Rooney separates the metaphorical construction of feminine unreason from women
What does Rooney mean by gendered reasoning?
She means that reason is understood in a way that excludes the female’s characteristics.
Reason usually is understood to exclude body, nature, passion, emotion and instinct
which are usually seen as feminine. In contrast, men’s reasoning is seen as universal
and neutral, and better.
Rooney argues that certain types of metaphorical exclusions are not less worthy to get
Different views that exist with respect to sex and gender reasoning
-Traditional view: positioning maleness and reason close together since it is a tradition.
Males seen as rational and females seen as irrational. We tend to exclude terms like
emotion, imagine, private (vs public) and particular (vs universal) which tend to be
female characteristics. Sexist metaphors were fairly persistent in philosophical conceptions of
reason and knowledge in the Western tradition.Reasoning: universal, detached from
people’s emotion and objective (not influenced by emotions, biased).
- Practical view: men and women act differently due to nature. Men symbolize the mind
and women symbolize the body.
- Biological essentialism: people have unchangeable ways of being. If u r born a man u
have to be masculine. The problem is assuming that this is nature.
- More radical views: sceptical about good reasoning, stop the old reasoning and start
- More traditional feminist view: refers to socialization and historical opportunities for
men. Argue that they are differences regard to socialization and history between men
Rooney is not essentialist, radical, or practical.
Sex metaphor: metaphor using images
Metaphorical exclusion: This is the less obvious system of sexism. Rooney points out
that in the Greek philosophy reason and form are aligned with maleness and
formlessness and matter are aligned with femaleness. She also mentioned that
Aristotle says that the male imparts the form to the child while the female imparts the
passive matter. The rational part of the soul "naturally" rules the irrational part, the natural authority of free man over free women. Artsitole compares a man justice to himself as
master and as a servant for a husband and wife.
Reason: refers to the process by which we gain the proper knowledge or the truth.
Having a judgment based on logic or rationality. Having a rational judgment.
Rationality: refers to the models of reasoning. Having a knowledgeable judgment.
"Just as in man and woman there is one flesh (soft) of two, so the one nature of the mind
embraces (supports) our intellect (smartness) and action, or our council (meeting) and execution
(carrying out), or our reason and reasonable appetite (eve eating apple)."
What is meant by metaphorical exclusion?
It refers to the less obvious way of excluding women in society, sexism. One of Rooney
examples was casting women in a project as the other of the knowing subject, or in
opposition to such "proper" knowing. She also provides a passage where women are
seen as the opposite of eternal, free, and knowing.
Metaphors are being adopted to the point of their disappearance, since people get used to
them as they become a fact. The nature of mind, soul, reason has been notoriously intractable
(difficult) for philosophers, which makes theorizing about this whole area so much more
susceptible (weaker) to the dictates (say) of a dominant metaphor.
1. The basic elements of the structure are a male node (aligned with reason), a female
node (aligned with unreason), and some sort of relationship between them.
2. When reason is operating correctly the male node represents the locus of activity and
a "proper" relation with the female node has been established.
3. When there is a lapse in reason or when unreason has surfaced, the female node is
"active," with the activity taking the form of wily charms, contrary impulses, or shadowy
4. The activity of reason in (2) almost always includes some form of denigration, extrusion,
domination, or control of the female node, with related images of battle or struggle.
Reasoning transcends (go beyond) gender and sex. Rooney says that reasoning is limited
and that there are other ways of being more rational and we do not use them, thus we
How does Rooney explain the dualism of mind and body?
she refers to the feminine being pointed to historically as irrational and uses the
body/appetite to deal with situations. While the men are seen as rational. For example,
when Eve used her appetite and decided to eat the apple and then tempted Adam to it.
Also, historically Adam is not seen to have done anything wrong, since males are seen to be tempted easily by females. Thus constructing the idea that men are neutral and
women are irrational.
What do we have to know about the western canon?
Rooney separates the social construction of feminine unreason from women
irrationality. The western cannon is the cannon of litleture, art, and music that
influenced the shaping of the western culture. This cannon was made of men. This is
important because Rooney argues that the western culture is shaped around ideas that
view women as unreasoned, while the only reason they were like that is because they
did not have the proper opportunity as men. The ideas around women have come from
the western cannon which were made of men. This shows that it is a certain group of
only men are who constructed such an idea. This affects rational