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Lost Voices in the History of Philosophy

Published: 5 February 2021

Southampton philosophers are making important contributions to a forthcoming special issue of the British Journal for the History of Philosophy entitled 'Lost Voices', which explores how the contributions of women to the shaping of contemporary philosophy have been overlooked.

Dorothy Wrinch

Giulia Felappi's paper is entitled 'It is quite conceivable that judgment is a very complicated phenomenon: Dorothy Wrinch, nonsense and the multiple relation theory of judgment'. Before becoming a famous biochemist, Dorothy Wrinch studied philosophy and mathematics under Bertrand Russell's guidance and published on classic Russellian themes. Giulia's paper examines Wrinch's reflections on the possibility of judging nonsense. Giulia argues that Wrinch was the first in the Russellian tradition to show that there are different ways for something to be nonsense and, while some nonsense can indeed be judged, for other kinds of nonsense it is just impossible to judge it.

Chris Janaway's paper is 'Worse than the best possible pessimism? Olga Plümacher's Critique of Schopenhauer'.

Olga Plümacher

Olga Plümacher is an almost entirely neglected figure who wrote on philosophical pessimism is the 1880s. She makes some incisive criticisms of Arthur Schopenhauer's work, not for being a pessimist, but for not achieving as good a pessimism as he might have done. Nietzsche read her book and borrowed some ideas from it that have gone unnoticed. Plümacher argues that Schopenhauer's account of pleasure as merely privative is implausible, that he has a confused account of individuation, that his retention of a Christian notion of guilt is gratuitous, that he lapses into the self-pitying subjectivity of the condition she calls Weltschmerz, and that his philosophy leads to a quietism which fails to allow for social progress.

For more details of the BJHP special issue, see CFP: Lost Voices: Founding Mothers of Contemporary Philosophy | Feminist History of Philosophy

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