Ruth Barcan Marcus

Any time I think it’s difficult to be a woman and a mother in a male-dominated field, I remember two people: Elizabeth Anscombe and Ruth Barcan Marcus. I am blown away by their bravery and the path they blazed for the rest of us. Ruth Barcan Marcus died recently; here‘s a lovely memorial to her.

Rose Woodhouse

Elizabeth Picciuto was born and reared on Long Island, and, as was the custom for the time and place, got a PhD in philosophy. She freelances, mainly about disability, but once in a while about yeti. Mother to three children, one of whom is disabled, two of whom have brown eyes, three of whom are reasonable cute, you do not want to get her started talking about gardening.


  1. She sounds like an amazing woman. The author was lucky to know her.

  2. I wish I had. The article didn’t stress this, but if women were accepted earlier in any area of philosophy, it was ethics. Barcan Marcus did logic, the malest province within a male field.

  3. Alternatively:

    “I can’t sleep. What are you watching?”

    She peered over my shoulder at the screen. At that moment, Jay Leno was telling a story that had no point whatsoever, pausing occasionally for audience reaction. There he was, smirking, as they giggled and guffawed, like slaves to the applause sign.

    “Why is he doing that?”

    “It’s … hard to explain,” I said.

    There came from Marcus a characteristic “harrumph” of dissatisfaction with my answer. She insisted on siphoning a few ounces of gasoline from her car and immolating my TV.

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