It is tempting to begin a book on female ethics by hearkening back to the first female ethicist. This temptation must be resisted. Who qualifies as a precursor depends upon how one conceives of the event or activity in question and upon what one takes to be the crucial or relevant issues. In this sense, Borges is quite correct:

The word “precursor” is indispensable in the vocabulary of criticism, but one should try to purify it from every connotation of polemic or rivalry. The fact is that each writer creates “precursors.” A writer’s work modifies our conception of the past, as it will modify the future.1