Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Argument Is The Evidence

After listening for a few hours to Mary Wollstonecraft's 1792 treatise A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, I moved on to the next audio book.

Though I have little interest in her philosophical arguments, I appreciate her mastery of rhetoric. Wollstonecraft's central point — which is no controversy to me — is that women are naturally the intellectual equals of men, kept down by social prejudice and especially the lack of equal education. I wouldn't argue for this conclusion in the way she does, but then my methods would not go over so well as hers in 18th century Britain.

The rhetorical feat Wollstonecraft accomplished that I could never even attempt was simply proving that a woman of her time could write in such highly educated style. What better way to argue for the intellectual potential of womankind than to demonstrate it?

Online text and audio book:

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