First in a series
Having the privilege to study practical philosophy for just over 10 years now, has been a life-enhancing activity. It may sound clichéd but that does not mean it is not true! But. From the early years of study, the absence of women thinkers and philosopher voices was felt and this only became louder over the years. Many stories tell of a wise man presenting the wisdom. Diotima was a welcome exception.
The students and leaders of the school, have been able to respond and jointly craft a path forwards. Love and Truth being the underlying power and steers to it all. And so today, I find myself at the leading edge of a project team of fellow philosophers, mostly women for the time being but some men too and with many more enlightened men around us, who are seeking to understand the role gender has on the way to enlightenment, wisdom and self-knowledge. This is an issue for both men and women.
The team is made up of senior school philosophers, most with a minimum of 10 years and some with over 20 years of study under their belt, and specialists in various fields of philosophy. Word of this project is also steadily spreading and we are being approached by a wider field of philosophers, especially from other branches from around the UK, who wish to participate in the work. Reflecting the theme of diversity, the team includes a wide age range and students from around the UK, Europe and Oceania.
Current activities underway by the team tackle the following aims;
- Research into uncovering the wise women of the past and rewriting them back into history, shining a light onto their teaching and making their names as memorable as is Socrates and Plato in wider discourse.
- Shine a light on wise women of today, provide inspiration and guidance for all to emulate wise actions and how wise women can and need to participate centrally in the future of society.
- Understand the role gender has on humans’ way towards enlightenment. Tackling primary questions such as ‘Where does gender start and stop on the way to enlightenment?’ will include some of the approaches.
From the above aims, we also have the opportunity to answer a question Prof Peter Adamson put in one of his videos/podcasts focused on wise women and thinkers. Peter questioned the way we do philosophy today and if it is indeed based on the active participation and influence of only half of humanity, then how do we know that the way we do philosophy today is indeed whole and complete? How do we know that it is the best and only format to question truth, and one that is as inclusive of all the ways humanity expresses itself?
In following posts here, fellow philosophers and I who are engaged in this initiative will respond to the above aims, both shining a light on wise women of all times, and expanding on our findings of gender influences in philosophical practice. If you wish to be involved or wish to be kept up to date with the initiative in more detail, you can get in touch by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Elina Grigoriou
Elina Grigoriou has been a student of Practical Philosophy since 2007. Born in Athens, Greece she moved to the UK in 1996 and currently lives in South West London. Professionally, after obtaining a BA(Hons) in Interior Design, she worked in commercial interior companies for 10 years before setting up her own business with her sister Angeliki, based in Bloomsbury, London.
Part of her professional life is also involved with championing a sustainable approach to design and supporting the wellbeing of occupants. In 2016 Elina was awarded an honorary lifetime membership of the RICS in recognition of her work with sustainability.
A fan of the outdoors and sports, Elina spent two years as a professional basketball player, has run a marathon and recently swam the English Channel in a team relay. You will find her swimming in Hyde Park’s Serpentine all through the year, or enjoying an art show at the Academy of Arts. Questions on life and purpose have been present since the early teenage years and through becoming a philosopher, she has been able to find answers and a structure to apply a healthy inquiry to living happily.