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American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 87, Issue 4, Fall 2013

Francisco J. Romero Carrasquillo, Hilaire K. Troyer de Romero
Pages 685-710
DOI: 10.5840/acpq201387452

Aquinas on the Inferiority of Woman

Aquinas has been accused of being a sexist for making the following four claims about woman: (1) woman is a deficient male; (2) woman was created only for the purpose of procreation; (3) woman is inferior to man; (4) woman must submit to man. Some scholars, notably Michael Nolan, have attempted to defend Thomas, and a few have even gone so far as calling him a feminist. The aim of this paper is to show that Aquinas did hold these four claims throughout his career, and to show in what sense he held them, thus revealing how well-founded the accusations remain, given the assumptions of feminism. Finally, the authors propose that any future attempt to exonerate Aquinas from the charge of sexism must grapple with the question of how these claims are compatible with a gender-equality view.

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