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Contextualism is an established approach in the history of philosophy. This paper explores the advantages and disadvantages of contextualism as it is used in the examination of philosophical works produced by women whose work has, until recent decades, been neglected by historians of philosophy. It examines how various options for practicing contextualist history of philosophy might help to explain a woman’s participation in philosophy or undermine her intellectual authority and obscure our understanding of her work. The paper concludes with three suggestions for writing and teaching work produced by women that are informed by the methodological considerations addressed in the paper in order to avoid some of the epistemically harmful outcomes that can emerge when placing a woman’s work in her patriarchal context.

Open Access
In: Journal of the History of Women Philosophers and Scientists