A Serious Proposal To The Ladies By Mary Astell Summary

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Critical Summary # 2: Mary Astell In A Serious Proposal to the Ladies: Part II Mary Astell addresses the concept of wisdom and the pursuit for truth and in particular how it relates to women. Astell looks to prescribe a way of thinking and a type of education for women, based on rationality and judgments separate from passion (98). Astell’s philosophy is closely linked and inspired by Descartes, Locke and Arnauld and looks at ways to improve the mind (98). This paper will focus primarily on an exert from A Serious Proposal where Astell’s is concerned with the passions and their influence on truth and wisdom, and looks to provide a way of being that avoids error. In this selection for her paper, Astell argues that wisdom and truth is only …show more content…
For Astell this type of mind is incapable of recognizing the order or connection of ideas because it to quickly moves between ideas without further consideration, examination or debate (108). Additionally these ideas attach themselves to superficial views and pass judgment on ideas without further penetration into the subject, only looking at what is immediately obvious (108). Even though this way of thinking is prone to error it, it persists because minds such as these can connect with each other’s and this “purcures for them the character of wit, but hinders them from being wise” (Astell 108). Furthermore, Astell examines the body and the passions and how they connect to the mind. Astell believe that in order to find truth we need contemplation and a governable body, however if the passions persuaded us this cannot occur (109). The mind and body are mutually exclusive parts of human beings, whose functions are closely related. One part cannot function properly if the other part is being persuaded to do otherwise (109). The passions then become a big problem for Astell because they affect not only the body but also the mind preventing us from being able to identify error and

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