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Women in Science and Medicine.

Margaret Lucas Canedish

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Margaret Lucas Cavendish was a philosopher, poet, scientist, fiction-writer, and playwright who lived in the Seventeenth Century. Her work is important for a number of reasons. One is that it lays out an early and very compelling version of the naturalism that is found in current-day philosophy and science. It also offers important insights that bear on recent discussions of the nature and characteristics of intelligence and the question of whether or not the bodies that surround us are intelligent or have an intelligent cause. Another reason that the work of Cavendish is important is that it anticipates some of the central views and arguments that are more commonly associated with figures like Thomas Hobbes and David Hume. She also offers novel and compelling responses to questions that are central to the discussions of the Seventeenth Century – for example, about whether sense perception is by means of impressions; about whether human beings are free in a libertarian or a compatibilist sense; about whether whether there is any true disorder in the natural world; about the limits of knowledge, and the limits of ideas and language; and about how motion is transferred between bodies. In addition, she takes on important debates in social and political philosophy, with a focus on issues of agency and authority, and in particular on the relation between an individual's desire to live a life with which they identify and the receptivity and accommodation that that desire encounters in the world outside the mind. Finally, she anticipates discussions in the work of contemporary philosophers about whether or not our ability to understand how matter thinks is relevant to the question of whether it does think.

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Maria Margareth Winkelmann-Kirch

Maria MargaretheWinkelmann-Kirch (1670-1720) was a star of German astronomy who discovered her own comet. As “assistant” to her husband and later to her son, she contributed to establishing the Berlin Academy of Science as a major centre of astronomy.

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