By Deborah K. Heikes
Within either feminist and non-feminist philosophical circles, our knowing of rationality is dependent upon the concept's historical past. Heikes lines the advance of theories of rationality from Descartes via to the current day, analyzing the paintings of consultant philosophers of the Enlightenment and 20th and twenty-first centuries. She discusses feminist matters with rationality as understood by means of each one thinker mentioned and likewise makes a speciality of the deeper difficulties that lie outdoors in particular feminist concerns. She is going directly to give some thought to how every one belief of rationality serves to floor the commonly conceived feminist philosophical objectives of exclaiming the truth and injustice of oppression. She finally concludes advantage rationality may well serve feminist wishes good, with no the accompanying luggage of Enlightenment rationality.
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Rationality and Feminist Philosophy argues that the Enlightenment notion of rationality that feminists are keen on attacking is not any longer a dwell inspiration. Deborah okay. Heikes indicates how modern theories of rationality are consonant with many feminist matters and proposes that feminists desire a substantive conception of rationality, which she argues may be a advantage thought of rationality.
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Extra info for Rationality and Feminist Philosophy (Continuum Studies in Philosophy)
To reject a shared human capacity to reason hardly puts feminism on a stronger philosophical ground for to do so would then require one to argumentatively establish the rationality of women (or men). Furthermore, not all women have found the concept to be oppressive. Take the modern philosophers Mary Astell and Damaris Masham. Both of these women take from Descartes the understanding that rationality is simply a human trait and is synonymous with thinking. Neither believes that Descartes excludes women from the domain of the rational, and in fact, each utilizes a Cartesian understanding of rationality to argue that the development of reason should not be denied to women.
Not only is postmodernism eager to attack these concepts themselves; this approach simply rejects the kind of stability and normativity on which the meaning of the concepts depends. If ‘reason’ has no stable meaning, if the term is constantly shifting and entirely dependent upon perspective and context, then, it cannot serve as a corrective for belief or action. It becomes simply another socially dependent and fragmented concept. The obvious response is: so what? Why not admit that the concept of reason, if there is one, is pluralistic, fragmented, and constantly shifting?
Given that reason and rationality are normative concepts—and that Descartes is above all concerned with them as normative concepts—he has a significant problem. The principles and rules for the direction of the mind that he offers cannot withstand his evil deceiver hypothesis. If there actually is an evil deceiver, reason itself becomes suspect, and all of the claims that Descartes builds upon the procedures of right reason are thereby lacking justification. Take the passage in which Descartes begins to establish his evil deceiver hypothesis: How do I know that he [God] has not brought it about that there is no earth, no sky, no extended thing, no shape, no size, no place, while at the The Good, the Bad, and the Dichotomous 35 same time ensuring that all these things appear to me to exist just as they do now?