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How to Think Like a Woman
As a young woman growing up in Iowa, Regan Penaluna daydreamed about the big questions: Who are we, and what is this strange world we find ourselves in? In college she fell in love with philosophy and chose to pursue it as an academic—the first step, she believed, to becoming a self-determined person living a life of the mind. What she didn’t realize was that the Western philosophical canon taught in American universities, as well as the culture surrounding it, would slowly grind her down through its misogyny, its harassment, its devaluation of women and their intellect. Where were the women philosophers? One day, Penaluna came across Damaris Cudworth Masham’s name. The daughter of philosopher Ralph Cudworth and a contemporary of John Locke, Masham wrote about knowledge and God, and the condition of women. Masham’s work led Penaluna to other women philosophers: Mary Astell, who made a living writing philosophy; Catharine Cockburn, a philosopher, novelist, and playwright; and the better-known Mary Wollstonecraft, who wrote extensively in defense of women’s minds. Together, these women rekindled Penaluna’s love of philosophy and awakened her feminist consciousness. In How to Think Like a Woman, Penaluna blends memoir, biography, and criticism to tell the stories of these four women, weaving throughout an alternative history of philosophy. Funny, honest, and wickedly intelligent, this is a moving meditation on what philosophy could look like if women were treated equally.
Angie Kane is a theatre artist and audiobook narrator based in Southeast Michigan. She is a proud member of the Actors' Equity Association and a Resident Artist of The Purple Rose Theatre Company.