Philosophy



The Intellectual Capacity of David Stove


Jenny Teichman a1
a1 New Hall, Cambridge

Abstract

David Stove's essay “The intellectual capacity of women” was first published in 1990, in the Proceedings of a Sydney philosophical society. It has been re-published twice since his death. It seems though that during his lifetime Stove himself refused to agree to its being re-printed. This raises two questions: Did Stove believe his essay on women contains mistakes? And: does it contain mistakes?

The main flaws in the essay stem from a rash adoption of simplistic ideas about probability coupled with a question-begging definition of capacity. The work also contains contradictions and exaggerations and some unwise forays into social history. Stove was an intelligent man so it seems likely that he would have recognised those flaws.