I loved my philosophy classes at university. They were chock-full of amazing thinkers whose persistence and creativity changed the world. Somewhere around my third or fourth year, it occurred to me that most of them were guys. I wasn’t naive. I was well aware that historically, women were largely underrepresented in most areas of study. But they had to be somewhere, right? The history of philosophy couldn’t have rolled along without at least a handful of women, could it?
When we created the ThinkAboutIt series, we were determined to accomplish a few things:
1. We wanted to demonstrate that children were capable of philosophical thought.
2. We wanted parents to get involved.
3. We wanted all kinds of thinkers to be represented, so that young readers could really see themselves as part of the gang.
When it came time to create a narrator for the books, we chose a girl, and we named her after the Greek goddess of wisdom. Sophia is inquisitive, curious, funny, and at home with just about any famous philosopher. She’s the one who isn’t afraid to ask difficult questions, and is open-minded enough to consider a variety of answers. Illustrations in the books put Sophia out in space, decked out in sports gear, creating art, chowing down, and dressed as powerful women in history. Most recently, Sophia ventured into Wiseland, our interactive digital playground, and she was joined by a new friend, Kate.
We were also careful to include a number of famous female thinkers. They weren’t really that hard to track down, and they weren’t just associated with feminist philosophy. They contributed to ethics, environmental philosophy, metaphysics, politics, aesthetics, and logic. Since we published the books, parents and teachers have contacted us to tell us how relieved they are to present their daughters and female students with an array of female philosophers. When it came time to produce our 50 Philosophers app, we seized the opportunity to invite even more to the party.
We’d like to celebrate all the amazing female thinkers who’ve paved the way, as well as all the little girl thinkers to come!