Lucrezia Marinella developed an interpretation of Aristotle's claims concerning sexual difference and body temperature, and also elaborated a set of criticisms of those claims. She reconstructed and revised his account of the physiology of the sexes, then used that account to demonstrate that women are morally and politically superior to men. This seminar is concerned with Marinella's attempt to defend the natural liberty of women, drawing on Aristotle's arguments against tyranny, and attributing the tyrannical tendencies of men to their physiological imperfections. My aim is to consider Marinella's political claims in light of some of her 16th century pro-woman predecessors, especially Mario Equicola in his De mulieribus [also called Perigynaecon] (Mantua, 1501), and Torquato Tasso in Discorso della virtù feminile e donnesca (Venice, 1582)
Marguerite Deslauriers is Professor of Philosophy at McGill University. She is the author of Aristotle on Definition (2007) and co-editor of the Cambridge Companion to Aristotle's Politics (2013). Her published work includes articles on ancient and Renaissance philosophy, most recently with a focus on Italian Renaissance polemical treatises arguing for the superiority of women over men, and on their influence on pre-Cartesian French feminists.