Marcy P. Lascano

Marcy P. Lascano



Course Description

This course will examine and evaluate the work of some of the women philosophers of the early modern period. The course will focus on a variety of philosophical issues, including social and political issues, such as women’s equality and education and political rule; metaphysical issues, such as mind-body dualism, vitalism, and the existence of God; and issues concerning the relationship between philosophy, science, and religion.

Course Learning Outcomes

Students will become familiar with the writings and philosophical systems of early modern women philosophers, gain experience reading philosophical texts, learn to extract, explain, and critically evaluate arguments within the text, and gain facility in writing philosophical essays and exams.

Course/ Instructor Information

Meeting times and place: Mondays and Wednesdays 11:00 - 12:15 in LA2 200

Professor: Marcy P. Lascano

Office Location: MHB 901


Course Texts

1. Selected Philosophical and Scientific Writings by Emilie Du Chatelet

·  University Of Chicago Press (September 1, 2009)

·  ISBN-10: 0226168077

2. The Correspondence between Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia and Rene Descartes by Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia

·  University Of Chicago Press (June 1, 2007)

·  ISBN-10: 0226204421

3. The Book of the City of Ladies by Christine de Pizan

·  Penguin Classics (January 1, 2000)

·  ISBN-10: 0140446893

4. The Blazing World and Other Writings by Margaret Cavendish

·  Penguin Classics (October 1, 1994)

·  ISBN-10: 0140433724

5. A Serious Proposal to the Ladies: Parts I and II by  Mary Astell

·  Broadview Press; 1 edition (March 21, 2002)

·  ISBN-10: 1551113066

6. Anne Conway: The Principles of the Most Ancient and Modern Philosophy by Anne Conway

· Cambridge University Press (April 26, 1996)

· ISBN-10: 0521479045

Course Requirements

Attendance and Participation (20%): Attendance each week is mandatory. Students who miss more than two classes without an excused absence will lose all points for attendance and participation. Participation will be tracked through involvement in class discussion.

University policy on EXCUSED ABSENCES:

1.Illness or injury to the student.

2.Death, injury, or serious illness of an immediate family member or the like.

3.Religious reasons (California Education Code section 89320).

4.Jury duty or government obligation.

5.University sanctioned or approved activities (examples include: artistic performances, forensics presentations, participation in research conferences, intercollegiate athletic activities, student government, required class field trips).

In this course, documentation is required for each excused absence.  

Response Papers (30%):  There will be 6 response papers given in the course. Papers are due at the beginning of class. If you are late for class (without a documented excuse), you will not be able to turn in the paper. Don’t be late!

Examinations or Papers (50%): Undergraduates: There will be a midterm and final take-home examination in the course. Each examination is worth 25% of your course grade.  

Graduates: You will turn in both a midterm paper and a Final paper on a topic approved by the instructor. The Midterm will be worth 20% of your course grade, the final paper will be worth 30% of your course grade.

General Policies

Special Accommodations

If any student requires special accommodations for testing or lectures, please let me know within the first 2 weeks of the semester.  It is the student’s responsibility to contact Disabled Student Services and make special arrangements.

In-Class Conduct

•Cell phones, beepers, video games, and MP3 players will be turned off during class.  

•Computers may be used in class for the sole purpose of taking notes.  No instant messaging, no game playing, web surfing, or completing of other assignments during class.  If you wish to do these things – take it somewhere else.  These activities are disrespectful and disrupt both the instructor and your fellow classmates.

•Students will not speak out of turn in class, or be disrespectful towards other students or the instructor.  

•Failure to abide by any of these rules of conduct will result in dismissal from the course.


If you need to reach me, send me an email ( I'm online often, and can usually respond within 24 hours (often much sooner).  You may also come by my office or call my office for brief questions.  For longer discussions regarding course readings or examinations, please come to my office hours or contact me to make an appointment.

Academic Honesty

Violations of CSULB policies concerning academic honesty will not be tolerated in this course. I will do my best to see to it that students caught cheating in this course are subjected to the most severe penalties consistent with these policies.  Any instance of cheating in the course will result in an “F” for the course.  You will also be reported to the Provost for Student Affairs, and will be unable to repeat/delete the “F” you earn in this course.

The most common form of cheating is plagiarism.  Plagiarism is the representation of someone else’s ideas as one’s own.  In short, plagiarism is a form of dishonesty.  Don’t be dishonest!

Definition of Plagiarism

Plagiarism is defined as the act of using the ideas or work of another person or persons as if they were one’s own, without giving credit to the source. Such an act is not plagiarism if it is ascertained that the ideas were arrived at through independent reasoning or logic or where the thought or idea is common knowledge.

Acknowledgment of an original author or source must be made through appropriate references, i.e., quotation marks, footnotes, or commentary. Examples of plagiarism include, but are not limited to, the following: the submission of a work, either in part or in whole, completed by another; failure to give credit for ideas, statements, facts or conclusions which rightfully belong to another; in written work, failure to use quotation marks when quoting directly from another, whether it be a paragraph, a sentence, or even a part thereof; or close and lengthy paraphrasing of another’s writing or programming. A student who is in doubt about the extent of acceptable paraphrasing should consult the instructor

Students are cautioned that, in conducting their research, they should prepare their notes by (a) either quoting material exactly (using quotation marks) at the time they take notes from a source; or (b) departing completely from the language used in the source, putting the material into their own words. In this way, when the material is used in the paper or project, the student can avoid plagiarism resulting from verbatim use of notes. Both quoted and paraphrased materials must be given proper citations.

Definition of Cheating

Cheating is defined as the act of obtaining or attempting to obtain or aiding another to obtain academic credit for work by the use of any dishonest, deceptive or fraudulent means.

Examples of cheating during an examination include, but are not limited to the following: copying, either in part or in whole, from another’s test or examination; discussion of answers or ideas relating to the answers on an examination or test unless such discussion is specifically authorized by the instructor; giving or receiving copies of an examination without the permission of the instructor; using or displaying notes, “cheat sheets,” or other information or devices inappropriate to the prescribed test conditions, as when the test of competence includes a test of unassisted recall of information, skill, or procedure; or allowing someone other than the officially enrolled student to represent the same. Also included is plagiarism as defined and altering or interfering with the grading procedures.

It is often appropriate for students to study together or to work in teams on projects. However, such students should be careful to avoid the use of unauthorized assistance, and to avoid any implication of cheating, by such means as sitting apart from one another in examinations, presenting the work in a manner which clearly indicates the effort of each individual, or such other method as is appropriate to the particular course.

January 25th  – Introduction to Course, Syllabus, Course Expectations

January 27th – Eileen O’Neill, “Disappearing Ink” & “Early Modern Women Philosophers and the History of Philosophy”

February 1st  – Christine de Pizan, The City of Ladies

February 3rd – The City of Ladies

February 8th – The City of Ladies

February 10th – The City of Ladies

February 15th  – Faculty Furlough Day – No Class

February 17th – The City of Ladies

February 22nd – Margaret Cavendish, The Blazing World

February 24th – The Blazing World

March 1st – Faculty Furlough Day - No Class

March 3rd – The Blazing World

March 8th  – The Blazing World

March 10th  - Princess Elisabeth, Correspondence with Descartes

March 15th  - Correspondence with Descartes

March 17th  – Correspondence with Descartes

March 22nd  – Correspondence with Descartes

March 24th – Class Canceled

March 29th – Spring Break – No Class

March 31st – Spring Break – No Class

April 5th -  Furlough Day – No Class

April 7th – Mary Astell, A Serious Proposal to the Ladies [Midterm Examinations/Papers Due]

April 12th – A Serious Proposal to the Ladies

April 14th – A Serious Proposal to the Ladies

April 19th  – A Serious Proposal to the Ladies

April 21st  - Campus Closure Day – No Class

April 26th – Anne  Conway, Principles of Ancient and Modern Philosophy

April 28th – Principles of Ancient and Modern Philosophy

May 3rd  – Principles of Ancient and Modern Philosophy

May 5th -  Emilie du Châtelet, The Foundations of Physics

May 10th - The Foundations of Physics

May 12th –Emilie du Châtelet, Treatise on Happiness

Final Examinations/Papers due by 5:00 PM Thursday, May 20th