The Other Pascals
The Philosophy of Jacqueline Pascal, Gilberte Pascal Périer, and Marguerite Périer
278 pages, 6.00 x 9.00
Hardcover | 9780268105136 | April 2019
eBook (Web PDF) | 9780268105150 | April 2019
eBook (EPUB) | 9780268105167 | April 2019
There have been many studies analyzing the philosophy of Blaise Pascal, but this book is the first full-length study of the philosophies of his sisters, Jacqueline Pascal and Gilberte Pascal Périer, and his niece, Marguerite Périer. While these women have long been presented as the disciples, secretaries, correspondents, and nurses of their brother and uncle, each woman developed a distinctive philosophy that is more than auxiliary to the thought of Blaise Pascal. The unique philosophical voice of each Pascal woman is studied in The Other Pascals.
As the headmistress of the Port-Royal convent school, Jacqueline Pascal made important contributions to the philosophy of education. Gilberte Pascal Périer wrote the first philosophical biographies of Blaise and Jacqueline. Marguerite Périer defended freedom of conscience against coercion by political and religious superiors.
Each of these women authors speaks in a gendered voice, emphasizing the right of women to develop a philosophical and theological culture and to resist commands to blind obedience by paternal, political, or ecclesiastical authorities. The Other Pascals will be of keen interest to readers interested in early modern philosophy, history, literature, and religion. The book will also appeal to those with an interest in women’s studies and French studies.
John J. Conley, S.J., is the Henry J. Knott Chair of Philosophy and Theology at Loyola University Maryland. He is the author of Adoration and Annihilation: The Convent Philosophy of Port-Royal (University of Notre Dame Press, 2009).
“The Other Pascals is an excellent introduction to the thought of Pascal’s sisters, Jacqueline Pascal and Gilberte Pascal Périer, and niece, Marguerite Périer. It is the first thorough study of these important seventeenth-century figures, written for a nonspecialist audience. It places these prominent women in some of the period’s more significant debates (about virtue, conscience, and education) and reveals the courageous manner in which they navigated the secondary role assigned to early modern women. It will be of interest to historians of all types.” —Christia Mercer, Gustave M. Berne Professor of Philosophy, Columbia University
“The book is clearly written and well researched. John Conley gives the reader a growing awareness and appreciation of how all the Pascals are connected in a joint philosophical enterprise. The Other Pascals is a solid contribution to the history of philosophy that should have important repercussions for how philosophy is done now and in the future.” —James P. Sterba, University of Notre Dame
"John Conley’s beautifully written and cogently presented study, The Other Pascals, ambitiously and sensitively inscribes these gendered female theologians into their appropriate and well-earned historical, cultural, and religious context. In so doing, Conley adds immeasurably to our understandings of the history, philosophy, and theology of the seventeenth century." —Catharine Randall, Dartmouth College
“In the present volume he turns his attention to Pascal’s sisters and examines their philosophical and theological writings. . . . This is an important book for a number of reasons, not least of which is the role it can play in expanding the philosophical canon to include women.” —Choice