"Through biography, extensive translation, commentary, and critical analysis, The Suspicion of Virtue presents the work of women who participated in the philosophical debates of the early modern period but who have been largely erased from the standard history of philosophy. Conley examines the various literary genres (maxim, ode, dialogue) in which these authors presented their moral theory. He also unveils the philosophical complexity of the arguments presented by these women and of the salon culture that nurtured their preoccupations. Their pointed critiques of virtue as a mask of vice, Conley asserts, are relevant to the revival of virtue theory by contemporary ethicians."--BOOK JACKET.