Women and Reason

Front Cover
Elizabeth D. Harvey, Kathleen Okruhlik
University of Michigan Press, 1992 - 294 pages
The idea of reason and its place in Western thought has long been a central topic for philosophers, histories, and cultural theorists. Some have claimed that since rationality is a male principle, the emphasis placed upon it has relegated women to secondary positions throughout the history of Western civilization.
Women and Reason provides a revisionary assessment of the idea of reason and its relationship to femininity. The editors of this interdisciplinary collection have gathered essays that examine the concept of reason from a variety of perspectives and across a number of historical periods. Philosophers, philosophers of science, historians, literary critics, art historians, and theorists of culture address the idea of reason and how it has affected our notion of the feminine from the seventeenth century, the period many have seen as giving birth to our modern idea of rationality, to the present.
Topics addressed include the place of women in seventeenth-century English culture, the relationship between women and religion in the writings of Francis Bacon and John Calvin, women and prophecy, and the relationship between gender and the origins of science. Examinations of nineteenth- and twentieth-century art and literature focus on the gendered linkage between madness and creativity and on abstract art's exclusion of the feminine. Other essays treat issues in feminist methodology such as whether reason and emotion are mutually exclusive, the role of experience in the construction of knowledge, and the place of language and consensus in the shaping of society.
The result is a volume with far-reaching implications for the understanding of our cultural inheritance and for future feminist practice and theory. It will be of interest to scholars and students of philosophy, history, literary studies, art history, and the history and philosophy of science.

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Changing Conceptions of Authority and Reason
Birth of a New Physics or Death of Nature?

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