By Lynda Lange (auth.), Sandra Harding, Merrill B. Hintikka (eds.)
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Extra info for Discovering Reality: Feminist Perspectives on Epistemology, Metaphysics, Methodology, and Philosophy of Science
Book I, Ch. 15 Randall finds Aristotle willing to build on the observations and opinions of others, and suggests that this is because Aristotle viewed science as a gradual accretion of knowledge to which successive thinkers could add. I think this may be misleading, since Aristotle does not merely build on previously acquired “knowledge”. In the biology, he invariably opens the discussion of each issue by refuting the theories of other thinkers, before proceeding to argue for his own theory. It is true, however, that Aristotle seldom challenges an observation of “facts” because he did not regard their determination as involving any difficulty, other than the practical.
Having looked at Aristotle’s description of the soul, we must now look at the way in which he makes use of this description to justify his view that women are naturally subordinate to men. III As we have seen, in the Politics Aristotle turns to the constitution of the soul in order to justify his view that certain classes of beings are by nature to rule over other classes. He wants us to see that just as the irrational part of the soul is subordinate by nature to the rational part, so women are subordinate by nature to men.
These organs, or parts, are “material causes” of animals, and it may be noted that the female is no more than a material cause of the animal. Reading ‘male’ for ‘person’, what else are women but “matter set in motion by and for the soul of the unified male, for the ends of the (male) species”? CONCLUSION According to Randall, Aristotle did not look to knowledge – not even to what a modern would call scientific knowledge – to do anything other than give understanding. ” Aristotle’s political philosophy, in which he includes what are called the ethics, is meant to tell us how to be good, rather than how to be free, although it is in the nature of his concept of virtue that its mainspring must be within the individual, and not imposed externally.