de Grouchy, Wollstonecraft, and Smith on Sympathy, Inequality, and Rights

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Abstract

This article offers an analysis of Sophie de Grouchy’s Letters on Sympathy [1798]. The focus is on republican implications of her views on sympathy, with comparisons to Adam Smith and Mary Wollstonecraft. Critical attention is paid to claims made on de Grouchy’s behalf that her philosophy is republican and that she offers republican arguments for gender and class equality. These claims are made by Sandrine Bergès in Revolution and Republicanism: Women Political Philosophers of Late Eighteenth-Century France and Why They Matter, Australian Philosophical Review 2020, to which this paper is an invited commentary. This paper does not dispute that de Grouchy’s thought is republican but concludes (1) that her Letters are conspicuously silent on women’s citizenship rights and that the gendered conceptual world of republican thought can account for that and (2) that any commitment to equality of wealth is negated by her definition of property rights. Since gender and class equality would have been a subversion rather than an application of late eighteenth-century republican thought, this makes de Grouchy a more recognizable republican than Wollstonecraft, whose philosophy explicitly included a commitment to equality of wealth and equal citizenship rights for women.

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  • Philosophy

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Original languageEnglish
JournalAustralian Philosophical Review
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2018
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

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Lena Halldenius

2009/01/012018/12/31

Project: Research

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