What is ‘reason’?

What is ‘reason’? How do we reason? Ask a philosopher these questions about what they claim is their practice and what they most pride themselves on, and you will most likely be met with examples or…by a rabbit in the headlights. They take it for granted – you do philosophy, ipso facto, you reason. In philosophy, suffused with overt and – post the rise of science – concealed gods, reason is held to be linguistic and primarily propositional. On this, philosophy is its own worst argument. The time is long overdue for the Man of Reason with his patriarchal dualisms that Lloyd and particularly Plumwood exposed so well to be got rid of, so it is good to hear another and at least equally important form of reason – non-linguistic, non-propositional, rich, dialectical, wholistic, fluid and instantaneous (on this occasion in relation to morality) – to get a smidgen of a run on The Philosopher’s Zone – I refer to intuition.

(Academic) philosophers, you will be hearing a lot more of intuition (and of more ‘primitive’ forms of ‘reason’) as brain science develops and what is increasingly getting an airing in adult education courses with the decline of that stage of bourgeois ideology known as postmodernism – I refer to mysticism, to which intuition is central – is absorbed by an eager public, leaving those who are committed to that which is only linguistic and propositional further behind.

Reasoning is what the brain does towards our acquiring knowledge of the world (matter reflecting on matter) and the brain draws on all of its potential towards that end – the truth of the achievement of that end being tested in practice (distinct from the linguistic contemplation, divorced from practice, of philosophy). As Lenin wrote ‘From living perception to abstract thought, and from this to practice, – such is the dialectical path of the cognition of truth, of the cognition of objective reality. Kant disparages knowledge in order to make way for faith: Hegel exalts knowledge, asserting that knowledge is knowledge of God. The materialist exalts the knowledge of matter, of nature’  Collected Works, Vol., 38 (Philosophical Notebooks), Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1976, 171.

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; Or close the wall up with our philosophic dead!

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The Man of Reason: Part Nine

The conclusion of the Republic with the myth of Er reveals Plato’s belief in the (truth-revealing) power of imagination. By his own criteria, Plato himself would have been banned from his Republic.78

In her essay Lloyd wrote that ‘the seventeenth century rationalists were aware of the limited, and limiting, character of systematised reason’,79 that this reason could not reflect the flux of consciousness. In her treatment of Romanticism, she commented that the emotions are a motivating force in their own right.80 Further, that intuition is associated with female thought styles and ‘deserves to be part of a constructive assessment of the claims and the ideals of reason.’81 In her book The Man of Reason, she wrote ‘the hierarchical relations between reason and its opposites – or between higher and lower forms of reason – have undoubtedly contributed to the devaluing of things associated with the feminine.’82

Plumwood’s discussion of the relevance of emotions to reason is most valuable. She argued for a critiquing of the dominant forms of reason to redefine or reconstruct them in less oppositional and hierarchical ways and for an affirmative assessment of emotion as being both crucial and creative. She wrote of reason and emotions as capable of a creative integration and interaction and ties an inclusion and respect for the emotions to the development of rationality and ethics.83

There is no marker in the brain with the words ‘Emotions please move quietly to the left, Reason, you may go to the right.’ Reason and emotion are inseparable. Lloyd wrote of higher and lower forms of reason, Plumwood of the overcoming of opposition and hierarchy. I propose a scale of cognition – at the ‘lower’ end, those elements to which Ilyenkov referred:

‘It was necessary to go even further back, to uncomprehended contemplation, sense perception, aesthetic intuition, i.e. to the realm of lower forms of consciousness (lower, that is, in relation to conceptual thinking), where there was really no contradiction for the simple reason that it had still not been disclosed and clearly expressed.’84

Together with this, dreams, general intuitions, and ‘above’ – conscious cognition.

The gulf in theory between reason and emotion has its paraphrase in the distinction between philosophical idealism and idealism. Was not the founder of objective idealism idealistic? How rational is it that there could be a heaven above or on earth, how rational the desire, justified by God, to have complete mastery of one’s ‘mind’ or of nature?

I define idealism as the inspiration towards that which is felt to be higher than, and argue that much of this brain function has been appropriated to Reason itself through definition – ‘(philosophical) idealism is the thought that…’,  thereby severing that part from its source, ‘below’ rationality, denying the non-rational. In so doing, Reason and rationalisation are inter-changeable.

Reason as philosophical idealism and ‘non-intellectual’ elements as idealism have both had an immense impact on life. They are driving forces and sources of creative power. What is necessary is that their material basis and inter-relationship in life is reflected in theory. In his ‘Conspectus of Hegel’s Science of Logic’ Lenin wrote:

‘The thought of the ideal passing into the real is profound: very important for history. But also in the personal life of man it is clear that this contains much truth. Against vulgar materialism. N.B. The difference of the ideal from the material is also not unconditional, not excessive…The Idea is Cognition and aspiration (volition) [of man]…The process of (transitory, finite, limited) cognition and action converts abstract concepts into perfected objectivity.’85

Lenin argued that the absolute exists within the relative and is revealed through the development of the ideal in reality by practice.

Sexless Reason has not only been conceived as a transcendence of the feminine, not even of the male, but of life, of matter. The heavens are reflected in the gutter, as Tolstoy thought – but they exist only as elements of the material world. Much has been achieved despite the Man of Reason. He is bare. His upholding is a dissipation and distraction of energy from addressing the reflection in theory of the inter-relationship of reason, the emotions and elements ‘below’ consciousness in practice. His function is the justification and maintenance of division, exploitation and oppression. What is needed for the Man of Reason is not the realisation of his limitations as a human ideal, but the realisation of his passing, in order that men and women alike might come to enjoy a more humane life, free of the dualisms that have developed in his shadow.

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Notes

78. This same dichotomy can be seen in Marx’s life. Failing to unite science and art in his dialogue ‘Cleanthes’, which also carried him ‘like a false-hearted siren into the clutches of the enemy’, (my italics) Marx (who developed his epistemology primarily on Hegel’s philosophy) abandoned poetry for philosophy in which he hoped to discover ‘our mental nature to be just as determined, concrete, and firmly established as our physical’. In E. Fischer, The Necessity of Art, A Marxist Approach, Trans., A. Bostock, 1959, reprint. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1986, 4. In his doctoral thesis of 1841 he wrote ‘In order for man to become his only true object, he must have crushed within himself  (my italics) his relative mode of being, the force of passion and of mere nature’. (Ibid.) Lenin, Gorky and Lunacharsky wrote that although Lenin loved music, to listen to it disturbed him very much. In Lenin on Literature and Art, Progress: Moscow, 1978, 270, 284, 285. Trotsky also admitted to ‘resisting’ art. In M. Solomon, Ed., Marxism and Art, Essays Classic and Contemporary, 1973; reprint. Detroit, 1986, 192.
Hitler, another idealistic male system-builder, this time of the thousand-year-Reich, who once painted reasonable water-colours for a living, stated ‘As long as a people exists, however, it is the fixed pole in the flight of fleeting appearances. It is the being and the lasting permanence. And, indeed, for this reason, art as an expression of the essence of this being, is an eternal monument – in itself the being and the permanence’ From the speech inaugurating the ‘Great Exhibition of German Art’, 1937, Munich, published in ‘Der Führer eroffnet die Grosse Deutsche Kunstausstellung 1937’, Die Kunst im Dritten Reich (Munich), I, 7-8, (July-August, 1937) 47-61, in H. Chipp, Ed., Theories of Modern Art, A Source Book by Artists and Critics., University of California Press, 1968, 478; Plotinus wrote: ‘”Let us flee then to the beloved Fatherland”: this is the soundest counsel.’ In Plotinus, The Enneads., Third ed. Abridged. Trans., S. MacKenna. op. cit. 54

79. G. Lloyd, ‘The Man of Reason’, in Women, Knowledge, and Reality: Explorations in Feminist Philosophy. Eds., A. Garry and M. Pearsall. Boston: Unwin Hyman, 1989, 124

80. Ibid. 125

81. Ibid. 124

82. G. Lloyd, The Man of Reason, ‘Male’ and ‘Female’ in Western Philosophy, London: Methuen, 1984, x (Preface to 1993 edition)

83. ‘The resolution of human/nature dualism is closely linked with the resolution of other closely associated reason/nature dualisms, such as the reason/emotion dualism…We have noticed how emotion is constructed as the opponent and dualised underside of reason, so that it is identified as an unreliable, unreflective, irrational and sometimes uncontrollable force reason must dominate. We should certainly challenge the narrowing and dominating role of reason…Emotion, like other areas reason has excluded, can be treated affirmatively, as a crucial and creative element, but in doing this we affirm neither the irrational nor the anti-rational.’ V. Plumwood, Feminism and the Mastery of Nature, London: Routledge, 1993, 189

84. E. Ilyenkov, Dialectical Logic, Essays on its History and Theory, Progress: Moscow, 1977, 189

85. V. Lenin, Collected Works, Volume 38 (Philosophical Notebooks), Progress, Moscow, 1976, 114, 195

The Man of Reason: Part Eight

Lloyd wrote ‘What is new is the decline in optimism about the eventual victory of reason.’64 An extraordinary statement for a philosopher to make. Why the negativity? Victory over what? ‘Irrationality’? If so, isn’t this the great fear of the Man of Reason?65 Plumwood addressed the issue with pertinent questions – ‘Where does the remarkable set of values enshrined in the Platonic system of thought come from? Why is reason developed in oppositional ways as hostile to nature? The attractions of choosing the shadowy, abstract world of the Forms over the living world of experience are not immediately obvious.’66

A constituent running strongly through the existence of the Man of Reason is his retreat from life. In his Seventh Letter Plato wrote of the experience of his youth:

‘I had much the same experience as many other young men. I expected, when I came of age, to go into politics…When I saw all this (the treatment of Socrates), and other things as bad, I was disgusted and drew back from the wickedness of the times.’67

For Plato and Plotinus, the return of soul to its source is the escape from matter. More than once in his Enneads, Plotinus calls it a flight, an escape. He cited Plato – “ ‘Likeness to God’, he says, ‘is a flight from this world’s ways and things’…”68 Such a proposition, resulting in union with God in solitude is individualist and elitist. It is a doctrine of the salvation of the self from the world. The Enneads conclude:

‘This is the life of gods and of godlike and blessed men, deliverance from the things of this world, a life which takes no delight in the things of this world, escape in solitude to the solitary.’69

Lloyd noted the Man of Reason’s ‘transcendence’ of the feminine,70 Plumwood called it ‘the flight from the feminine’.71

In her essay, Lloyd quotes Descartes from a letter to Princess Elizabeth: “True philosophy teaches that even amid the saddest disasters and most bitter pains a man can always be content, provided that he knows how to use his reason.”, adding ‘His own mastery of reason over the passions, he claims, has cured him of his hereditary dry cough and pale colour and ensured that even his dreams are pleasant.’72 In view of my criticism of the Man of Reason’s flight from the engagement of his complete being in life, Spinoza’s desire to transcend ‘the passions’, hatred, anger, envy, derision, pride, ‘excessive love’, suspicion and enmities can be interpreted as having a more prosaic motive than his Man of Reason would have us believe. This same desire to transcend (escape) ‘the vagaries’ and obligations of life lies at the heart of Neoclassicism, Romanticism and the philosophy of Bergson.

The Man of Reason personifies a rejection of those aspects of ‘mind’ and life which are beyond his control. Poets were to be banned from Plato’s Republic.73 ‘The gravest charge against poetry still remains. It has a terrible power to corrupt even the best characters, with very few exceptions’.74

‘Poetry has the same effect on us when it represents sex and anger, and the other desires and feelings of pleasure and pain which accompany all our actions. It waters them when they ought to be left to wither, and makes them control us when we ought, in the interests of our own greater welfare and happiness, to control them.’75

Yet not only is Plato’s writing, with his notion of eternal Forms and their shadows and his use of simile highly creative, his own writing reveals a rich and idealistic emotional life and a great sensitivity to art  and inspiration:

‘arranged as they are in the plumes of rapid imagination, (poets) speak truth. For a Poet is indeed a thing ethereally light, winged, and sacred, nor can he compose anything worth calling poetry until he becomes inspired, and, as it were, mad, or whilst any reason remains in him…(they compose) from the impulse of the divinity within them’76

His treatment of the ‘divided soul’ is exemplified in the Phaedrus, in which the sexual love of beauty is an inspirational bridge between matter (appearance) and knowledge (of the realm of Ideas):

‘the whole soul of him whose wings begin to grow seethes and throbs with an itching irritation such as is felt in the gums at the forming of the teeth…And as it looks upon the beauty of a boy and particles then come flowing thence upon it, which is called desire, it is warmed and refreshed, it is relieved of its pain and rejoices.’77

Part eight of nine/to be continued…

Notes
64 G. Lloyd, ‘The Man of Reason’, in Women, Knowledge, and Reality: Explorations in Feminist Philosophy, Eds., A. Garry and M. Pearsall, Boston: Unwin Hyman, 1989, 126

65 Lloyd argues Hegel’s faith in Reason can be taken not only ‘as the expression of an ideal’, but ‘as an affirmation of faith that the irrational will not prevail. Such a faith may well appear naive; but that does not mean it is bad faith.’ G. Lloyd, The Man of Reason, ‘Male’ and ‘Female’ in Western Philosophy, London: Methuen, 1984, 107

66 V. Plumwood, Feminism and the Mastery of Nature, London: Routledge, 1993, 97

67 Plato, The Republic, Trans., D. Lee. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1979, 14

68 Plotinus, The Enneads, Third ed. Abridged., Trans., S. MacKenna. London: Penguin, 1991, 18 (I,2,3)

69 Plotinus, Enneads, Trans., A.H. Armstrong. In seven volumes. London: William Heinemann, 1966-1988, Volume VI, 345 (VI,9,11). Armstrong referred to this as ‘the flight of the alone to the Alone’.

70 G. Lloyd, The Man of Reason, ‘Male’ and ‘Female’ in Western Philosophy, op. cit. 104

71 V. Plumwood, Feminism and the Mastery of Nature, op. cit. 74. Also 112 ‘Descartes is plainly the heir of the Platonic and rationalist flight from and devaluation of the body, nature and the feminine.’ 116 For Plato and Descartes, knowledge is not only freedom from doubt, but also ‘freedom from the body and its deceptions, weaknesses and hindrances, its personal and emotional ties…In Cartesianism, as in earlier rationalism, the excluded and inferiorised contrast of ‘pure’ thought includes much more than the feminine. Its contrasts now include not only animality and the body itself, but also material reality, practical activity, change, the emotions, sympathy and subjectivity.’

72 Descartes to Elizabeth, 6 October 1645, in Descartes Philosophical Letters, Ed. and Trans., A. Kenny. Oxford University Press: Oxford. 1970, in G. Lloyd. ‘The Man of Reason’. op.cit. 118

73 Cf. Rousseau’s exclusion of women from citizenship.

74 Plato, The Republic, Trans., D. Lee. op. cit. 436

75 Ibid. 437

76 Plato, ‘Ion’, Five Dialogues of Plato Bearing on Poetic Inspiration, London, 1929, 7

77 Plato, Phaedrus, In S. Mainwaring. ‘Winckelmann and the Platonic Educative Eros’, Fine Arts IV thesis, University of Sydney, 1988, 65

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I will soon begin a series on the philosophy of the Neoplatonist Henri Bergson

The Man of Reason: Part Seven

Lloyd’s exposure of what has been done through history, and still is done to women, by men and women in the name of the Man of Reason, is excellent. Her perspective, as that of Plumwood, offers a great deal of insight. Lloyd wrote that a previously existing contrast between men as rational and women as impulsive, emotional etc., between man in God’s image and woman as his companion was deepened by Descartes and Spinoza and carried into a separation of functions – ‘We now have a separation of functions backed by a theory of mind…reason – the godlike, the spark of the divine in man – is assigned to the male. The emotions, the imagination, the sensuous are assigned to women.’50 But this Man was not born in the seventeenth century.

Plato made repeated associations between maleness (as form) dominating femaleness (as matter).51 Lloyd wrote ‘During life, Plato concluded, the god-like rational soul should rule over the slave-like mortal body.’52 Plumwood argued that Plato’s ‘contempt for’ and debasement of’ women and ‘the feminine’ is a major element of his philosophy, in which reason is oppositional to and exclusive of the lower order with which women are associated.53 She noted that  he classed most women with slaves, children and ‘other animals’ – distant from the logos.54 In Plato’s society, women and slaves were excluded from voting.55 Even when he argued in the Laws that women must join the communal meals, Plato wrote:

‘half the human race – the female sex, the half which in any case is inclined to be secretive and crafty, because of its weakness – has been left to its own devices because of the misguided indulgence of the legislator…women have got used to a life of obscurity and retirement, and any attempt to force them into the open will provoke tremendous resistance from them’ 56

The thought of Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus and Aquinas have not only had a great impact on western thought but therefore, the impact has been on western life. Not only does Lloyd observe in her own area the dominance through history by males with a definite effect on philosophy,57 she stated ‘The content of femininity, as we have it, no less than its subordinate status, has been formed within an intellectual tradition.’58

Lloyd cautions against a critique of the Man of Reason from a specifically feminist standpoint since such might amount to ‘a catalogue of the atrocities he has perpetrated on women.’ She argued ‘What is needed is (a) critique of his standing as an ideal, whether as an object of male self-esteem or of female envy…What is needed for the Man of Reason is realisation of his limitations as a human ideal’59

Lloyd’s writing has gone some way to expose the Man of Reason (what state of dress is the Emperor really in?!) and the exclusion and domination done in his name. Surely Lloyd’s essay and book evidence that what is needed is the rejection of (the ideal of) the Man of Reason. Lloyd seems unable to decide. In her book she referred to the ideal as both a ‘self-deceiving failure’ and ‘as embodying a hope for the future’.60

Plumwood argued that reason in the western tradition has been constructed from the perspective of master, to justify not only the oppression and exploitation of women, but also of class and of nature. In this, Plumwood’s analysis is deeper than Lloyd’s. The fundamental point about the Man of Reason is not his maleness but his ideality, his inhumanity.61

Short of engaging in a discussion on the difference in brain structures and functions between male and female, those qualities recognised in the name of the Man of Reason as female and banished to ‘woman’ are also qualities the men who have constructed and those who have argued for him have denied in themselves. ‘The Man of Reason’, to borrow  from Plato, is half a man. Plumwood addresses this in her excellent writing on virtue ethics.

She ties particularity, empathic generalisation (as opposed to universalisation), and an inclusion of the emotions to the development of rationality and ethics. Virtues include openness to others, generosity, friendship, responsibility, loyalty to place, interconnection, continuity and respect for difference and independence – the latter three in particular she applies to our relationship with nature.62

‘(These ethics) are moral “feelings” but they involve both cognitive elements, ethical elements and emotion in ways that do not seem separable…The feminist suspicion is that no abstract morality can be well founded that is not grounded in sound particularistic relations to others in personal life, the area which brings together in concrete form the intellectual with the emotional, the sensuous and the bodily. Such an approach treats ethical relations as an expression of identity’.63

Part seven of nine/to be continued…

Notes

50. G. Lloyd, ‘The Man of Reason’, in Women, Knowledge, and Reality: Explorations in Feminist Philosophy, Eds., A. Garry and M. Pearsall, Boston: Unwin Hyman, 1989, 117

51. In the Timaeus, the major metaphor of Plato’s cosmology is that of rational male form (cosmos) ruling irrational female matter (chaos). Plumwood considers this dualism has a parallel in ‘deep ecology’ which she thinks draws on a psychology of incorporation. ‘deep ecology proposes a “unifying process”, a metaphysics which insists that everything is really part of, indistinguishable from, everything else…such treatment is a standard part of subordination; for example, of women, servants, the colonised, animals.’ 177-178. Also ‘deep ecology gives us another variant on the superiority of reason and the inferiority of its contrasts’. 182. V. Plumwood, Feminism and the Mastery of Nature,  op. cit.

52. G. Lloyd, The Man of Reason, ‘Male’ and ‘Female’ in Western Philosophy, London: Methuen, 1984, 6

53. V. Plumwood, Feminism and the Mastery of Nature, London: Routledge, 76 -79

54. Ibid.78

55. Plumwood argued that it is not only a masculine identity underlying the Platonic conception of reason ‘but a master identity defined in terms of multiple exclusions, and in terms of domination not only of the feminine but also of the slave (which usually combines race, class and gender oppression), of the animal, and of the natural.’ V. Plumwood, Feminism and the Mastery of Nature, op. cit. 72

56. Plato, The Laws, Trans., T. Saunders, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1984, 262-263 (781)

57. ‘Philosophers…have been predominantly male; and the absence of women from the philosophical tradition has meant that the conceptualisation of Reason has been done exclusively by men. It is not surprising that the results should reflect their sense of Philosophy as a male activity…there has been no input of femaleness into the formation of ideals of Reason.’ G. Lloyd, The Man of Reason, ‘Male’ and ‘Female’ in Western Philosophy, op. cit.108

58. Ibid. 106. Also ‘Contemporary consciousness, male or female, reflects past philosophical ideals as well as past differences in the social organisation of the lives of men and women.’ 107

59. G. Lloyd, ‘The Man of Reason’, op.cit. 127

60. G. Lloyd, The Man of Reason, ‘Male’ and ‘Female’ in Western Philosophy, op. cit.107

61. Plumwood noted that Plato’s abstract realm of Forms is maximally distanced from the inferior world of change and that (as developed in Descartes’ metaphor of the machine) permits the emotional distance which enables power and control. V. Plumwood, Feminism and the Mastery of Nature, op. cit. 81, 119

62. ‘(Such an ethics) abandons the exclusive focus on the universal and the abstract associated with egoism, and the dualistic and oppositional accounts of the reason/emotion and universal/particular contrasts given in rationalist accounts of ethics.’ V. Plumwood, Feminism and the Mastery of Nature, op. cit. 184

63. V. Plumwood, Feminism and the Mastery of Nature, op. cit. 183

The Man of Reason: Part Four

Plato’s Philosopher Ruler was the original Man of Reason and model for those which were put forward later:

‘His eyes are turned to contemplate fixed and immutable realities, a realm where there is no injustice done or suffered, but all is reason and order, and which is the model which he imitates and to which he assimilates himself as far as he can.’25

Although Plotinus made no mention of a philosopher ruler in his Enneads, it is clear that he wrote for such an ideal character:

‘All men from the beginning, as soon as they are born, employ sense-perception before intellect and sense-objects are necessarily the first which they encounter. Some of them stay here and live through their lives considering these to be primary and ultimate…And those of them who claim rationality make this their philosophy…Others have risen a little from the things below because the better part of their soul has urged them on from the pleasant to a greater beauty; but since they were unable to see what is above, as they have no other ground to stand on they are brought down, with the name of virtue, to practical actions and choices of the things below from which they tried to raise themselves at first. But there is a third kind of godlike men who by their greater power and the sharpness of their eyes as if by a special keen-sightedness see the glory above and are raised to it as if above the clouds and the mist of this lower world and remain there, overlooking all things here below and delighting in the true region which is their own, like a man who has come home after long wandering to his own well-ordered country.’26

Lloyd built her argument substantially on the point of Descartes’ method: ‘One of the most striking things that happens to reason in the seventeenth century is the attempt to encapsulate it in a systematic method for attaining certainty. The paradigm for this approach to reason is Descartes’s Regulae, the Rules for the Direction of the Mind, written in 1628…This (method) is the basis for Descartes’s later influential doctrine of clear and distinct ideas.’27

In so doing, she is losing sight of the forest (or the chasm) for the trees. Fundamentally, the issue is the division between ‘mind’ and matter,28 with the body as the point of focus,29 and this division is justified in a range of ways. Key elements, traceable to Plato, recur through western culture – a denigration of this world and life and an extolling of the ‘other’ with its focus on the Good, the One, or a male God; two forms of reason – one for the ‘lower’ world of change, the senses and the emotions, the other relevant to the ‘higher’ unchanging world of ‘Reason’, with Reason being a male potential and everything ‘less’ banished to the female and to be mastered, resulting in the exclusion of women from power; less reality in this world in which the ‘mind’ is somehow trapped in the body, longing for its source, and ‘true’ reality in the ‘other’.

Part four of nine/to be continued…

Notes

25. Plato, The Republic, Trans. D. Lee. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1979, 297

26. Plotinus, Enneads. Trans. A.H. Armstrong. In seven volumes. London: William Heinemann, 1966-1988, Volume V, 287, (V,9,1). Cf. Spinoza ‘the ignorant man is not only distracted in various ways by external causes without ever gaining the true acquiescence of his spirit, but moreover lives, as it were, unwitting of himself, and of God, and of things, and as soon as he ceases to suffer ceases also to be…Whereas the wise man, in so far as he is regarded as such, is scarcely at all disturbed in spirit, but, being conscious of himself, and of God, and of things, by a certain eternal necessity, never ceases to be, but always possesses true acquiescence of his spirit.’ Spinoza. The Ethics. Trans. R.Elwes. Mineola: Dover,1955, 2 Part V, Prop. XLII, 270.  In G. Lloyd. ‘The Man of Reason’. op. cit. 118

27. G. Lloyd, ‘The Man of Reason’. op. cit.114. Plumwood wrote that in Descartes’ philosophy, ‘A  new role is envisaged for reason, the role of exercising power over the natural world rather than escaping from it or rising above it…the role of becoming the “masters and possessors of nature”. To the alienated human identity of earlier rationalist dualism, in which what is distinctively and virtuously human is above nature, is added the fantasy of complete mastery…It is no coincidence that this view of nature took hold most strongly with the rise of capitalism, which needed to turn nature into a market commodity and resource without significant moral or social constraint on availability.’ V. Plumwood. Feminism and the Mastery of Nature. op. cit.110, 111

28. ‘Platonic philosophy is organised around the hierarchical dualism of the sphere of reason over the sphere of nature, creating a fault-line which runs through virtually every topic discussed: love, beauty, knowledge, art, education, ontology…In each of these cases the lower side is that associated with nature, the body, and the realm of becoming, as well as of the feminine, and the higher with the realm of reason. The timeless, abstract realm of the Forms is separate and maximally distanced from the inferior “world of changes”, of coming into being and passing away…’. V. Plumwood. Feminism and the Mastery of Nature.  op. cit. 81

29. Plumwood noted the anthropocentrism and, descriptively and appropriately, the phallocentrism, of this web of dualisms.  Ibid. 11