level to help with the tight budgets and shipping costs

    Alex Arash Sand Kalaee
    Alex Arash Sand Kalaee asked:

    Can I pledge the money as a gift to someone else, i.e. where the friend's name will be in the book?

    Lisa Whiting
    Lisa Whiting replied:

    Thank you for your question Alex! In short - yes. A full answer on how to do this can be found here http://help.unbound.com/unbound-for-readers/managing-your-subscriptions/changing-the-supporter-name-thats-printed-in-a-book

    Clare Stainthorp
    Clare Stainthorp asked:

    What peer review process will this work undergo?

    Rebecca Buxton
    Rebecca Buxton replied:

    Hi Clare, thank you for your question! As this is not an academic journal we do not have a formal peer review process. The book is aimed at a general audience and is not an academic volume. Each chapter will be fact-checked thoroughly by ourselves and our writers who are all excellent and highly qualified. I hope this helps.

    Margarita Cavazos
    Margarita Cavazos asked:

    Hello, Congratulations on surpassing the 100% funding goal! I am so happy for this project, and I am so excited to be backing this book. I cannot wait for its release. Thank you for taking the initiative to start this! I hope you don’t mind my question. Do you plan on including a chapter on any specific female Hispanic or Latina philosophers such as Gloria Anzaldúa? Even though she is not a self-proclaimed philosopher there are many that believe her writing are highly philosophical and her theory on mestiza consciousness is influential in the Borderlands. Anyways, I wish you all the best of luck as the process of writing your book continues, and again thank you for taking the initiative to build this much needed project!

    Rebecca Buxton
    Rebecca Buxton replied:

    Hello! We did ask a few people whether they would like to write on Gloria Anzaldúa and Juana Inés de la Cruz but no one was available! We totally agree that more of these women need to be included and hope to do something on them in the future. Thanks for your question! Rebecca

    Charlotte Pyle
    Charlotte Pyle asked:

    Hello! I saw on your twitter that there are only a few days left to pledge. I've been trying to persuade my school to pledge since the start of this month. I may actually be getting somewhere with them now - but how long do I have left? I'm trying to get them to pledge for the 'Philosophy Talks' in particular. Thanks, Charlotte

    Rebecca Buxton
    Rebecca Buxton replied:

    Hi Charlotte, Thanks so much for your question. It's only the IndieGogo page that closes in the next few days. You'll be able to pledge on this page until this book goes to print in about a year. We'd love to come to talk at your school - let us know if we can be any help! Rebecca

    Helen Bilton
    Helen Bilton asked:

    I have a daughter looking to study philosophy at university in 2020. What should she be looking for in a university department? Any suggestions for questions to ask of department staff?

    Rebecca Buxton
    Rebecca Buxton replied:

    Hello Helen! My biggest piece of advice would be to look at the syllabus and make sure the university is good at the kind of philosophy that your daughter is interested in. Some university departments are quite specialised in specific areas, so it would be for her to go somewhere that matches her interests. It would also be helpful to ask if they have a MAP (Minorities and Philosophy) chapter or a women philosophers reading group. Hope this helps! Rebecca