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Feminism in purgatory: the ontological subject caught between modernity and postmodernity Dalgliesh, Bregham 1994

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FEMINISM IN PURGATORY: THE ONTOLOGICAL SUBJECTCAUGHT BETWEEN MODERNITY AND POSTMODERN1TYbyBREGHAM DALGLIESHB.Sc., The University of Southampton, 1992A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFMASTER OF ARTSinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIESDepartment of Political ScienceWe accept this thesis as conformingto the required standardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIASeptember 1994©Bregham Daigliesh, 1994In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.(Signature)________________Department of________________The University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate SJDE-6 (2188)11ABSTRACTBy assuming there to be a philosophical relationship between one’s ontology and thepolitico-moral framework one advocates, this thesis places modern political philosophy inthe context of meaninglessness to argue that liberal ontologies and communitarianframeworks have historically excluded women from being ontologically self-determining,morally free, and from equal respect. Taking both these philosophies as characteristic ofmodern patriarchalism, it is claimed they responded to the decline of premodernmetaphysical meaning through an elaboration of institutional frameworks dominated byreason and order, and in juxtaposition to women and nature. However, in order totranscend this modern patriarchal framework and its associated masculine ontology,feminism experiences a sense of intellectual purgatory. Desperate to establish, at the least, agender neutral post-patriarchal framework, feminism cannot risk positing a universallyapplicable ontology on which to base it for fear of committing the same error of exclusionof modern ontologies. Nonetheless, feminism remains at the same time committed to apostmodern politico-moral framework that disparages metanarratives and universalontologies. Feminism, therefore, is caught at the ontological level between modernity’sframework which it rejects, and postmodern ontologies which are not sufficient on theirown to transform this framework.111TABLE OF CONTENTSAbstract iiTable of Contents iiiAcknowledgement ivDedication vINTRODUCTION 1CHAPTER ONEA conceptual clarification and analytical framework 6An analytical framework of the subject 12An analytical framework of meaning as context 20CHAPTER TWOAn ontology of political philosophy 27The soul and metaphysical meaning 29The subject and existential Angst 32The defined person and liberalism 42The defining self and communitarianism 52CHAPTER THREEThe ontological dichotomy in modern politicalphilosophy - a feminist critique 57Feminism in context 591)ARazson as - and nature as not - a etre 66CHAPTER FOURA feminist critique of the ontology of liberalismand communitarianism 84He is not me - the liberal subject and feminism 85They are not us - communitarian frameworks and feminism 99CONCLUSION 116BIBLIOGRAPHY 120ivACKNOWLEDGEMENTThank you to Professor S.LaSelva for his invaluableassistance in helping to clarify and give coherenceto my research and writing.VDEDICATIONFar meinen ‘Zeitgeist’, LB.1IntroductionThe tradition of political philosophy in the west dates back to the Socratic dialoguesof Plato, wherein the issues of societal justice and individual virtue or being play acomplementary role. As one of our earliest literary sources, The Republic symbolises thedawning of moral and political philosophy which has concerned itself ever since with twofundamental issues. On the one hand, there has been the elaboration of varying ontologicalaccounts of the subject. Hence, although the word ‘ontology’ first made its appearance in themid-seventeenth century in the works of Leibnitz and Baumgarten, its meaning has not onlybeen limited to the epoch of modernity. Its etymological origins, for example, are Greek, fromontos (being) and logos (knowledge), and the term refers literally to the ‘knowledge of being’(Reese,1980,pp.401-402), and metaphorically in our context to a normatively posited accountof the subject’s mode of existence.On the other hand, political philosophers have helped in constructing societalinstitutions and moral frameworks, sometimes as a result of their ontologies, and at othertimes as a justification of them.1 In this respect Taylor (1985,pp.1O-ll4)argues academicaccounts of the subject are often far removed from common experience. This arises becauseof a philosopher’s desire to explain something of which an ontology is simply a supportiveassumption. Elsewhere, A.J.Ayer has written that questions about ontology can “...legitimately• be interpreted as questions about the choice of conceptual schemes and about the relationships1n this sense, therefore, politics can be dichotomised into those who place the ‘I’ beforethe ‘We’, and those who give priority to the ‘We’ rather than the ‘I’ (Strong,1992,pp.1-21).2of their various elements,... (an ontology) is to be attacked or defended on purely pragmaticgrounds” (quoted in Quinton,1992,p.496). Similarly, Corngold (1986,p.2) claims the “.idea ofthe self organises a vast economy of concepts; how we think about the self altogetherdetermines how we are in the world”.In the context of our discussion, however, we will, using a philosopher’s or a traditionof philosophy’s ontological assumptions, examine the moral frameworks that havecharacterised the western world since Plato. There are two reasons why we will examine themoral frameworks in terms of their ontologies. Firstly, and implicitly, modernity in the westis characterised by a liberal democratic framework that is seemingly so entrenched that itthreatens to overwhelm the potential for ‘non-conformist’ modes of existence. Giddens(199O,p.139) portrays this latter point as the subject’s existential anxiety, and the liberaldemocratic framework of modernity as “a runaway engine of enormous power which,collectively as human beings, we can drive to some extent but which also threatens to rush outof our control and which could rend itself asunder. The juggernaut (of modernity) crushesthose who resist it,...”. Alford (l’991,pp.3-4), too, has noted this but in terms of politics. Thedifference between the ancient and modern conceptions of politics, he argues, is that for theformer a core question concerned the nature of the good man (that is, subject), and howpolitics could support and foster ‘him’. In contrast, modern politics looks at how society canbest be organised so as to control the worst, that is conflictual, aspects of human nature.2 Inso doing, modern political frameworks, by assuming human nature to be conflictual, becomeoblivious to the realisation that perhaps the societal frameworks themselves are the causes ofthese deviant human natures. Secondly, and explicitly, therefore, will be the task of showing2Strauss (1’968,pp.3-8) argues somewhat more cynically that liberal societies are characterisedby mass rule due to the subject’s only virtue, electoral apathy.3how, for women, modernity’s moral framework and the historical tradition from whence itoriginates, are hostile and oppressive to them. Following Taylor (1989a,p.3), who argues thatin modernity “...selfhood and morality (are) inextricably intertwined themes,...” it will beshown that to assign respect to others - women- as fellow human beings, necessitates a newmoral ontology that includes, rather than classifies as deviant, their accounts of existence.By concentrating on one of the dominant debates within modern political philosophy,that between liberals and communitarians, it will be illustrated how the former has excludedwomen at the ontological level, whilst the latter has done likewise at the level of a moralframework. Taken together, these two traditions of modern political philosophy might be seenas constituting the core of modern patriarchal society. Feminism, however, as the vanguardof women’s efforts to be ontologically self-determining and morally free, finds itself faced,when challenging modern political philosophy, with a political dilemma. As a mode ofdiscourse advocating an ontology of a gendered, feminine subject, it must necessarily acceptone of two alternatives. That is, in positing a specific feminine subject, feminism is unable toextrapolate a political and moral framework to replace that which has historically oppressedwomen, namely modern patriarchal society. From this perspective, feminism must adhere toa political framework wherein groups function, and whose particular parts share the sameontological characteristics at the group level but who do not share the same vision of thewhole. To do so, though, would only serve to perpetuate the very society that has oppressedthe female and imposed the feminine.3 Alternatively, to attempt to restructure modern3The word ‘female’ is not seen as pejorative, in contrast to ‘feminine’ or ‘woman’ whichdenote traits, cultural roles, attitudes and abilities held to be specific to the socialised ‘female’.Klein (1972) thus sees the feminine as historically and culturally determined, with Harding(1983) sharing the same view although she emphasises gender (masculine and feminine) as asocially constructed difference derivative from sex (male and female), the biologicallyconstructed difference.4patriarchal society by hypothesising a feminine conception of the subject, risks situatingfeminism within modern political philosophy insofar as this feminine subject would lead usback into the realm of ontological universalism, whence exclusion.For instance, at the epistemological level, Harding and Hintikka (1983,p.ix) argued thatfeminists “...must root out sexist distortions and perversions in epistemology, metaphysics,methodology and the philosophy of science,.... Central to the distinctions and perversions wasa ‘hard core’ of abstract reasoning and objectivity which, if justice was to be done to women,had to be at the very least transformed if not altogether abandoned. However, as Antony andWitt (1993,pp.xiii-xiv) claim, whilst this ‘hard core’ is “...too deep and pervasive to be simplydismissed as accidental (to the charge of misogyny),...” it is nonetheless of vital significance tofeminists. Apart from empowering rather than oppressing them, they claim that to abandonreason and objectivity would be self-defeating for feminism, as it would “...be giving up on thepossibility of persuading others of the correctness of our views,... (whilst) embracing andreinforcing- rather than challenging - the invidious stereotypes of feminity” (Ibid.). What wesee, therefore, is a case of how feminism is caught between the modern and the postmodern.Desperate to transcend the perceived patriarchal epistemology characteristic of modernity,feminists must instead first transform the institutions of modernity derivative from thisepistemology. Only then, within a gender neutral framework of institutions, can they embarkupon (relatively) radical subjective and contingent forms of knowledge generation like, forexample, the experiences of women in their everyday lives as mothers or spouses.Similarly, the same dilemma is to be found at the ontological level where a universallydefined, autonomous agent has formed the foundation for a masculine moral framework.Rejecting both this concept of the subject and the moral framework as masculine specific,feminists seek to posit an ideal of subjecthood which must necessarily be non-contingent nor5particular in order to change the existent moral framework. Yet, in so doing it subsumes allinto this ontological realm and, like its masculine predecessor, denies difference and radicalsubjective freedom. The dilemma, therefore, is typical of and has its origins in modern, post-sixteenth century political philosophy: how do we safeguard the liberty and freedom of thesubject yet still maintain a common form of association or framework to which he or she isobligated and a part of? Additionally for feminism, how do we transform this modernmasculine framework into a postmodern gender neutral system posited on some notion ofcommon, unengendered subjecthood, without denying the subject its right of radicalsubjectivity? Purgatory for feminism, therefore, is, the (feminine) subject’s dilemma of beingcaught between the need to transcend modernity’s patriarchal moral framework, whilstsimultaneously wanting to be contingent and particular in one’s subjecthood too.6CHAPTER ONEA conceptual clarification of the subjectThe ways in which political and moral philosophers have addressed ontologicalquestions has varied considerably over the last two millennia, from the immortal psyche ofPlato or Aristotle’s anima, to the German concept of Geist or its English equivalent, ‘mind’.Shoemaker (l963,p.8) goes so far as to suggest a privileged position for human beings in thenatural world due to the entity of the ‘mind’, as “...it is obvious enough that the existence ofa special problem about the nature of persons, and the nature of personal identity, is somehowconnected with the fact that persons have minds”. More recently psychologists and politicaland social philosophers have referred to concepts like the individual, the self or the person inthe context of their ontological theories. Irrespective of the terminology one uses, however,is the widespread cross-cultural acceptance of this kind of theorising. Indian Vedanticphilosophy, for example, is concerned at the ontological level with the nature of the empiricalor phenomenal subject and its relation to other states of higher consciousness. It therebyidentifies the subject not with ‘mind’, but unlimited spiritual being (Deutsch,1992a). InChinese Confucianism the subject is governed by ethical considerations and is social in nature,and he or she is constituted organically by these relations (Ibid). However, the discourse of the‘individual’, the ‘self’ and the ‘person’, that is “...l’être de raison, le sujet normatif desinstitutions,...” is particular to the western tradition (Dumont,1966,p.22). Further, this ‘sujetnorinatif conceives of itself as an ethical value sui generis, “.. .la rnesure de toutes choses”(Ibid,p .23).7The political importance of ontological theory for liberal democratic societies can, atthe level of a subject seen to be imbued with reason, be traced back at least to Kant’sGrundlegung zur Metaphvsik der Sitten (1785). Several modern theorists like C.B.Macpherson(1962), for example, would contest this claim by pointing to the works of Hobbes and Lockewho, he argues, laid the foundations of the possessive individualism of bourgeois, democratic‘man’. A similar argument about this categorisation of the modern (and eventually liberaldemocratic) person might also be extended to earlier theorists like Machiavelli, the ScottishEnlightenment philosophers, or Bentham and the utilitarians. However, the issue at stake isnot so much the portrayal of a sixteenth century Italian as a rationally calculating, powermaximising person, or the belief that seventeenth and eighteenth century England wasinhabited solely by utility maximisers in search of material pleasures. Rather it is thediscovery by Jean-Jacques Rousseau of what Solomon (l988,pp.l6-2l) calls the transcendentalpretence.4 Upon this understanding Rousseau gave to Kant the opportunity to make thesubject the core focus of philosophy. Kant was thereby able to postulate a conception of theperson who creates the objective world through self-reflection. During this process of creationone comes to know not only oneself but others too in a transcendental realm of similarity orsameness. It is this notion of the ahistorical subject that has arguably formed a barrier towomen’s attempts to be self-determining, in both the public-private dichotomy this subjectrequires, and in the use of reason as the determinant of moral being (versus the amorality ofwomen and nature). As Solomon (Ibid.,p.6) argues, the transcendental pretence wasinnocent philosophical thesis, but a political weapon of enormous power. Even as it signalled4ttFully developed, the transcendental pretence has two central components: first, theremarkable inner richness and expanse of the self, ultimately encompassing everything; andsecondly the consequent right to project from the subjective structures of one’s own mind, andascertain the nature of humanity as such” (Solomon,1988,pp.1-2).8a radical egalitarianism, and suggested a long-awaited global sensitivity, it also justifiedunrestricted tolerance for paternalism and self-righteousness- ‘the white philosopher’sburden’”. And it is through Kant that this conception of the subject finds one of its mosteloquent expressions, and hence his importance in the course of our discussion.In another, broader sense Kant and his German compatriots were important. Whilstpolitical philosophers from Plato to Descartes had ascribed reason- as did Kant- to humanbeings, they had also constructed grand theories which saw the person as part of ametaphysical whole. Hence Plato’s polis and the theory of the forms. Or Descartes’ solution,by the use of God to guarantee that our perceptions are not deceptive, to the problem of ahuman consciousness establishing relations to other consciousnesses and objects outside thesubject’s consciousness. German Idealism reformulated this metaphysical domination of theontological, particularly Kant’s autonomous subject as constructing Moralitãt and Hegel’ssubsequent attempt at reconciling it with Sittlichkeit. Kant especially wrote in contrast toHume, who tried to grapple with the idea of a subject with a unitary consciousness. But Humewas only able to envisage a strictly relational subject which he used to explain how disjointexperiences of discreet sensations, feelings and images could be rendered meaningful(Alford, 1991,pA) .Hence it was Kant who explained the unity of perception and consciousness byassuming a transcendental subject who could connect experience according to particular5Hume was quite clear about the impossibility of a unitary subject: “There are somephilosophers who imagine we are every moment intimately conscious of what we call ourself.... But setting aside some metaphysicians of this kind, I may venture to affirm... (that theself is) nothing but a bundle or collection of different perceptions “ (Hume,1888, bk.1, part4,sec.6).9universal laws.6 In effect, therefore, Kant saw, as had Rousseau before him, that because ofthe impossibility of a return to premodernity’s l’homme de Ia nature, it was therefore necessaryinstead to legitimate society for the modern l’homme de l’homme. As a result Kant’s legacy isthe subject as a conscious being, as well as a moral and aesthetic person. This he achieved byintroducing the subject as a noumenal category, that is to say as an object conceived purelyby reason and in juxtaposition to Hume’s phenomenal subject. On this understanding thesubject is the bearer of moral practical reason, a Zweck an sich (point in itself) and theEndzweck (final purpose) of nature, leading logically to Kant’s categorical imperative: “Handleso, daJ? du die Menschheit sowohl in deiner Person, als in der Person eines jeden Andern, jederzeitzugleich als Zweck, niemals bloss als Mittel brauchst” (quoted in Hubbeling,l990,p. 12).From this Kantian conception of being arose the subject’s sovereignty, and itsconciliation with the previously estranged but concomitant notion of tolerance, or respect forother persons. Taylor (1989a,pp.1O-18), for instance, argues that respect for others is a universalprinciple, with the boundaries of who to include or exclude at any one point in history drawnfrom the cultural setting.7 In the west, Taylor claims, this principle is formulated in terms ofrights. Respect for human life is thus linked to the notion of autonomy which involvesrespecting a subject’s personality, wherein lies an implicitly respected moral autonomy.Politically speaking, this morally autonomous agent has gradually permeated our societal6’Therefore the original and necessary consciousness of the identity of oneself is at thesame time a consciousness of an equally necessary unity of the synthesis of all phenomenaaccording to.. .rules, which render them not only necessarily reproducible, but assign to theirintuition an object” (Kant, 1963,pp. 136-137).7Arguably a Zeitgeist is a better determinant of who we choose to include or exclude. Forexample, prior to 1945 countries which discriminated against their citizens on the basis of racewere tolerated by international organisations, whereas after this date countries like SouthAfrica were castigated for these policies.10institutions, and forms the ontological foundation of the modern welfare state. This is invirtue of moral agency being a basic precondition of moral activity which requires a certaindegree of freedom or the satisfaction of basic needs, leading to autonomy or the freedom toact morally. Plant, Lesser and Taylor-Gooby (l98O,pp.46-51), for example, advocate freedomfrom arbitrary power, ill-health and ignorance as fundamental to moral agency, giving rise tothe needs of rights, welfare and education.8 The autonomous subject is also the person forwhom democracy exists. Beetham (1993), for example, justifies democracy as it protects thesubject’s interests and autonomy. He argues that if we defend democracy as a means of interestmaximisation then implicitly people are seen as the best judges of their own interests. Also,autonomy does not specify the content of decision-making, only the procedures.9At a theoretical level the ontological subject has varied in character. Fromm arguedfor a fixed, non-contingent subject as an enduring, valuable human quality to be used as thebenchmark in critically appraising the repressiveness of society, and as the basis forprogrammes of social and political reform (Plant,1991,pp.58-61). Freud (1982) also claimed aspecific and acultural subject, namely the sublated pleasure principle repressed in the interestsof the reality principle. Coles (1992,pp.vii-viii) sees a “...world where ideas offered to advancefreedom so often contribute to the intensification of subjugative practices,...”. As a result hebelieves an analysis of the subject to be of vital importance if we are to explore alternativeontological and ethical positions from whence we can derive new freedoms.In contrast, the subject for theorists like Alford (199 1,p.vii) is “...not so much an entityas an idea. Or rather, the logical consequence of other ideas about freedom, responsibility, the8Similarly, Barry (l989,p.23l) argues autonomy is a precondition for a subject to beascribed rights.9Held (1987,ch.9) discusses the relationship between democracy and autonomy further.11good society, and so forth”. Still a different idea of the subject comes from Taylor (l985,pp.l5-44), who distinguishes the strong evaluator from the weak evaluator. That is, the former is asubject with depth, willing and able to evaluate desires by employing certain categories, forexample noble-base, or higher-lower. The weak evaluator, in contrast, is a subject whosefunction is to weigh desires and evaluate how they might best be met. In fact, Maclntyre(l98l,pp.2O3-2O6) and Bloom (l987,pp.l73-l79) lament the decline of the strong evaluatingsubject, arguing that the depth of today’s subject is indicative of the cultural resources availableto it.1°It becomes apparent, therefore, that at both the practical and theoretical level theontological subject is crucial to our conceptions of politics and morality. At the very least itis implicit, sometimes even complacently so, in all political and social philosophy. Increasinglyin modernity, though, a theory that is explicit about an ontological subject is often theharbinger or advocator of change. We might understand this in two senses. On one level, anexplicit ontology can be used in juxtaposition to an ‘opposition’s’, for example, the nurturing,attached feminine subject is contrasted with the independent, individuating masculine subject,with the intention of showing the latter’s shortcomings. At another level, an explicit ontologycan be used as the basis to substantiate claims for societal and institutional reform. Theexplicitness of an ontology is perhaps better understood if we think about Rousseau’s innocentand intrinsically good subject, the psycho-scientific self-preserving subject of Hobbes, Kant’stranscendental subject, or the freedom loving subject of modernity’s existentialists, from theFrankfurt school to liberals like Rawls. In each case the theory of the subject supports radical‘°Both Maclntyre and Bloom, however, risk equating the subject with its culture, as doesOakeshott, for whom “ . .understanding the self is understanding a culture; there is no separateentity, ‘the self’, to be explored by introspection” (Passmore,1989,pp.567-568).12new political practices, whether as la volonté générale or Leviathan, a secular morality, or apluralistic, neutrally governed society.Nonetheless, it is often difficult to find a consistent terminology of the subject. Alford(1991,pp.3-5), as an example, says the mode of discourse vis-a-vis the subject has moved fromthe epistemological and metaphysical of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, to thepsychological and political discourses of today. Still, he says it is unnecessary to make“...fundamental distinctions among self, ego, I, me, the person, the subject, or the individual.(Because) distinctions are not.. .theoretically fundamental; (and) do not structure the analysisiT(Ibid,p.4). A lack of consistent terminology might be because a theorist is not thoroughenough nor concerned essentially with the ontological underpinnings of his or her theory.Alternatively, the normative content of this kind of theorising might be said to play a part inthis terminological web, and a consideration of the descriptions of the subject is thus of usein our attempt to clarify the feminist critique of modern political philosophy.An analytical framework of the subjectThere are numerous ways in which an analytical framework can be derived. One couldsimply follow the established norms whilst adding whatever alterations were deemed relevant.Theorising the ontological, however, shows little consistent analytical framework orterminology. Perhaps this is partly because of the changing nature of our understanding of thesubject, or due to the multidisciplinary concern of it within academe. Kohâk (1992) suggests,as a point of reference, human beings are the ‘exotic’ species in virtue of our displacementfrom the habitat to which we are adapted, that is to say we have moved from a natural to a13cultural environment. As such, different aspects of the human being within a culturalenvironment arise, and hence the need to clarify and explain it. An explanation of aframework might best be done via a threefold classification of the subject into the individual,the self and the person. Grammatically this would correspond to the ‘it’, the ‘I’ and the ‘me’in everyday language.At the most basic level is the human being, a biological entity signifying membershipof a species and separated from other human beings by means of spatio-temporal criteria.Deutsch (1992b,pp.2-4), for example, mentions two dimensions to these criteria, the particularlike hair colour and height, and the universal as in a central nervous system. These, he argues,are sufficient conditions for what he calls the individual, but on this understanding theindividual is no different to other species. To avoid this it is necessary to conceive of theindividual, in addition to having these cross-species spatio-temporal criteria, as being rationaland therefore distinct from other species. In terms of our classification, therefore, we canfollow McCall (19’9O,pp. 10-12) who says the individual is the subject of cognition in variousmodes of understanding and perceiving.11The uniqueness of each individual, however, and the subsequent requirement to be onewas introduced by the Christian philosopher Boethius in the sixth century, who said the“...persona est individua substantia rationalis naturae” (quoted in Doran,1989,p.13). Later, in thefirst volume of Summa Theologiae, Aquinas accepted this definition of a subject: “...the termindividual substance is placed in the definition of ‘person’, as signifying the singular in thegenus of substance; and the term rational nature is added, as signifying the singular in rationalsubstances” (quoted in Ibid. ,p.13). If we understand ‘substance’ as a soul which belongs to eachlion this basis the individual is fulfilling a minimum of cogito ergo sum.14human being, then for these early Christian theologians having a soui was sufficient foridentifying one subject (or genus, literally ‘man’) from another, whilst a rational natureindicated that each soul was different. Hence a person was the bearer of a soul, though theargument below will maintain that a soul (a rational nature) is not tantamount to personhoodbut rather qualifies one as an individual. Dumont (Ibid.,p.22) calls this conception of theindividual i’agent emperique, that is the individual with a rational nature as coexistent with thehuman race. Hence the individual or the ‘it’ referred to above finds expression in Aquinas’soul bearing a rational nature, Rousseau’s noble savage, or Locke’s individual in the state ofnature, and all assume, at a minimum, a being with a rational nature.Despite the change in modern terminology from the soul to the self, the meaning andnotion of the self is as old as the tradition of western political philosophy. Plato’s elaborationof the polis rested on the trio of gold, silver and bronze souls, with each representing aphenomenon of his ideal of humanity. For Aristotle the soul was the immanent form of eachindividual body, with the body epitomising the substantive matter of each soul(Outler,1987,pp.410-411). However, it was not until Saint Augustine wrote the City of Godthat the soui attained the mythical proportions with which we associate it today.Saint Augustine was primarily concerned with rejecting the nonconfessing subject ofpagan Rome. The pagan subject, according to Saint Augustine, was driven by a lust fordomination. This arose due to the pagan subject’s civitas terrena mode of being, wherein pridewas a dominating factor. Saint Augustine thus saw pride as a psychological state - “...a longingfor a perverse kind of exaltation...” - which was intertwined with an ontological error, namelythat “...man regards himself as his own light” (Saint Augustine, 1972,vol.14,book 13). The pagansubject and the Greek soul erred in seeing themselves, instead of God, as the self-originatinglight and way of being (Coles,1992,pp.16-19). The notion of a confessing subject was therefore15introduced by Saint Augustine. This subject was based on a mode of being whereby onebecomes morally self-regulating for fear of eternal damnation. In contrast to the pagan subject,who faltered by going outside itself in its unreflective enslavement to lust, the Christian subjectwas defined by “...its perpetual trajectory toward its own depths to rout out Godless desiresand conform one’s soui to the deep truths and will of God” (Saint Augustine,1972,vol.14,book16). Asking the questions: “What then am I, 0 my God? What nature am I?”(Ibid.,vol.1O,book 17), Saint Augustine, by combining the ontological and psychological aspectsof the subject, was able to give us the reflective subject as a question to itself (Coles,1992,pp.30-32). Our understanding of the self is thus of an entity who has moved beyond cogito ergo sumto a level of moral, reasoning judgement akin to Saint Augustine’s si fallor sum.It was then left to Aquinas to synthesise the biblical views of the soul withAristotelean psychology, and he posited an individual as a composite of soul and body. Thesoul informed and directed both the sensory and rational aspects of the individual, and a viscogitativa was understood as transcending a vis aestimativa natura (Outler, l987,p.4l3). Aquinastherefore gave us both the soul and the self, the former indicating a religious, faith based modeof being and the latter a metaphysical or material, reason derived mode of being.12 The self,then, is the aspect of the individual which constitutes self-consciousness in political language,or the subconscious in psychological language, and it enables us to reflect upon our actions,thoughts, intentions and values. It is the ‘I’, or the experiencing individual (McCall, 1990,pp.13-14).The notion of the self, though, has been the object of controversy and its veryexistence often questioned. Perhaps most famously by Hume, but also cynically by Nietzsche12Henry James (l945,p.3l5) captured the essence of this transition from the soul to the self:“Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.”16who, in On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense (l953,p.244), asked: “What, indeed, doesman know of himself! Can he even once perceive himself completely, laid out as if in anilluminated glass case? Does not nature keep much the most from him, even about his body,to spellbound and confine him in a proud, deceptive consciousness (M)an rests upon themerciless,...in the indifference of his ignorance...”. Recently, French theorists like Derrida13and Benoist’4 have questioned whether the concept of the self is even possible. A multipleof selves is a further problem for any analytical framework. It is, for instance, the way inwhich the self has been portrayed in literature, from Dostoevski’s character Roskolnikov inCrime and Punishment, to Gogo and Didi’s expectation of a synthesis in a title figure, Godot,in Beckett’s Waiting for Godot (Waldeck,1979,pp.29-30). Freud, in The Poet and Phantasy, saidthis tendency arises because authors distribute their own split selves amongst their characters(quoted in Ibid.,p.21f).Perhaps one of the ways around these critiques of the self is to understand the needfor a redefinition of it, especially in the context of modernity. Lacan (l977,pp. 173-174) has, inAgency of the Letter in the Unconscious, interpreted Freud’s Kern unseres Wesen in this way:“It is not so much that Freud commands us to seek it (the self), as so many others before himhave, with the empty adage ‘Know thyself’ - as to reconsider the ways that lead to it”.Another way and of relevance to the discussion is to realise the personal nature of selfhood.That is to say, at the spiritual level of the soul and its relationship to a divine order, the issue‘3Derrida (1973) argues that the self can never be articulated, as it cannot be present in thefuture act of being read in a work for which it holds itself responsible. In his own words, thatis to say the “...unconscious is a ‘past’...that will (not ever) be present and whose future willnever be its production or reproduction in the form of presence” (Ibid.,p.152).‘4For Benoist (l978,pp.2l5-2l6) the conscious self has been obliterated: “The subject isdiffracted and caught in the symbolic order, in the structures which pervade, regulate andexpress themselves through it”.17of defining one’s soul since Saint Augustine has, in theory at least, been one of choice orconversion. Similarly with the self in the moral pluralism of modernity, where one’s selfhoodhas, if you will, been privatised out of the public sphere. The self or the ‘I’ in the realm ofpolitical practice has thus become an irrelevance, although this should not be seen as detractingfrom its continued social significance.The third category of human being we are concerned with is the person. He or sheis partly the social characterisation of the individual. Smith (1979), for example, says a personis a public entity, the individual as cognised by others, as whatever is known, attributed orthought of the individual constitutes that individual as a person. The person is also the publicimage put forward by the self. In ancient Rome the term persona referred to an actor’s mask,signalling to the audience that he or she was assuming a role (A.O.Rorty,1973). This image issimilar to the public image projected by the self today, and assumes that we have and shouldfulfil what Marcel Maus in Une Catégorie de I’Esprit Humain: La Notion de Personne, Celle de‘Moi” called a cultural and historically contextual role (quoted in Kippenberg etal.,1990,introd.). By assuming this public role, a self moves from conscious sein to fulfil thesollen of personhood (Kohk, 1992). A person is hence neither wholly constituted by societynor fully independent of it. G.H.Mead (1964) portrays these two aspects as the ‘I’, the private,reflexive and subjective self, and the ‘me’, the socially determined, objectified person. Wemight suggest, as does Johnstone (1967), that the concept of person is in fact ontic, whilst thenever directly encountered self is ontological. In this case the self would only be referred towhen our ordinary, everyday language could not express some sort of ontic experienceperformed by a person.1515”The existence of the self is a sort of hypothesis used to explain the behaviour ofpersons” (Johnstone,1967,p.205).18Being a person further involves meeting several criteria. Some theorists emphasisebodily identity as either a primary or necessary condition of personal identity.16 Shaffer(1966), however, counters the need for the body on logical grounds when describing theperson, although he acknowledges physical attributes as necessary elements in the criteria forpersons. Similar doubts about the need for the body as being an essential part of the personhave been expressed by Borowski (1976). Finally, though, he acknowledges how improbablethe person is without a body: “. . .a necessary condition for making supposed identifications onnon-bodily grounds is that at some stage identification be made on bodily grounds”(Ibid.,p.494). Still other philosophers focus upon psychological characteristics that canguarantee the continuity of personal identity over time.17 A dualistic understanding of theperson as a combination of the body and mind, however, is a contingent rather than logicalrelationship. It is conceivable that the mind could exist without the body’8 although this doesnot then exclude there being causal connections between them, “...so that even if they areseparable in principle, there may still be grounds for holding that they are inseparable in fact”(Ayer,1963,p.83). Lewis (l977,p.256) advocates this concept of the person too, when he saysit is “...an essentially mental entity, which has a unique and final identity, which is nonethelessin continuous interaction with the physical world, mainly at least through one’s own body”.Dennett (1976) argues that the concept of a person is both a honourific and normative‘6See Wiggins (1967), Gert (1971) or Amerikas (1977).17Kitcher (1978) discusses this.‘8Monists like Berkeley and Hume held this view, saying physical objects were dependentfor their existence upon being perceived. Another popular monist view is materialism whichholds there is no mental existence distinct from physical reality, in the event of which themind could not function without its body correlate.19concept. As such what it is to be a person must account for the notion of an intelligent(reasoning) and conscious agent, as well as an agent who is accountable and the bearer of rightsand responsibilities (Ibid., p.l7’6). This idea of personhood is particularly apt for a liberaldemocratic society, and Dennett is quite specific about the conditions to be met in order tobecome a person. According to Dennett (Ibid.,p.179), the honour of personhood is bestowedupon an ‘Intentional System’, that is someone whose (rational) behaviour can be explained byascribing to it intentional predicates. Normatively speaking, personhood for Dennett entailsrationality, reciprocity, second order Intentional Systems (or evidence of an intention behindreciprocity), language for communicating our intentions, and moral agency (quoted inMcCall, 199O,pp.72-78).There are, to be sure, several problems associated with Dennett’s thesis. Young (quotedin Ibid.,p.93) critiques his assumption that it is always human beings who have to adopt anintentional stance to validate an individual as a person. For Wilson (1984) a similar critiquearises, namely that personhood should amount to more than merely being the object of astance or view of other people. The important factors for our purposes, however, are thepublic identity of a person, which endows the person with sufficient qualities to participatein social and political institutions, and the dually constituted notion of the person. And it isthis last point which is of significance as it indicates how a publicly defined person, derivedfrom masculine assumptions, has slowly come to usurp the personal self. In our context, thispublicly defined person will be shown to have historically been masculine oriented, derived,for example, from the reciprocal recognition accorded by and to each person. This leads to therecognition of an ‘other’, obtained from what Bertrand Russell called “...our sombre solitude,the genuine inner existence and essential privacy of everyone,... (which are) the majorconditions of healthy personal and social relations” (quoted in Lewis,1977,p.256). Alternatively,20and more precisely, is the publicly defined person that does not take the body into account,nor the sociality of the (feminine) self with others. Feminism, therefore, is, at the ontologicallevel, an attempt to have the body included in the public conception of the person, and at thelevel of the self, to be self-determining and free of the oppressive structures of a patriarchalmoral framework.An analytical framework of meaning as contextWe need to distinguish at the outset an understanding of the terms modernity andpostmodernity. There are several ways we can do this and it will be useful to perhaps start bydifferentiating modernity from premodernity. Habermas (1981) traces the term ‘modern’ backto the late fifth century when the Latin word modernus was first used to distinguish the newChristian era from the preceding epoch of Roman paganism. Hence ‘modern’ has become themeans by which the “...consciousness of an epoch relates itself to the past of antiquity, inorder to view itself as the result of a transition from the old to the new’ (Ibid,p.3). In termsof this discussion, modernity indicates a Weltanschauung reorientation in political philosophy.Berki (l9?7,pp.ll6-ll) for instance, argues that in the sixteenth century political thought wasdescribed as modern or, at the least, early modern, in virtue of its focus upon the state and thesubject. Machiavelli is cited by Berki as representative of this shift. This is not to say theseearly shifts in emphasis represented a decisive break; indeed, modernity was as reliant uponreason as the ancients had been although after the sixteenth century it came to be seeninstrumentally. Modernity did differ, however, in its metaphysics which became mechanistic,in its material conception of virtue, by its adherence to legal and political equality, and21through its championing of the individual (Ibid.).’9Similarly, Skinner (l978,pp.llO-112) tracesthe start of modernity to the Italian and subsequent northern European Renaissance. It camefully to fruition, though, in the Scottish and French Enlightenments whose practitionersrejected medieval thought and the feudal mode of relations.Modernity, therefore, can be seen as encapsulating four interrelated concepts:‘modernity’ proper, an epochal-historical category which had its origins in the sixteenthcentury; ‘modernite” (modernity), an experiential category capturing a particular state of mindand being typical of human experience in the modern era; ‘modernisation’, the materialdevelopment of society industrially, technologically and in terms of economic relationships;and ‘modernism’, the unique cultural and aesthetic values and practices found in modernity(Featherstone,1988). A conceptual differentiation of the premodern from the modern era mightthen be seen in various ways: mechanical versus organic structures of solidarity (E.Durkheim,The Division of Labour in Society); Gemeinschaft versus Gesellschaft (F.Tönnies, Gemeinschaftund Gesellschaft); or traditional ties versus rationality and rational relations of social institutions(M.Weber, Economy and Society) (quoted in Bell and Newby,1971, ch.2).Importantly for our purposes, however, is an understanding of premodernity as anepoch characterised by a moral framework that gave the subject an a priori purpose. Thismight have ranged at the philosophical level from being a slave in a Greek polis to the moreprevalent example of this epoch, that of having been a subject under the Christian frameworkof ontological security in heavenly certainty. Modernity, in its ultimate manifestation, differsinsofar as one’s purpose becomes removed from the ‘framework level’, and is instead pursuedt9Sabine (1937,p.342) writes that Machiavelli’s main assumption was “...human nature isessentially selfish... . Government is really founded upon the weakness and insufficiency of theindividual.”22privately, if at all. In the language of political philosophy, modernity is the triumph of theright (the subject) over the good (a framework). Or, for this discussion, the threat of infiniteconceptions of private right becoming so subjective that the foundations of the moralframework in which they exist becomes illegitimate and empty.2° In short, the moralframework vis-a-vis the subject becomes meaningless.The characteristic that will concern us and is arguably fundamental to modernity isits use of reason to postulate a rational, autonomous subject. Giddens (1991,p.28) talks of‘proverbial reason’, or “...the idea that increased secular understanding of the nature of thingsintrinsically leads to a safer and more rewarding existence for human beings...”. One of themore elaborate articulations of this view can be found in Kant (1974), and as such hepersonifies the dominant ontological tradition of modernity, the Enlightenment. M.C.Taylor(l992,p.l2) portrays modernity’s project at this ontological level as “...an extraordinarily diffusemovement(;) different versions of modernism share a will-to-purity and will-to-immediacy thatimplicitly or explicitly presuppose a philosophy or theology in which being is identified withpresence”. At the societal level modernity is arguably best illustrated by the culture ofcontractarianism, a diverse but perceptible tradition traceable from Hobbes through to Rawis(1971). Philosophically, reason in modernity is the means of realising the dream of afoundation for knowledge, or what Derrida calls a search for a ‘metaphysics of presence’ thatguarantees the subject unmediated access to reality (quoted in Best and Kellner,1991,p.21).The focus of political philosophy within modernity has shifted from a concern with201n a similar vein, Giddens (199l,p.20) writes:”Modernity is essentially a post-traditionalorder. The transformation of time and space, coupled with the disembedding mechanisms (thathave come to characterise social institutions), propel social life away from .. .pre-establishedprecepts or practices”.23the place of virtue in, and the conquest of fortune by, the state (Machiavelli),21 to aninvestigation into the relation between the state and its citizens, especially the question ofpolitical obligation and the state’s legitimacy (Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau). More recentlywe find contemporary political philosophy engaged in legitimising liberal democracy anddiscussing the degree of interference permissible by the state in the lives of people (Frazer andLacey,1993,pp.26-31). During this evolution we have witnessed the entrenchment in societyof the Enlightenment (liberal) values of liberty, equality and the rule of law. And as a responsewe have seen a variety of critiques including those which fall within modernity’s rubric ofindividual freedom, like marxism, anarchism and feminism, and others which continue toadhere to premodern values of wholeness, like communitarianism.A third critique of modernity is that which arises from the protagonists ofpostmodernity. As with liberalism, feminism and other intellectual movements, it is difficultto give a single definition of postmodernism. An underlying theme nonetheless is a rejectionof modernity which is seen as responsible for the misery and suffering wrought upon a rangeof categories. They include the urban proletariat, women through their exclusion from thepublic sphere and their misogyny in the private, or the victims of the genocides of imperialistcolonisation (Best and Kellner,1991,pp.2-3). These phenomena are often seen as havingoccurred because of what Horkheimer and Adorno called the ‘dialectic of Enlightenment’, aprocess whereby reason turns into its opposite and modernity’s promise of liberation ends uphiding oppression and domination (Ibid.). In arguably one of its subtler forms, this dialecticis the moral and political framework of patriarchy, which fails to address the freedom ofwomen despite claiming at the ontological level to represent liberty and equality for all.21See Skinner (1978,pp.94-99).24Prior to the 1980s Best and Keliner (Ibid.,pp.5-16) discern two conflicting matrices ofpostmodern discourse. There were some theorists- the avant-gardists22- who spoke in apositive tone of hope and expectation about an approaching era free of oppression andinequality. Somewhat less euphorically were the cultural conservatives23 who lamented thedecline of the traditional values and structures of society. Out of this milieu arose anunderstanding of postmodernism as an attack upon Enlightenment theory, especially that ofreason. Initially evident in the linguistic-oriented discourse of structuralism, postmodernistslike Foucault, Derrida, Kristeva, Rorty and Lyotard saw it as their task to continue the projectof Nietzsche, Heidegger and Wittgenstein, which was to deconstruct modern philosophy atthe ontological and epistemological levels. In this sense postmodernism is . . .a critique ofmodern theory and a production of new models of thought, writing, and subjectivity”(Ibid.,p.25). In addition, and of significance for our purposes, is Lyotard’s view in Just Gaming:“Postmodern (or pagan) would be the condition of the literatures and arts that have noassigned addressee and no regulating ideal” (quoted in Ibid.,p.164).24In the context of an absent addressee and ideal, postmodernism becomes what Hassan(1985) calls the ‘Age of Indetermanence’ (indeterminacy plus immanence). Modernism andpostmodernism can then be juxtaposed as follows: Narrative-Grande Histoire versus Anti-Narrative-Petite Histoire; Genital-Phallic versus Polymorphous-Androgynous; Metaphysicsversus Irony; Determinacy versus Indeterminacy; or Transcendence versus Immanence (Ibid.).22Here Best and Keliner (1991) include P.Drucker (economics), S.Sontag (culture critic), andM.Foucault, J.F.Lyotard and F.Frere (social and political theory).For instance, A.J.Toynbee (history), D.Bell and J.Baudrillard (social and political theory),and G.Steiner (intellectual) (Best and Kellner,1991).24See Griffin (1993), the New German Critique 33(1984), or Theory Culture and Society5(2-3) (1988), for further discussion of the postmodern condition.25Lyotard, in The Post-Modern Condition, therefore characterises modernity as an epoch thatlegitimised its theories “...with reference to a metadiscourse...making an explicit appeal to somegrand narrative, such as the dialectics of Spirit, the hermeneutics of meaning, (or) theemancipation of the rational subject...” (quoted in Callinicos,1985; my italics). Further, byappealing to metanarratives to legitimate foundationalist claims as well as in its desire forhomogenous epistemological and moral prescriptions, modernism excluded certain categories.Hence, postmodernism can be defined “. . .as incredulity toward metanarratives” (Lyotard,Ibid.),though we should not interpret this position as tantamount to nihilism.25Meaning as context, therefore, should be understood as follows. In premodernity,classical political philosophy defined the subject in relation to a teleological moral framework.As the latter collapsed, modern political philosophers sought to replace it with a frameworkderived from a particular tradition within modern political philosophy which saw the subjectas the possessor of reason. Gradually, however, this framework has ceased to provide meaningas self-determining subjects have weakened its foundations by being morally pluralistic. As acompromise, the modern framework came to ultimately define no more than the rules thatgive the subject the right to be free within a framework of moral meaninglessness. Recently,feminism has questioned whether this framework of meaninglessness does in fact allow womento be free. Rather, they argue its biased rules uphold masculine superiority and is thus moretypically patriarchal. Demanding to be free like their gender counterparts is hence an example25lndeed, according to D.M.Levin in The Opening of Vision: Nihilism and Postmodernism,the discovery of a genuine ‘dark mode of thinking’ is inseparable for postmodernism from thecritique of the ‘metaphysics of presence’ (alluded to earlier by Derrida): “Western metaphysicshas forgotten, has suppressed, this other vision, this vision without the presence, the parousia,of the light of day: a vision which understands (the ontological significance of) the absence oflight and is open to learning from the greatness - even the terror of night” (quoted inBerry,1992,p.2).26of postmodernism - the absence of all encompassing ontologies, epistemologies andmetanarratives. To reach this stage, however, arguably requires a modern ontology with whichto replace modernity’s patriarchal framework. This simultaneous demand by the femininesubject to be free within an essentially antithetical moral framework is the contradiction,dilemma or realm of purgatory that forms the basis of the discussion to follow.27CHAPTER TWOAn ontology of political philosophyThe preceding chapter dealt initially with a conceptual framework where a distinctionwas made between the individual, the self and the person. It was intimated that the changingconception of the subject, originally from a soul to a self, and more recently to that of a publicperson, was largely a cultural and historical phenomenon. During the course of these changeswe have witnessed in modernity the rise of a conception of the person who, it has beenassumed, is an accurate representation of all people. In this light, institutional structuresmaterialised to foster this person, and left his or her ontological concerns to the realm of theprivate self. We also dealt with an analytical framework in which postmodernity wascharacterised as where the public person came to be seen as less and less representative of allpeople, to the extent in fact of being specifically oppressive to women. The institutionalstructures, therefore, are also unsupportive of women. Rather than seeing the (masculine)public person and his moral framework as deliberately oppressive of the feminine, we will, inthis chapter, focus on the historical conditions that have brought them about.What will be claimed, therefore, is an ontological subject in the specific culturalpredicament of modernity at two levels: the publicly defined person and the privately definingself. It will be illustrated how these two subjects have arisen by situating them within thebroader context of meaninglessness. We will argue for an understanding of the publicly definedperson as the liberal response at the ontological level to a loss of metaphysical meaning. Aprivately defining self will be shown to represent yet another attempt to come to terms with28the moral pluralism of modernity by a retreat into tradition and community. To an extent,therefore, we are following Strong’s (l99D,pp. -23) idea of politics as a mode of discourseresponding to the existential problem of who we are. Politics does, as Strong argues, overlapwith other modes of discourse, for example, morality (‘What should I do?’), economics (‘Howdo I get what I want?’) or psychology (‘What do I want?’), and we will focus upon theontological subject within two dominant strands of politics as representative of a search foran answer to the question:’Who am I?’.At the societal level we might understand these two ontological phenomena asindicative of two varying attempts at politics. The first, the publicly defined person, is theliberal tradition’s way of restoring order, in a fragile world of (supposedly) conflicting subjects,via the introduction of rules that appeal to a reasoning person. In the discourse of theory thistranslates into the tradition of foundationalism, where it is assumed that questions aboutpolitical morality can be answered in rational and objective ways.26 At the other extreme isthe privately defined self who is a means of retrieving meaning at the communal rather thanmetaphysical level. As such political philosophy takes on a more substantive role. The effectsof these endeavours upon the feminine subject will be our task in chapters three and four, andwe now must concern ourselves in this chapter with establishing the development of thesemodern ontological definitions.26Plant (1991,p.2) includes within the foundationalist tradition Plato, Aristotle, SaintAugustine, Aquinas, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Hegel, Marx and Mill.29The soul and metaphysical meaningIn order to articulate a conception of politics as the existential quest for meaning it isimportant that we situate it in a historical context. By necessity brief and thus general as well,it is appropriate that we return to the pagan self of Rome. Saint Augustine was a vehementcritic of the pagan self and was concerned at redirecting it into the realm of the metaphysical,and away from its preoccupation with the material world. To be sure, this was not the firsttime this sort of project was attempted. Taylor (1989a,pp.127-129), for example, links SaintAugustine’s use of God as an ontological meaning to Plato’s idea of the good. The pagan selfcharacteristic of Rome might be understood, relative to the ancient Greeks or Saint Augustine,as the exception to a metaphysical orientation.The main concern for Saint Augustine in the City of God was with what Coles(l’992,p.18) calls the ontological conceit of the pagan self. This situation had arisen with thefall of Adam and Eve who “.. .made themselves their own ground... (instead of God as) the realground of their being” (quoted in Ibid.). In Adam. Eve and the Serpent, however, Pagelsinterprets the fall in a different way to Coles’ version of what Saint Augustine may haveintended. Instead, Pagels writes that three hundred years prior to Saint Augustine theologiansviewed the fall as a progression from innocence to responsibility, from persons as ‘zombies’to one’s with free will (quoted in Stendahl, 1992). Saint Augustine, thinking persons werebadly in need of spiritual reform and moral guidance, introduced God over and above aconscience and free will as defining the self. Nonetheless the ontologically conceited self hadrenounced relations of reciprocity and dependence upon God in its desire to be conditionless30and absolute.27 For example, by employing a combination of perception and judgement asexperience the pagan self erred in its relations to the external by viewing everythinginstrumentally, as opposed to intrinsically, leading Saint Augustine to conclude:”...it is thenature of things considered in itself, without regard to our convenience or inconvenience, thatgives glory to the creator” (quoted in Coles,1992,p.18).The lifestyle and experiences of the pagan self revolved around the flesh - “. . .the ruleof the self...”- and included “...faults of the mind...” such as enmity, animosity and envy,together with bodily lusts (Coles,1992,p.20). Perhaps most importantly for Saint Augustine wasthe destructive power of lust in both its bodily form of libido carnalis, and its psychologicalform of libido dominandi. Under these circumstances the pagan self was always outside itselfin its lust to appropriate. This unreflective self meant enslavement as the multiple lusts of thebody and soul attempted to dominate each other. The main cause of unreflective enslavementwas the uncontrolability of sexual lust, which caused the “...almost total extinction of mentalalertness,...” and by originating in pride led to shame as the self became “...embarrased by theinsubordination of the flesh” (Saint Augustine quoted in Ibid.,p.26).Although not the only ‘culprit’ to succumb to contingent, finite meaning, the paganself served as the basis upon which Saint Augustine built.28 His task was to give the selfmeaning in the transcendental, spiritual sense. This he did by introducing being-as-confession27Saint Augustine was able to forgive this conceit, as it was a “...a deep truth animating andcharacterising the desires and practices of the pagan self while remaining beneath the level ofconsciousness” (Coles,1992,p. 18).28Marx provides another example of a rejection of the metaphysical. He cites Aeschylus’Prometheus who confessed:”In a word, I detest all the Gods” (quoted in McLellan,1990,pp.12-13). Prometheus then turned to the servant of the Gods, Hermes, and said:”Understand thiswell, I would not change my evil plight for your servility,” leading Marx toremark:”Prometheus is the foremost saint and martyr in the philosopher’s calendar” (Ibid.).31whereby one exposes the deeper meanings and motives behind each thought and action byconstantly questioning oneself. In doing this the self was able to unify and purify themultiplicity of selves caused by the temptations of the external world. This was achieved intwo ways: firstly, confession makes the self present by reflecting upon and holding its pastconstantly before itself, with this past or memory allowing the incomprehensible present - forexample, desire- to be overcome, or pure presence- that is, God- to be seen. Hence thereason why Saint Augustine asks: “...how shall I find You if I am without memory of You”(quoted in Ibid.,p.35)? Secondly, the self achieves unity by confessing the truths of its soul toGod, and humbles itself before Him as these truths reveal the self’s finitude. Finally, it is thisunified self which is then able to face God (Coles,1992,pp.31-33).This is not to say, however, that Saint Augustine’s views were unchallenged. Despitehis scant regard for the self’s ability to be self-originating, he had always maintained that theself could choose its mode of being, as “...no man loses Thee, unless he goes from Thee”(quoted in Ibid.,p.39). This emphasis upon human will was rejected, for example, by MeisterEckhart, a fourteenth century German theologian, who admonished synthesising the creaturelywill into God’s will.29 Indeed, being spiritually poor was not akin to becoming poor butrather to being untouched and rich in inexhaustible possibilities (Oliver,1992,p.42). For MeisterEckhart, then, Saint Augustine erred in envisaging the human will inviting God into theemptiness of the self, as “...God does not first need to enter the person who is already freefrom all otherness and creature nature, because he is already ther&’ (quoted in Ibid.).From whatever ontological perspective within Christian Platonism one takes, however,29”For if he (the soul) wants to be truly poor, he must be as free from his creature will aswhen he had not yet been born. . . .as long as you will to God’s will, . . .you are not really poor;for he is poor who wills nothing, knows nothing, and wants nothing” (Meister Eckhart quotedin Oliver,1992,p.42).32the final raison d)eAtre for the soui is the same - a metaphysically divine order of being thatpromises immortality. This philosophy remained intact for centuries to come and wasencapsulated by Saint Gregory of “ . . .the essence of man is an imitation of him whofashioned the universe,... (and the self) is easily the greatest of all things known to us, becausenone has been made in the likeness of God except that creature which is man’ (quoted inOutler, l’987,pA.12).The subject and existential AngstIt is the framework of meaning just discussed that Foucault (1970), in The Order ofThings: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences, has described as indicative of what he callsthe premodern episteme. So far, we have called this premodernity wherein, as we saw throughSaint Augustine, all subjects shared in a common meaning. Foucault contrasts this premodernor Renaissance episteme with the modern, the major difference having been in the ontologicalassumptions and beliefs that changed to the extent of leaving the modern subject in aframework without meaning. So as to establish a relationship between this meaninglessness andthe rise of a supposedly universal conception of personhood, we now turn to look initiallyinto Foucault’s notion of epistemes.Foucault (1970) was in search of the borders and limitations of our own way ofthinking (Merquior,1985,p.35), and he used the term ‘episteme’ to distinguish one mode ofintellectual Weltanschauung from another. Involved in a similar though more socio-culturalprocess of identification than Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions,Foucault’s epistemes illuminate the “...historical a priori in a given period, (which) delimits in33the totality of experience a field of knowledge, (and) defines the mode ofbeing of the objects thatappear in that field,...” (Ibid.,p.xxii; my italics). Further, the mode of being in each epistemeis incompatible and incommensurable with the one that preceded it, enabling Foucault toclearly delineate the modern from the classical.The oldest episteme identified by Foucault is the Renaissance episteme which was atits most prominent in the early sixteenth century, although Foucault is seldom specific aboutdates. It was essentially an episteme of resemblance, and language was used simply to reiterateand demonstrate the similarity of the thing being represented.3°In the Renaissance epistemeit was assumed that each thing had a divinely ordained purpose, albeit often hidden, whichneeded to be interpreted rather that observed or demonstrated (Merquior,1985, pp.44-45).Despite there being nothing new to know this interpretation as a form of knowledge was aninfinite task. To an extent, therefore, the Renaissance episteme sought similarity for “...if thethings that resembled one another were indeed infinite in number,... (then it was necessary to)establish the forms according to which they might resemble one another” (Foucault,l’97O,p. 17).By the middle of the seventeenth century Foucault is able to discern the beginningsof modernity in what he labels the classical episteme. This transformation was fuelled by thenew knowledge areas of linguistics, natural history and economics, with each coveringlanguage, life and labour, respectively. As a result, the knowledge generated led to resemblance3°Foucault speaks of four forms of resemblance: convenientia portrays the resemblancesbetween things that have related properties; aemulatio shows resemblance of distant objects;analogy relates resemblances that are neither visible nor essential to things themselves; andsympathy defines resemblances between all objects through its potential to exist everywhere(Shumway, l989,pp.64-66)34being replaced by representation.31But of most importance, Foucault argues, is the changein relationship between signs and things. The Renaissance episteme was only able tocharacterise the resemblance between things, that is the sign and the thing were the same, butwith new forms of knowledge in the classical episteme the sign became a mode of representingthe thing (Mahon,1992,p.67). Foucault (l970,pp.42-43) says these “...new arrangement(s)brought about the appearance of a new problem, unknown until then: in the sixteenthcentury, one asked oneself how it was possible to know a sign did in fact designate what itsignified; from the seventeenth century, one began to ask how a sign could be linked to whatit signified”? Ultimately, then, order was imposed by these new sources of knowledge,especially mathesis, and Foucault is able to reduce in importance mechanisation andmathematisation as forms of scientific classification, in favour of language(Shumway,1989,p.75).During the classical episteme the growth in the forms of knowledge had led to aproliferation of social and scientific fields, so that it gradually became impossible by thenineteenth century to group all the modern disciplines together. The new modern episteme,therefore, was less concerned with the form of knowledge than with the problem it centredon, namely the subject (Ibid.,p.81). From 1775 onwards authors began to historise life, labourand language, culminating in the early eighteenth century in function overcoming structure,and the subject as a producer (Merquior,l985,p.5l). Put another way, the classical concernwith order and classification gave way in the modern episteme to history, where peoplebecame recognisable in their factual, contingent existences.Foucault is therefore claiming that the modern, post-Renaissance epistemes were31The main structures of representation were mathesis which created a universal science ofmeasurement and order, and taxonomia for classifying it (Merquior,1985,p.46).35responsible for the birth of ‘man’: “Before the end of the eighteenth century, man did notexist” (197O,p.3O8). More metaphorical than literal, Foucault seems to be arguing that theclassical episteme did not articulate or “. . .isolate, in any way, a specific domain proper toman,...” as opposed to the modern where all forms come to hinge upon an “...analytic of(human) finitude” (Ibid.). It is within and by necessity of human finitude that the personassumes a dual role as both the object of knowledge and the subject who knows(Shumway,1989,p.86).32As a consequence Foucault says the person became defined throughthree philosophical problems, the most important of which he calls the empiricotranscendental ‘doublet’, or contradiction. From the modern episteme’s ‘analytic of finitude’arises the task of man’s finitude as having to provide its own foundation. Hence, finitude asfounding is ‘the fundamental’, and finitude as the founded is ‘the positive’(Gutting,1989,p.200). Modern philosophy’s project, therefore, is to discover a relation betweenthe fundamental and the positive as a basis for human finitude’s self-foundation. The empiricotranscendental doublet, for example, began with Kant and has continued on through Marx toHusserl and Merleau-Ponty (Ibid.,pp.201-203). Interestingly, Taylor (1989a,p.112) provides uswith a similar example to Foucault’s empirico-transcendental doublet when he writes: “Thereally difficult thing (for a self existing in moral space) is distinguishing the human universalsfrom the historical constellations and not eliding the second into the first so that our particularway seems somehow inescapable for humans as such (Making this distinction is the)greatest intellectual problem for human culture”.There are undeniably several problems with Foucault’s thesis. These range from32”Finitude is not the sudden discovery of human mortality, but the problem of foundingknowledge once representation has become a problem having lost its transparency and itsguarantee in God-given human nature” (Shumway,1989,p.86).36historical inaccuracies, the difficulty with his claim of the absolute discontinuity betweenepistemes, or his tendency to read unique meanings into primary texts.33 Habermas (1981)has written of Foucault’s rejection of the Enlightenment as that of a young conservative wholacks normative yardsticks. Or Taylor (1986) accuses Foucault of monolithic relativism, whichprevents him from confirming one set of practices over another. Alternatively, Foucault’saesthetic decisionism enables him to take irrationalist leaps to affirm everything (Wolin,1986).Most critiques, however, do not focus upon the characterisation of the subject, which is thecontext with which we are concerned. That is, Foucault has portrayed in the premodernepistemes the subject - Saint Augustine’s soul, if you will - as part of an infinite cosmos ofbeing, with all earthly experiences examples of the soul’s limitations in relation to this infinity.Strong (l99O,pp.22-25), for instance, interprets Foucault in this way by saying the Renaissanceand classical epistemes understood personhood as divinely determined due to the subject notbeing the epistemological basis of the world. Ontologically, therefore, the significance of themodern episteme is evident in Hegel’s conception of the subject as self-defining. In Elementsof the Philosophy of Right, Hegel (1991, pp.151-152) wrote: “The right of the subject’sparticularity to find satisfaction, or - to put it differently- the right of subjective freedom, is thepivotal and focal point in the difference between antiquity and the modern age. This right, inits infinity, is expressed in Christianity Its more specific shapes include love,.. .the eternalsalvation of the individual as an end,...(and) morality and conscience...”. Subjective freedomas typical of modernity was, initially in Adam Smith, John Locke, Hegel and Marx, expressedthrough labour.Coles (l992,pp.64-66) also shares a similar view, arguing that each being varied only33See Merquior (l985,pp.56-75), Gane (1986) and Shumway (1989,pp.9l-93).37slightly from another in the premodern, divinely inspired epistemes. All beings had tocompare the ‘givens’- Foucault’s resemblances - of the world in order to construct a realitythat resembled the order of God, and this left them little space in which to be ordinary.34During the modern episteme, however, people emerge into an incoherent world where theyare forced to provide themselves with representations. In Being and Time, for instance,Heidegger captures dramatically this predicament of the modern episteme when he talks ofhow man is ‘thrown’ into ‘they’ and ‘idle talk’, or society and social and politicalarrangements, respectively. What we see in Foucault, therefore, is a conception of thedevelopment of ontological meaninglessness. By focusing on the changing perceptions ofknowledge within historical epistemes, Foucault illustrates how the emphasis of knowledgeshifted from resemblance and representation, to concern with the subject and its finitude.Another author who has attempted a similar historical account of the subject isCharles Taylor (1989a), in his book Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity.Taylor’s task, as the title of his book suggests, is to trace the sources of modern selfhood, andTaylor argues that the self and morality are inextricably linked. What he seeks to establish isthe divergent sources whence modern morality has developed, and Taylor employs these asbases for the modern self to evaluate its constitutive goods. That is to say, our currentlydominant values, or what Taylor calls our moral intuitions, revolve around the notion ofrights. The notion of subjective rights as one of our most treasured moral intuitions isexpressed, Taylor argues, in our strivings for universal justice and beneficence, by oursensitivity to claims of equality, the demand to be free and self-determining, and by the high34Coles (l992,p.67) cites Foucault (197O,p.310) on this: “...man, as a primary reality withhis own destiny, as the difficult object and sovereign subject of all possible knowledge, has noplace in (the Renaissance and classical epistemes)38priority placed on the avoidance of pain and suffering. This notion has developed historically,and started from a theistic grounding dating from Platonic, hierarchical reason, through to thenaturalism of disengaged reason characteristic of the Enlightenment, and eventually maturedin the rational expressivism of the Romantics. Gay (l969,pp.2-3) talks similarly of a change inhumanity’s sense of situation during the late eighteenth century due to the Enlightenment andRomanticism, with Europeans having experienced “...an expansive sense of power over natureand themselves”. Hegel, too, recognised the dawning of a new era which he described in thePhenomenology of Mind as represented by Geist in its defining act of becoming aware of itself;hence we begin to celebrate “...our existence on its own account” (quoted inTrilling, 1972,pp.34.-35).Although Taylor’s level of analysis is primarily ontological versus Foucault’s sociocultural history of knowledge, the two authors share several similar conclusions vis-a-vis thesubject. Like Foucault, for example, Taylor (1989a) distinguishes a premodern epoch from themodern which he variously labels the ‘age of belief’ (Ibid.,p.311), or the ‘existentialpredicament of the fear of condemnation’ (Ibid., p.18). To argue this thesis Taylor characterisesthree axes of modern morality: our sense of respect for and obligations to others; ourunderstanding of what makes a full life; and our sense of dignity or the way we commandrespect from others (Ibid.,pp.11-19). In ancient Greece, for example, the latter was the mostimportant as seen in the exaltation of the warrior and honour ethic. Today, it is the formerrealised in an ethic of general principles based on reason, whilst for those in the age of beliefthe question of a full and purposeful life was the dominant issue.The (Christian) moral framework of premodernity, therefore, went unquestionedwhich aided the soul in realising a full life. In any case it was an unchallengeable frameworkwhich made imperious demands that each soul feared it was unable to meet. With a penalty39of irretrievable condemnation, exile and damnation we can understand why Taylor labels itthe existential fear of condemnation. In contrast to this predicament is the modern fear ofmeaninglessness. This is primarily due to the exposure, by our increased sources of morality,of the premodern moral framework as problematic, so that we now have no one frameworkforming the moral horizon of society. We thus find ourselves driven to search for a personalframework which we invent and articulate in the face of modernity, with “. . .those whosespiritual agenda is mainly defined in this way... (being) in a fundamentally different existentialpredicament from that which dominated most previous cultures and still defines the lives ofother people today” (Ibid.,p.18). In introducing a multiple of frameworks the modern subject,to avoid conflicting with others over scarce resources or indeed a framework itself, operateswithin a grand framework of rights. Presumed to be neutral, this framework will, in thefollowing chapters, be shown to be gender specific, although Taylor is more worried aboutits neutrality leading to subjects neglecting it, and ultimately coming to see it as illegitimate.However, we need to first look into the reasons for this transformation in moralframework and its connotations for the ontological subject. Taylor (Ibid.,pp.305-314) considersthe large-scale institutional changes of the last two centuries, including industrialisation andtechnological innovation, and the way they have weakened traditional forms of allegiance andbelief. Another possible reason for the change in frameworks was the spread in education andscientific knowledge. However, on their own these are insufficient explanations of theframework’s transformation, the former because of an ambiguous causal effect and the latterfor its implicit assumption that religious beliefs are irrational, unenlightened or unscientific.Instead, Taylor prefers an ontological explanation associated with the increase in moralsources. This feature of modernity - representing, he argues, an epistemic gain - made peopleno longer feel “. . .that the spiritual dimension of their lives was incomprehensible if one40supposed there was no God. To most of our forebears it seemed strange and bizarre, not tosay wicked, to deny the existence of God” (Ibid.,p.310). If we follow Taylor’s argument ofselfhood and morality as inextricably linked then another way of understanding the shift inmoral frameworks is via the discourse of rights. In the premodern epoch all souis wereascribed natural rights in virtue of being a part of a divine whole. However, this right requiredeach soui to live under the law (of a divinely inspired morality), with the conferral of certainbenefits like immortality. In contrast the modern age is dominated by subjective rights whichrely upon the bearer for their realisation, and as such for his or her participation with othersin making sure these rights can be exercised (Ibid,pp.11-12).We have seen above how the dominant axis of modern morality requires our sense ofrespect for and our obligations to others. Within this moral framework we encounter a notionof respect for others as a means to guaranteeing their autonomy, and as a way to seeingsuffering eradicated. In addition, there is a third dimension which, Taylor suggests, epitomisesmodernity, and he calls it the affirmation of ordinary life.35 This is characterised by a culturethat accords significance to subjective freedom through productive work, and sees love as animportant part of human fulfilment. It is also individualist in three senses, as it incorporatesautonomy as a value, it assigns an important part to self-exploration or what Mill calledindividuality, and because visions of the good life have come to involve personal commitment(Ibid. ,pp.305-306). Politically, therefore, we are back to the particular versus universal problemdating back to Plato, with Taylor depicting it within this new moral culture as follows: “Asa consequence, in its political language, it formulates the immunities due people in terms of351...this affirmation of ordinary life,...has become one of the most powerful ideas inmodern civilisation. . . .This sense of the importance of the everyday in human life, along withits corollary about the importance of suffering,... (and) the central place given toautonomy,...defines...our civilisation, the modern West” (Taylor,1989a,p.14).41subjective rights. Because of its egalitarian bent, it conceives these rights as universal” (Ibid.).Elsewhere, Taylor (1992) says we are only today becoming familiar with the implications ofthese early transformations. They are encapsulated in a dichotomised politics divided betweenthe intimate sphere where the formation of identity and the self takes place, and the publicsphere where we encounter the politics of equal recognition (Ibid.,p.39). And it is in the publicsphere, he argues, that we meet the politics of universalism with its vision of the equality ofall individuals, and the politics of difference with the demand for the acknowledgement of eachparticular identity.Thus far we have focused upon Foucault and Taylor’s senses of the development ofthe subject in western culture. They both distinguish a period when what the ontologicalsubject in the shape of the soul amounted to was no more than a given part in a divine whole.Foucault writes how the self suddenly, in the modern episteme, became the subject and objectof knowledge - a public entity, if you will, participating in an expanding culture of artisticdiversity and economic production. Similarly, Taylor talks of modernity and the self’s fear ofmeaninglessness although, as we will see, the self retreats into the private sphere for itsaffirmation. Hence, we might suggest that for Foucault modernity hails the publicly definedperson that, in our argument, oppresses the female, while for Taylor modernity signifies thedawning of the privately defining self, but in the context of a framework that is silent aboutwomen.Whether as the classical episteme of Foucault or the age of belief for Taylor, the souiwas essentially defined, and oniy in the transformation to modernity has a plurality of choicesfor one’s selfhood materialised. A subject faced with a multiple of moral choices is problematicinsofar as he or she neglects, or becomes complacent about, the modern framework of rights.To be sure, it is, in terms of freedom, a gain over the framework of premodernity where one’s42options were limited. However, just how free we are is dependent on sustaining andlegitimising our contemporary moral framework, and the failure to do so in response tofeminist arguments is what will be shown in chapters three and four. Further, it will be arguedbelow that the publicly defined person can be found in modern conceptions of liberal thought,whilst the idea of a private self is enshrined in the theory of communitarianism.The defined person and liberalismIt was in what Foucault called the modern episteme that we witnessed the birth of theontological subject in virtue of the change in focus, and the increasingly diverse sources of,knowledge. With the confrontation and subsequent consciousness of its finiteness the subjectestablishes itself as a reality. In the nineteenth century this reality is portrayed by Foucault asthe Hegelian-Marxian legacy of definition through labour.36 However, this process ofdefinition was soon reversed by the external forces of subjectification, leading Foucault tospeculate on the death of the self-defining subject (Strong, l99O,pp.23-24.). This speculation,then, is the central question for the ontological subject and Foucault cites Nietzsche as theinitiator of this speculation; that is, it is not so much the death of God as how to establish apermanent guarantee of the identity of the person in the period following the death of God(Ibid. ,pp.24-25).It is in Foucault’s (1979) book Discipline and Punish that a conception of personhood36Foucault echoes Hegel (199 1,p.86)on this point, particularly in the following passage ofthe latter: “The human being, in his immediate existence (Existenz) in himself, is a naturalentity, external to his concept; it is only through the development (Ausbildung) of his ownbody and spirit, essentially by means of his selfconsciousness comprehending itselfas free, that hetakes possession of himself and becomes his own property as distinct from that of others”.43as inescapably defined is to be found. Specifically, he writes about the various forms of trainingand organisation of individuals that arose towards the end of the eighteenth century, and howthese institutions have come to discipline individuals. Here, we should understand disciplinenot as disciplined conduct but rather as disciplinary techniques that exercise power over theself’s ability to define itself (Cousins and Hussain,1984,p.185). Discipline at this level consistsof four techniques: the division and surrounding of the body and its desires; the detailedprescription of activities; the division of knowledge into historical subjectivity; and the impactof the exterior upon the interiority of expectation (Deleuze,1988, pp.103-106). Practicallyspeaking these forms of discipline have manifested themselves hand in hand with the rise ofcapitalism. The production of the modern person cannot therefore be studied outside of itsrelation to exploitation and domination, and Foucault argues that the subjectification of theperson coexists with economic exploitation (Coles,1992,p.55). In particular, Foucault(l’979,pp.79-8l) claims that with the rise of capitalism more systematic forms of punishmentarose, with the power to punish becoming “...more regular, more effective, more constant andmore detailed in its effects”. Additionally, the increasing demand for productivity and growthled to the discipline and docility of the worker so as to maximise its utility.Discipline, therefore, is the means by which the self’s ability to be self-defining islimited. On the one hand, there is the spatial distribution of individuals under strictsupervision within purpose-built functional structures. Perhaps the classic metaphorical analogyof disciplinary power was Bentham’s suggestion for a new prison design. Called a ‘Panopticon’,it was a circular building with individual prison cells located on the periphery with anobservation tower in the middle. Each prisoner would know he or she was under observationbut never when, and so a sense of being perpetually observed would develop. As a result,Foucault in Power/Knowledge writes that “...each individual under its (the observer’s) weight44will end up by interiorising to the point that he is his own overseer, each individual thusexercising this surveillance over, and against, himself” (quoted in Coles,1992,p.58). On theother hand, discipline is also an art of composition, where each individual’s labour is treatedas a node in an interrelated network of production (Cousins and Hussain,1984,pp.186-190).37Finally, there are three ways or methods by which disciplinary power is exercised, namelythrough hierarchical observation, by the normalisation of judgement, and via examination andassessment.The methods of exercising this disciplinary power were most evident, Foucault says,in the military camps, workshops, schools, hospitals, housing projects and other similarinstitutions that developed in the nineteenth century. What they did was to increase thevisibility of the people therein, with groups organised, divided and arranged into hierarchiesto foster the surveyability of the now visible persons. The function of surveyability was toconstitute certain actions, attitudes and abilities, while excluding others, leading to theestablishment of a norm.38 This norm decreases the range of heterogeneity though not to theextent of disqualifying a narrow range of differences which form “.• .the continuousindividualising pyramid” (Foucault, 1979,p.22D).We can see in Foucault’s thesis just discussed the development of what we called apublicly defined person. Under the mode of capitalist disciplinary power the subject iscontinuously being constituted by the public sphere - interiorising through self-observation the37”Discipline is.. .an art of distributing bodies, of extracting time from them andaccumulating it, (and)...of composing forces in order to obtain an efficient machine”(Foucault,1979, quoted in Cousins and Hussain,1984,p.186).38Foucault (1979,p.191) writes: “For a long time ordinary individuality - the everydayindividuality of everybody - remained below the threshold of description. . . .The disciplinarymethods reversed this relation, lowered the threshold of desirable individuality and made thisdescription a means of control and a method of domination”.45exterior. Eventually it is not just a crime, a deviation or an error that is judged, but thepassions, potentials, instincts and any notions of alternative selfhood, too. The modern soul(or publicly defined person) is what we are left with under disciplinary observation. Kafka(1953), in his Letters to his Father, provides an example of a disciplined and thus definedmodern soul. He wrote of his ruinous relationship with his father whose power was socomplete that Kafka was virtually paralysed in every process of thought: “...it was almostimpossible to endure (your belittling judgements) and still work out a thought with anymeasure of completeness or permanence” (Ibid.,p.23). Behind Kafka’s father’s power was thethreat of punishment made worse as it was never exercised; similarly for Dostoevski who wascondemned to death by the Tsar, put through the preliminaries of execution but escaped tolive under the shadow of the threat (Eisendrath,1987,pp.151-152).A product of modernity, the modern soul or person surveys and governs the self fromwithin. It is a self related to itself through a colonised, codified and continuous self-reflection,with self-reflection normalising as it observes.39 And by impregnating the self with self-definitions constituted by hegemonic discourses and practices, the self becomes circumscribedvia the engendering of ‘desirable characteristics’, whilst reducing the ‘undesirable’ to ‘Other’(Coles,1992,pp.58-62). The Foucauldian sense of seifflood in the modern episteme is thusfundamentally and inescapably defined: “...we have moved from a reflection upon the orderof Differences (in the classical episteme)...to a thought of the Same, still to be conquered in itscontradiction. (The public person) is always concerned with showing how the Other, theDistant, is also the Near and the Same” (197O,p.339).39Selfhood for Foucault thus involves two aspects. The modern, produced soui found inDiscipline and Punish, and the deep, self-deciphering self of volume one of The History ofSexuality (Coles, l992,p.6O).46As Foucault argues, the modern, public person is concerned with making all personsthe same. Viewed in the context of meaninglessness, this was arguably a necessary ontologicalassumption, as it supports the modern framework of rights. Today, this public person, ratherthan being representative of all, is instead seen to be masculine and is personified in a centralpart of liberal thought. Characterising or relating an oppressive liberal conception of theperson to feminist concerns is, however, an undeniably difficult task, made all the moreambitious if we consider how broadly applicable the concept of liberalism is. Gray (1979,p.29),for instance, argues that “. . .being a liberal is often a matter of broad cultural allegiance... . Ifthe central dispositional value of liberals is tolerance, their central political value is perhaps afundamental antipathy to authority...”.Nonetheless, the strand of liberal thought that will be examined is contractarianism,a methodology originally concerned in the works of Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau, withsolving the problem of political obligation (Barry,1989,pp.115-116). In fact Berns (1972,p.375)argues that “.. .to the extent that modern liberalism teaches that all social and politicalobligations are derived from and are in the service of the individual rights of man, Hobbesmay be regarded as the founder of liberalism”. 40 Hobbes as a contractarian liberal assumesfurther significance for our discussion when we consider how he personifies modernity.41That is, his ontological assumptions envisaged the subject as mechanical, an entity in perpetualmotion rather than rest (following Galileo and Bacon). As such, Hobbes not only for the firsttime described the state as akin to the modern subject - ‘an Artificiall Man’ - but as an40Macpherson (1962,p.2) also sees Hobbes as the founder of liberalism, as indeed does Lukes(l973,pp.76-77), although it is in virtue of his possessive individualism rather than individuallyderived social and political obligations.41As indeed does Locke, who Bloom (l987,p.173) claims was the first to use the term ‘self’as a substitute for ‘soul’.47‘Artificiall Soul’, too (Ibid.,p.379). The importance of this phenomenon for our understandingof modernity is that the mechanical subject was to replace “...all those transcendental valuesthat men (had) shown themselves willing to die for” (Alford,1992,p.90). Johnstone (1986,p.208)argues that Hobbes’ formulation of the subject was as a counterweight to the crumblingdivinely based, medieval order: “England was, in Hobbes’ view,.. .undergoing a culturalrevolution- a period of dissolution in social ties and ethical norms as well as in politicalauthority... “Contractarianism, therefore, presupposes that a legitimate moral order emanates fromagreement and is guaranteed by the promises of the contractors. Implicit is the assumption thatthere is no viable objective moral order or socio-political state of affairs, a feature of modernityfirst described by Berlin. In the seminal essay Two Concepts of Liberty, Berlin wrote: “Theworld we encounter in ordinary experience is one in which we are faced with choices betweenends equally ultimate, and claims equally absolute, the realization of some of which mustinevitably involve the sacrifice of others” (quoted in Strong,l992,p.12). Ever since, the idea thatwe have substantively to shape the self and its corresponding moral order has been seen asimpossible. Theorists have hereby been led to pursue formal rather than substantive theoriesby seeking to illuminate the procedures all people would agree upon, irrespective of thesubstantive outcome. It is to Rawis, therefore, that we turn in virtue of him being the modernembodiment of procedural political philosophy,43and because of his conception of the personwho is assumed to agree about the formal procedures of society. Further, Rawis understands42Peters (1956,p.l85) makes a similar point, though he substitutes universal patriarchalismin place of ‘divinely based’.43Rawls (1971,p.554) shows his scepticism about substantive theories when he says “...tosubordinate our aims to one end.. .strikes us as irrational, or more likely mad, (even thoughit does not) strictly violate the principles of rational choice.”48modernity as necessitating political order due to the impossibility of a commonly definedmoral framework, or what Rorty (1983) calls Rawis’ “...post modern bourgeois liberalism”.The reemergence of a forceful argument for liberalism is often seen as having arisenfrom John Rawls’(1972) treatise, A Theory of Tustice. Rawis (Ibid.,p.12), by his ownadmission, is a member of the liberal contractualist tradition when he says “...the originalposition of equality corresponds to the state of nature in the traditional theory of the socialcontract”.45 In addition, Rawls’ person in the original position is primarily concerned withthe grave risks that threaten life and self-respect, most notably a malevolent enemy whopotentially (could) “...is to assign (the person) his place (in society)” (Ibid., pp.152-153).46 Itis in the original position, therefore, that we find one of the more sophisticated arguments thatleads to a publicly defined person. Public, that is, in terms of its assumed applicability to allpeople, and defined due to the use of reason from whence the person is derived.As a contractarian, Rawls employs his veil of ignorance as a means of abstracting theperson from its particular social and economic circumstances. By so doing he attempts toconstruct the rules and institutions of society from a position of equality. The hypothetical-literary device of a veil of ignorance is thus a position where the person is deprived of thebasic knowledge of its wants, skills, interests, abilities and desires (Ibid. ,pp.36-42). The mentallyreflective person in Rawls’ book stems from Kant’s moral constructivism which relates theThus the description by Caney (1992,p.273) of the 1970s as the decade wherein “...liberalpolitical thought flourished,...”. In addition to Rawls, other works of a similar orientationinclude Buchanan (1975), Gauthier (1986) and Gewirth (1978).451f we follow Gray (1979), then arguably Rawis’ book is a good example of a theoreticalreformulation within the (liberal) Weltanschauung of Anglo-American political culture.461n Politics and Vision: Continuity and Innovation in Western Political Thought, SheldonWolin claims liberals see fear and anxiety as central, with Hobbes as an initiator of this theme,and arguably Rawis too (quoted in Alford,1992,pp.142-143).49idea of autonomy to a person’s ability to act reasonably. Both argue for reasoning as a priorito the Good, but whereas for Kant (1974,p.92) the basis of moral law is the transcendental“._subject of ends, namely a rational being himself...”, for Rawls (1978) it is the empiricalsubject.47 In considering what institutions to choose, the person, using its ability of reflectiveequilibrium, will seek to rationally maximise the primary goods of liberty, opportunity,income, wealth and self-respect (Rawls,1971,pp.90-95). These goods are crucial in enablingpeople to pursue a plurality of ends without having to posit any substantive theory of thegood.Rawls’ conception of the person, however, has been the subject of much controversyand criticism, most notably by the communitarians and especially Sandel (1984b).4 Hedescribes Rawis’ account of the person as akin to being an unencumbered self, which involves“...a distinction between the values I have and the person I am....One consequence of this...isto put the self itselfbeyond the reach of its experience (Ruling) out the possibility of whatwe might call constitutive ends” (Sandel, 1984b,p.87). Wittgenstein, in the PhilosophicalInvestigations, illustrates the logical difficulty involved for selves prior to their ends byshowing how we would have to learn mental concepts from ourselves. To do this, however,is an impossibility as we cannot learn the language to characterise our experiences by simplereflection upon the internal nature of experiences. For Wittgenstein there is thus a non-contingent relationship between being the subject of experiences (that is, language) and a47See Plant (l99l,pp.344-348),or Sandel (1984b), for a discussion of this point.48Communitarian critiques are not only conducted in the discourse of the Self. Otherproblems they have with liberalism include the undervaluing of community, the devaluing ofpolitical life to a mere instrumental good, an absence of an adequate account of the importanceof certain obligations and commitments, and the exaltation of justice as the first virtue ofsocial institutions. These are the common themes of opposition to liberalism withincommunitarian thought according to Buchanan (1989).50member of a social world of shared meaning (Plant,1991,pp.339-341). An unencumbered selfis hence incapable of belonging to any community, as a community is bound by moral tiesantecedent to choice. The self envisioned along these lines, Sandel argues, is not so much freeand rational as without character and moral depth, beyond its own experience or capacitiesfor deliberation and reflection, lurching “...between detachment on the one hand, andentanglement on the other” (Ibid.:p.93).The society constructed by the person from behind the veil of ignorance is one wherejustice as fairness is institutionalised. Politically speaking, Taylor (199 l,pp.l7-18) portrays thissociety as indicative of a liberalism that is neutral between political morals: “One of its basictenets is that a liberal society must be neutral on what constitutes a good life. The good lifeis what each individual seeks, in his or her own way, and government would be lacking inimpartiality, and thus in equal respect for all citizens, if it took sides on this question.”49Andit is arguably within this neutral societal framework that we encounter the publicly definedperson, and who has historically been unreflective of women.In particular, Rawis (1972,sec.63) claims a person’s life is autonomous if its pattern andexistence stems from deliberative and conscientious choices. Autonomy thus comprises severalcharacteristics, including being independently minded (Wolff,1970,p. 15) and critically reflective(Mill,1991,pp.62-71), and having the opportunity to a formal conception of life, that is to saythe absence of restriction on the content of an autonomous life (Dworkin,1988,chs.1-2). Asimilar appreciation of autonomy incorporates people as reflecting upon and recognising the49lmpartiality, however, does not have to result in a liberalism of neutrality, as Barry(1973,pp.126-l27) says:”My own view is therefore that a liberal must take his stand on theproposition that some ways of life, some types of character, are more admirable than others...Liberalism rests on a vision of life: a Faustian vision. It exalts self-expression, self-mastery andcontrol over the environment, natural and social; the active pursuit of knowledge and the clashof ideas; the acceptance of personal responsibility for the decisions that shape one’s life”.51reasons for leading their lives. People are seen as being in a position to make decisions in thelight of self-consciousness- decisions made critically and rationally- and thereafter to adhereto them without the life chosen being anything but our own.5°Thus, Raz (l986,p.369) arguesthe . . .ideal of personal autonomy is the vision of people... fashioning (their own destiny)through successive decisions throughout their lives”.We have, therefore, a publicly defined person within Rawls’ theory and liberalismgenerally, too. By seeking only the purely formal institutional arrangements for a societyRawls posits an autonomous, rational and self-interested person. He or she is seen as agreeingupon these institutions as, Rawls argues, they are to be thought of and indeed think ofthemselves as equal in interests and abilities. In saying that justice is a political formulationrather than a substantive claim about the truth Rawis (1980) is able to relegate as superfluousto politics a deep theory of the self.5’ In fact Sandel (1982) critiques Rawls for being moreconcerned with establishing the priority of the right over the good than with grounding atheory of justice in the needs of people.Rather than allowing the self to be self-determining, Rawls (1985) maintains thetradition of introducing a ‘standard political conception’ of the person in liberal democraticpolitics. It is also claimed that this person’s intuitions about justice as fairness correspond tothose of a person living in an industrial democratic society (Ibid.). This conception of theperson is an example of what was referred to earlier by Foucault as the modern soui, and what501n short, therefore, autonomy as reflexivity, choice, rationality, strength of will, andauthenticity, an account given by Archard (1992).51This does not mean, however, that the self in its own right is irrelevant. Rawls(l985,p.545) posits a public self as discussed, as well as a private self who has “...attachmentsand loves that (we) believe (we) would not, or could not, stand apart from (Indeed, people)regard it as unthinkable.. .to view themselves without certain religious and philosophicalconvictions and commitments”.52we called the publicly defined person. That is, he (for he corresponds, as we will see, to themasculine) is both defined by liberal contractarian discourse and assumed to be the user ofreason. If one does not conform to this norm then either one is excluded from theinstitutional structures that he supports, or one tries to change his domination of the definitionof a person. Below, in chapters three and four, we will examine him as the possessor of reason,as well as feminism’s attempts to demonstrate this.The defining self and communitarianismWe have seen Foucault’s thesis discussing the disciplinary forces that constitute themodern person. It was argued that the shape of these forces in modernity have resembled anontological subject akin to that described by Rawis. Foucault is thus sceptical about thepotential in modernity for a self-defining subject though for Taylor (1989a,pp.285-294) it is theopposite. Hence the formation of self-identity takes place within a small circle of people, andthis modern phenomenon is largely the result of several tendencies that have come todistinguish modernity. Taylor (1992) claims that of vital importance to today’s privateconception of selfhood was the development at the end of the eighteenth century of anindividualised identity based upon a view of persons endowed with a moral sense - an intuitivefeeling for what is right and wrong. Gradually this occurrence gave rise to the principles ofautonomy and self-examination, aided at one level by the articulations of philosophy. As forthe origins of modern notions of private self-definition Taylor (1989a,pp.285-294) cites fourbroad movements in the early culture of modernity.Firstly, during the eighteenth century value was placed on commercial activity and53money-making. Taylor uses the decline of the aristocratic honour ethic - stressing glory wonin military pursuits - as evidence of this change. In its place arose the bourgeois life ofproduction, or the ordering of life and the quest for peace. Secondly, this aspect of ordinarylife received further affirmation in the rise of the modern novel. Authors like Defoe,Richardson and Fielding not only reinforced the egalitarian ordinariness of bourgeois life, butthey also switched to narrations of the particular person instead of the more classicalrenditions of the general and universal. A third aspect of the culture of early modernity thatreiterated the importance of this new form of ordinary life was marriage. Based on affectionand the ideals of companionship it demanded a higher degree of personal and emotionalcommitment. It also acted as another means for individuation as the role of parents and/or thecommunity in deciding the destiny of two people declined. Marriage thus took on the newrole as the realm of privacy and personal autonomy, or, as Taylor (1989a,p.292) says, it became“...a haven in the heartless world (of modernity)”. The final, fourth cultural change was in theemphasis placed upon the sentiments of love, concern and affection. These were the newspiritual characteristics of the private self and assumed the significance of determining a worthylife, expressed primarily in the devotion to one’s spouse and family but also in the return tothe simplicity of nature. In Beyond Good and Evil Nietzsche (1954,pp.351-352) described thesecultural transformations that materialised in the shape of individuality as a new calling: “Totranslate man back into nature; to become master over the many vain and overly enthusiasticinterpretations and connotations that have so far been scrawled.. .over. . .homo natura:. ..(Wemust be) deaf to the siren songs of old metaphysical bird catchers who have been piping at (us)all too long, ‘you are more, you are higher, you are of a different origin!’ - that may be astrange and insane task, but it is a task -We now need to look into the definition of the private self in modernity. Whereas for54Rawls and arguably liberalism too the self was neglected due to the demands of foundationalpolitical philosophy, we find that ontological assumptions are much more prominent incommunitarian theories. This is partly due to the different opinions about the role ofphilosophy- substantive versus foundational- but also because of the communitarian view thatthe self and the community are inextricably related. Sandel (l982,p.150), for instance, prefersto see the self as embedded in a community where identity is constituted in virtue of beinga member thereof. This self, however, ends up by being no more than an instance of itscommunity, to the extent that the self is the community (Ibid.,pp.148-152). Sandel is aware ofthis “...radically situated self...” who is potentially “.. .drowning in a sea of circumstance,...” buthe does not attempt to resolve this (Ibid.,p.57). Ironically, therefore, Sandels’ conception ofthe self is no more free in being self-defining than the public person discussed above; Alford(l99l,p.ll) writes: “For the Rawisian self so abstract that it becomes invisible, Sandelsubstitutes a self that is not so much abstract as contentless”.Maclntyre (1981,pp.2Ol-209) elaborates a more sophisticated version of the self asembedded, claiming each self develops in the context of a set of narrative histories wherein weare both the actor and author. Each self is the main character in its own personal narrative anda subordinate in the narratives of others too, all of which take place upon a stage we did notdesign nor have a part in shaping. We cannot, therefore, ask what we should do until wediscover what narratives we are a part of. This narrative concept of the self involves twocomponents; the correlative, which allows us to ask others for a description of our identity(for which we are responsible), and the historical and social contingencies which we are bornin to and what, as reasoning beings, we must try to make sense of. Maclntyre argues thatmaking sense of our embeddedness entails a quest for a final telos, and it is embarked uponwith a preconceived telos drawn from attempts to transcend virtues available only in and55through practice. It is in the course of this quest that the self develops via the education of thatwhich is sought.52As we have seen, Taylor argued how important moral frameworks have become tous in defining selfhood. Questions like “Who am I?”, Taylor says, can only be answered interms of an understanding of what is crucially important to us. Personal identity thus dependson our commitments and identifications as representative of a framework, whether religious,national, political or familial (1989a,p.27) Selves, then, are beings of requisite depth andcomplexity, and are constituted only because certain issues matter.53 Taylor (1991,p.33)therefore says that the self is formed dialogically, that is, we “...become full human agents,capable of understanding ourselves, and hence of defining an identity, through our acquisitionof rich human languages of expression”. He uses language here in a broad sense to incorporate,for example, words, art, gestures, and love, with our identity defined in dialogues with, andsometimes against, the identities of those close or significant to us.These conceptions of the private self, from Sandel to Maclntyre and Taylor, envisagea self existing in and being defined by those it is close to, whether in the form of a narrativequest or dialogically through language. Sources for a moral framework are to be drawn fromthis process of learned selfhood, although at times as in the case of Sandel the frameworkthreatens to engulf the self. Still, in the works of Maclntyre and Taylor the intention is toconstruct a sense of meaning in a community by having it reflect the values of its members.In contrast the liberal response to a loss of meaning was instead to allow each person to52For a critique of Maclntyre see Hinchman (1989).531’What I am as a self, my identity, is essentially defined by the way things havesignificance for me... (and is worked at) through a language of interpretation. To ask what aperson is, in abstraction from his or her self-interpretations, is to ask a fundamentallymisguided question,...” (Taylor,1989a,p.34).56flourish in his or her own world of meaning. To do this, however, it was necessary toconstruct a set of institutions that fostered, in comparison to premodernity, ontologicalseparatism, or, we might say, protected each person’s right to elaborate his or her sense ofmeaning. But this was only possible if the person was assumed to be what we called a publicperson. As a consequence, the institutions that have arisen to encourage this individualconception of meaning end up by constricting the realm of freedom for those who do notconform to this notion of the person. Most notably in modern societies these people have beenwomen, and their futile struggle for meaning and its potential as located in a community orthrough the exercising of personal freedom within a ‘neutral’ framework, will be the subjectof the next two chapters.57CHAPTER THREEThe ontological dichotomy in traditional politicalphilosophy- a feminist critiqueThe issue that must concern us here is an evaluation of the frameworks discussed inthe previous chapter in terms of their ontologies. In particular, there is an assumptioncommon to modern political philosophy of the subject as the possessor of reason. On thisunderstanding it becomes possible to see the subject as essentially autonomous, orepistemologically and morally prior to the collectivity” (West, 1988). However, in using theseassumptions to construct the institutions of modernity, masculinity neglected to see that thefemale’s biological constraints made it impossible for her to be the person these masculineframeworks presuppose. In addition, these biological factors were seen as a justification ofmen’s reason and evidence of women’s difference to him. Friedman (1987) writes, for example,that we have today a division of moral labour, the rationale for which lies in the historicdevelopments pertaining to the family, state and economy. Evidence for this is to be seen inmen’s dominance of the regulation, ordering and managing of social and public institutions,and women’s tasks of sustaining privatised personal relationships that “... have been imposedon, or left to, (them)” (Ibid.,p.94). It seems plausible to suggest, therefore, that reason, on onelevel at least, has oppressed the female through the synthesis of the biological into the cultural,which has culminated in men’s production of the feminine. As Maclcinnon in FeminismUnmodified argues, “hat a women ‘is’ is what you have made women be” (quoted inHaslanger,l993,p. 104).58Although one could approach an ontological evaluation from a variety of perspectives -for example, class, race, economic, or ethnic - we will instead adopt the approach of gender,and for several reasons. For instance, Bryson (1993,p.l92) argues feminism (as the primarymode of gender discourse) is unlike modern political philosophy as it “...provides a way oflooking at the world that sees women’s situation and the inequalities between men and womenas central political issues; as such, it provides a fundamental challenge to dominant assumptionsabout the scope and nature of politics”. Further, feminist arguments against the above twoprojects are primarily on behalf of women and the alleviation of their oppression.54 In thediscussion that follows, oppression will be looked at in terms of reason as having been therequirement for political personhood, a requirement that women have been deliberatelyexcluded from because of their confinement by the masculine to the private sphere, and whichhas been justified on women’s supposed affinity with, and similarity to, nature. Secondly, inchapter four we will critically examine both the masculine conception of the political personthat has appeared most prominently in the liberal tradition, as well as the frameworks thisreasoning person provided the foundation for, and how they exacerbated women’sconfinement to the private realm.More specifically, the critique of the reasoning subject is indicative of what issometimes called cultural feminism. It has significantly more amorphous boundaries thanliberal feminism, and is characterised by its rejection of the ‘malestream’55 view withinpolitical philosophy of the atomised subject. Further, it is suspicious of the ‘maleness’ of54”Women constitute half the world’s population, perform nearly two thirds of its workhours, receive one tenth of the world’s income, and own less than one hundredth of theworld’s property” (United Nations Report-1980, quoted in Bryson,1993,p.192).55’Malestream’ is a term that was first used by O’Brien (1981) to characterise themainstream of philosophy as masculine oriented.59reason (Lloyd, 1993) and its attendant Cartesian epistemology, of the malestream’spreoccupation with market contractarianism, and of their notion of the existence of animpartial justice. Cultural feminism arguably derives its impetus from Irigaray (1985), whobases her indictment of phallocentrism on women’s multiple, indeterminate and varyingexperiences of sexual pleasure, or jouissance. Unique to women, Irigaray says it makes theirways of knowing different and superior to the sexually unitary, quantitative and limitedexperience of men, whence reason. A female epistemology therefore “...diverts the linearityof a project, undermines the target-object of a desire, explodes the polarisation of desire ononly one pleasure, and disconcerts fidelity to one discourseu (Ibid.,p.30).Feminism in contextThe development of feminism as a coherent and organised mode of theorising is arelatively recent phenomenon. If we want to understand it as the collective, singular, consciousor half-conscious resistance by women of subordination, as Jaggar (l983,p.2) suggests, thenfeminism has always existed. On this account feminism, according to Fox-Genovese (l9’9l,p.2),becomes less “. . .the cause of the unsettling changes in our world than their symptom, (andembodies) a variety of dissatisfactions with things-as-they-are and a variety of visions abouthow they could be improved”. As a theoretical discourse, however, feminism is very much aproduct of modernity, and Eisenstein (1983,pp.xiii-xix) argues that it grows out of the liberalproject which feminism seeks to explode and transcend.56 Specifically, the notion of56The brand of feminism portrayed by Eisenstein (1983) was, as she claims, a product ofthe liberal project, or what Barret and Phillips (l992,p.2) call “...an instantation of the‘modernist’ impulse”. By implication they see a distinction between what Eisenstein and manyother early 1980s feminists wrote about, and 1990s feminism which does not share the same60instrumental freedom is the basis of this claim and feminists seek it as a means to ontologicalself-determination in the realms of politics, economics and sexuality.Historically, organised feminism as we conceive of it in the west started in the greateconomic and political transformations of the seventeenth century. These changes had drasticeffects upon the feudal family, with aristocratic women losing their political clout with the riseof the nation-state and the institutionalisation of politics, while peasant women were strippedof their economic power upon the advent of the factory system (Ferguson, 1985). Women wereno longer in their ‘natural’ positions after these changes had taken effect, and as a result theybecame ‘a question’, with feminism materialising as an attempt at answering it(Jaggar, 1983,pp.3-4).Perhaps, as Bryson (1993) argues, the initiation of modern feminism is to be found inMary Wolistonecroft’s 1792 publication, the Vindication of the Rights of Women. There are,of course, several other sources too, including the utopian socialists of the early nineteenthcentury and later Karl Marx, who implied that the family and sexual relationships wereproducts of a particular stage of economic development (Ibid.). This theme came to fruitionin Engels’ The Origin of the Family. Private Property and the State, which was published in1884, fifteen years after the solitary Anglo-American voice of John Stuart Mill produced IhSubjection of Women. This is not to say that the subject of women was the exception ineighteenth and nineteenth century political philosophy. Mahowald (1978) argues that from theclassical political philosophers through to those of the premodern era the issue of women wasexplicitly addressed, although in what is now seen as a derogatory manner. The same is trueof modern philosophers who generally viewed women in terms of emotional power, aestheticheritage - see Barret and Phillips (Ibid.), who attempt to define this new heritage.61sensibility and familial concerns.57 Unfortunately a lot of contemporary political philosophyis silent about women, either because it assumes there to be no differences of relevance to thefield, or simply due to the assumption that women are not part of the subject matter ofpolitical philosophy. It is arguably out of this silence that feminism has emerged as a distinctacademic discipline.Of crucial significance to feminism and indeed its raison d’etre is its undeniable claimof the oppression of women by men.58 Jaggar (l9&3,p.5) sees the etymological origin ofoppression (from the Latin verb ‘to press down or against’) as important, as it suggests theoppressed suffer from a restriction upon their freedom. Although freedom is indicative ofmodernity and thus threatens her above claim of the historically continuous oppression ofwomen,59 Jaggar (Ibid.,p.6) nonetheless writes that oppression “...is the imposition ofconstraints; it suggests the problem is not the result of bad luck, ignorance or prejudice, butis caused by one group actively subordinating another group to its own interests”. As suchfeminism becomes “...an analysis of women’s subordination for the purpose of figuring outhow to change it” (Gordon,1979,p.107).57Rousseau thought women should be trained to submit to the will of men lest their sexualpower would lead both to disaster (Elshtain,1986,pp.39-40). Kant saw women as incapable ofachieving full moral personhood, besides which they would lose their charm by engaging inrational pursuits (Ibid.,pp.26-27). And Hegel admired women’s moral concern for their familiesso long as it was kept in its proper place and could not thwart the universal aims of men(Ibid. ,pp .72-77)58The exact form of this oppression, however, is a difficult issue, and the lack of agreementabout it by feminists is arguably what separates them into numerous ‘schools’.591n The Concept of Dread Kierkegaard spoke of freedom not as a given phenomenon, butrather as originating from the ontological understanding of external reality and personalidentity (cited in Giddens,1991,pp.47-48). Hence existential Angst is the intuition of thepossibility of freedom (Ibid.), and is thus ahistorical which brings into question Jaggar’s claimof the eternal oppression of women (when defined as the search for freedom).62Possibly the most important difference between post 1960s feminism and what camebefore it is the concept of patriarchy. During the interwar years many countries hadenfranchised women, and this resulted in the call for state welfare to promote their sex-specificneeds and attributes as wives and mothers (Bryson,1993,pp.196-197). At the end of the SecondWorld War women were content to return to ‘normalcy’, that is, back into the family afterhaving been economically active during it. This transition was facilitated by women’s recentlyacquired legal and political rights, and it was not until Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sexthat the myth of a woman’s ‘natural’ role of feminity and domesticity were shattered. In ThSecond Sex (1972), she argued from a philosophical, psychological, anthropological andhistorical viewpoint that it is not biology which constrains a woman’s freedom, nor hereconomic or socio-political situation, but rather the manufacture of the ‘feminine’ bycivilisation.6°Patriarchy is historically seen as the mode of civilisation that has imposed the feminineupon the female. Undoubtedly patriarchy has also imposed the masculine upon the male, yetrelative to the feminine his existence within patriarchal civilisation has been significantly easier,if not incomparably so. Beechey (1979) argues that ‘patriarchy’ was retrieved from earlymodern philosophy and was first used in the works of Virginia Woolf, although it was notuntil Millet’s publication of Sexual Politics in 1970 that it was put into the context of women’soppression. Following the tradition of de Beauvoir we might see patriarchy as a form of ‘socialmythology’, wherein the persistence of the myth of an essentially private role for women leads60Hence, as de Beauvoir (1972,p.296) famously claimed: “One is not born, but ratherbecomes, a woman. No biological, psychological, or economic fate determines the figure thatthe human female presents in society; it is civilisation as a whole that produces this creature,intermediate between male and eunuch, which is described as feminine”. Specifically, we mightunderstand this as masculine civilisation, erected upon men’s reason.63to a discrepancy of power between the sexes (Janeway,1971). More generally speaking, Rich(l976,pp.57-58) says patriarchy “...is the power of the fathers: a familial-social, ideological,political system in which men- by force, direct pressure, or through ritual, tradition, law andlanguage, customs, etiquette, education and the division of labour, determine what part womenshall or shall not play, and in which the female is everywhere subsumed under the male...Under patriarchy.. .1 (women) have access only to so much privilege or influence as thepatriarchy is willing to accord me, and only for so long as I will pay the price for maleapproval”.With this new understanding and perspective on women’s oppression feminism movedfrom a concern with rights and equality to an examination of the concepts of oppression andliberation (Jaggar, l’983,p.5). This shift in critical emphasis was led by the marxist-socialist andradical feminists, and became known as the ‘second wave’ (Coole,1988,p.234). Feministphilosophers and theorists began to explore “...the possibility of applying existing politicalcategories to domains of human existence that hitherto (had) been considered to lie beyondthe sphere of politics” (Jaggar,1983,p.7). Typically, feminism in the 1970s focused upon thesocially constructed differences between the sexes as the chief source of female oppression(Eisenstein,1983,pp.ii-vi). To do this necessitated the theoretical distinction between gender andsex and an analysis of the latter as a form of control.As a result several features new to political discourse arose, including women and thefemale as not only worthwhile objects of theory and research but as conceptually men’s equalsas well. Through this analysis of sex roles women were encouraged to overcome their defectsof conditioning. Gross (1986) argues that one avenue open to feminists in this respect was toseek entry into the spheres whence they had previously been excluded. This meant workingwithin the traditional patriarchal paradigm, and the main thrust of the feminist demand was64for that of equal recognition. However, in failing to question the basic ontological andepistemological frameworks and assumptions of patriarchy, feminists came up againstnumerous difficulties. For instance, in accepting the description of the feminine as irrational,egalitarian feminists claimed it was an artificial imposition and that women were in fact asrational as men. In effect, therefore, Coole (l993,p.20l) says women were left with twochoices; “...to acquire the masculine qualities consonant with humanity and citizenship but tobe derided as aberrant because unfeminine, or to accede to the feminine norm patriarchydecrees for women, only to be judged unsuited for public life”.Subordination was hence seen by liberal feminists as rooted in customary and legalconstraints which assumed women to be less intellectually and physically capable than men(Tong,1989,pp.2-5). Similarly, marxist feminists argued that the traditional capitalist system wasresponsible for women’s oppression, with the introduction of private property havingobliterated the natural equality of the community (Ibid.). These two strands of feministthought both used existing masculine theories and simply applied them to women(Bryson,1993,p.193). However, as 0km (1980,p.286) argues, “...it is by no means a simplematter to integrate the female half of the human race into (the western) tradition of politicaltheory”.Radical feminism had also developed during this period but largely outside of thetraditional theoretical categories. Some of its writers called for an end to the polarities ofmasculinity and feminity to the extent of advocating androgyny, as in Firestone’s ThDialectic of Sex, or Millet’s Sexual Politics (Eisenstein,1983). The second wave of feministwriters that followed, however, began to adopt a more gynocentric view to counter patriarchalphallocentrism. The idea of sexual difference - an often neglected strand of thought from the65Suffragette movement- was now seen as the path to liberation.61 Gynocentrism thus soughtto negate patriarchy’s definition of feminine virtues as ones of nurturance, emotion, andgentleness (Tong,1989,pp.5-7). Feminity, they argued, should not be interpreted as that whichdeviates from masculinity. Instead, gynocentric feminism aims to extrapolate specific virtuesfrom the historical and psychological experiences of women which can then serve as ablueprint for social change (Eisenstein,1983, p.xiii, Bryson,1993,pp.203-204, concurs).62Broadly speaking, therefore, feminist theory “...has moved from an emphasis on theelimination of gender difference to a celebration of that difference as a source of moral value”(Eisenstein,1983,p.xviii). In parallel to this development has been the diversification offeminism in both its premises and conclusions, with its breadth of discourse being larger thanmost other disciplines through feminism’s incorporation of them too (Kymlicka,1990,p.238).In fact, Shuliman (1982) discerns no less than nine varieties of feminism,63 although thedominant ‘schools’ appear to be liberal, marxist-socialist, and radical feminism.64Of relevance to our discussion, however, is the unanimity of critique across this61The Suffragettes were the ‘foremothers’ of modern feminism, as they emphasisedenfranchisement for one of three reasons: for equality; to allow the different voices of womento be represented; and for simple protection as in Christabel Pankhurst’s slogan ‘Votes ForWomen: Chastity For Men’ (Bryson,1993,p.196).621n this exclusionary way radical feminism comes closest to meeting the initial Englishdefinition of ‘feminism’. Originally a French word, it was introduced in the early twentiethcentury to America and referred to a group of women’s rights activists who stressed theuniqueness of women, their mystical experience of motherhood, and the special purity of thefemale (Jaggar,1983, pp.4-5). Interestingly, this tendency was (patronisingly) labelled ‘sexualromanticism’, whereas today it is (vindictively) called ‘radical feminism’.63Shullman (1982) sees in theory and practice the following types of feminism: bourgeois;socialist; conservative; radical; lesbian-separatist; the feminism of women’s culture; the women’sstudies movement; the women’s health movement; and the reproductive rights movement.64This is the characterisation to be found in Bryson (1993), Eisenstein (1983), Jaggar (1983),Kymlicka (1990), and Tong (1989).66feminist spectrum directed at the ontological and epistemological assumptions of modernpolitical philosophy. Jaggar and Bordo (l989,p.2) reiterate this when they mention the growingtendency toward unity within feminism of the last decade, which is the result of an“...emerging feminist challenge to conceptions of knowledge and reality that have dominatedthe western intellectual tradition at least since the seventeenth century”. No doubt this isindicative of the increasingly sophisticated discourse of feminism which has moved, asEisenstein (1983) argues above, to celebrating difference and feminine individuality. Barret andPhillips (1992,p.2) argue that this new orientation does not have to represent a theoreticalbreakdown in consensus between 1970s and 1990s feminism, and that it “...should not beregarded as a symptom of underdevelopment- a ‘prehistory’ now well transcended in thesophistication of contemporary thought,...”. In a more sympathetic tone Gross (1986,pp.12-193) claims that the egalitarian slant of feminism in the 1970s “ . . .served as a political, andperhaps as an experimental, prerequisite to the more far reaching struggles directed towardsfemale autonomy”. As a consequence conceptions of identity and subjectivity - whether as aself or person- become imperative, and from this arises a challenge to the modern ontologicalframework of political philosophy.Raison as - and nature as not - d’êtreTwo themes emerge from the above description which will from the basis of thecritique of modern political philosophy’s ontology: reason as the means to being and natureas its antithesis. In order to overcome essentialism65 or, more broadly speaking, early65See Giligan and her critics below.67feminism’s tendency to gynocentrism, the second wave turned their attention todeconstructing the culturally erected categories of the masculine and feminine. In particular,the person in the former category was seen as the possessor of reason, whilst the person in thelatter displayed anything but such a faculty due to her embeddedness in nature. An explorationof this dichotomy is thus of paramount importance if we are to understand the perceivedintellectual capabilities of each gender.Each gender’s capabilities were, according to classical political philosophy, derivativefrom the biological attributes of each sex. Historically, these ‘capabilities’ date back to ancientGreece and in particular Aristotle, who provided “...a comprehensive framework for...sexpolarity... . (He) explicitly argued for the logical implications of metaphysical distinctionsbetween the sexes - from the philosophy of nature - and of epistemological arguments forethics” (Allen,1985,pp.119-120). Based on this assertion the differences in gender could notlogically be topics for moral or political concern. It is only by exposing this dichotomy asengendered rather than biological that feminism has been able to threaten the core ontologicalassumptions of modern political philosophy. This is because it avoids the path of essentialism,in addition to revealing the contingency of patriarchalism. Grimshaw (1988), for example,citing Daly (1979), Millet (1977) and Frye (1983), characterises ontological essentialism as abelief in the existence of a true, objective subject, who is latent and waiting for deliverancefrom the clutches of men. This feminine subject is authentic, harmonious and unitary - afemale ‘Spirit-Self’ - with any splits or barriers in her psyche being the result of patriarchalconditioning. However, as Coole (1988,pp.276-277) says, if feminists’ “...contribution is definedin terms of an essential female corporeality and psychology.. .the opportunity to emancipatewomen while redefining the world in which they live, will be lost”. One way of avoiding thisimplicit form of matriarchy simply replacing patriarchy is to demonstrate how patriarchy was68intentionally (or otherwise) erected upon a gender specific conception of the person, ratherthan what was thought to be a person of universal relevance. To show this masculineorientation we will look at how being, for the patriarchal public person, was defined throughreason. However, prior to this we will examine the historical definition of the feminine assynonymous with nature, and nature as indicative of non-being vis-a-vis the masculine.Porter(l99l,pp.54.-58) distinguishes two philosophical definitions of women’s naturewhich influence the ideals of subjectivity, both of which have their origins in Judeo-Christiantheology. One view envisages women as different but complementary, and is based on adichotomy to be located in the nature of the sexes: the conscious, active subject displayingrationality, autonomy and judgement, in contrast to the passive, irrational subject.Unfortunately, the sense of complementarity disappears when the male sex as rational assumesprimacy over the female as irrational. The second view sees women as partial helpmates tomen and comes from the second account of the creation in the bible. Having created man,God pondered and then mused: “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make a helperfit for him” (Genesis 2:18, quoted in Ibid.,p.53). A woman is thus defined in terms of men’sneeds, or desires for pleasure, utility or offspring, in contrast to other accounts in the biblewhich state that both male and female were created in the image of God.Perhaps the origins of the ‘natural’ inequalities between the sexes can be traced backeven further to Aristotle. Christian theologians and philosophers certainly based their workson the bible. Saint Augustine, for example, portrayed both genders as equal in marriage only,as it is possible therein to see the woman, through her husband, as being in the image of God.He thus tried to reconcile the differing biblical accounts of the sexes but was only able tosucceed in making women a ‘partial being’ (Ibid.). When she is alone, therefore, and despitehaving a capacity to reason equal to that of a man, a woman loses this formal equality as69without her husband her chief form of identity becomes her body. The body, being linked tothe sensuous, is in turn subordinated to reason as the authority.66An unmarried woman mustthus be seen in terms of subordination due to the inclinations of her body, rather thanthrough a husband who would affirm her image as in that of God. 0km (1989a,p.57) hassuccinctly summed up Saint Augustine’s view as follows: “In the City of God, woman andman are equal, but in the City of Man woman is man’s subject and properly restricted to thedomestic...and celibacy”. These assumptions of the ‘natural’ division between body and mindcan also be found in Aquinas, who argued that a female was the defective human formresulting from an accident to the sperm, wherein lies the perfect human form of the male inpotentia (Porter,1991,p.57).Both Saint Augustine and Aquinas based their conclusions on Aristotle’s metabiology.In the Generation of Animals and the History of Animals, Aristotle provides us with the firstsystematic scientific explanation of the sexes (Tuana,1993,p.18). His core assumption was thatheat is the fundamental principle in the perfection of animals. By concocting matter, Aristotlebelieved that heat enabled animals to develop. Using this assumption, Aristotle was able toposit women as colder or the primary opposite of men, and this enabled him to allege that shehad inferior physiological and psychological characteristics to him. Her heat deficiency, forexample, was responsible for her smaller brain, which explained ‘defects’ like jealousy, the66Saint Augustine’s understanding of the body and soul is extremely complex, certainlymore so than what is discussed in Porter (1991) although her point remains nonetheless valid.Briefly, the soui is the intermediary between the immortality of God and the mortality of thebody, so that the body’s temptation of the soul is lamentable only insofar as the soul turnstoward mortality and away from God (and immortality). In our context the immortality ofthe soul might be said to constitute meaning, whilst the body’s mortality does not. In a Letterto Secundinus, for instance, Saint Augustine wrote that: “...when what is more (the soul) leanstowards what is less (the body), it is not the second but the first of these realities that falls (inrelation to God)...” (quoted in Brunn,1988,pp.50-51). See Brunn (Ibid., pp.49-55), and Meagher(1978,ch.4,paras.8 and 10).70absence of a sense of shame, her tendency to quarrel, or to sometimes be vindictive(Ibid. ,pp. 18-21).Although we can but marvel at Aristotle’s imaginative inquisitiveness, the proof of histheory, whilst implausible today, is nonetheless illustrative of biology - albeit badlymisinterpreted- as having provided the foundations for philosophy (or lack of it in the caseof women). In observing the men and women around him, Aristotle noticed the developmentat puberty of a bodily secretion, and its subsequent cessation with old age. The disparity incolour and fluidity between the male’s semen and the female’s menstrual discharge was,Aristotle thought, related to the level of heat in each body. Hence, both secretions originatein the blood, yet the male’s semen is transformed to white and is thicker due to his higherlevel of heat generation, whereas the female’s menstrual discharge is barely altered fromwhence it originates (Allen, l985,pp.93- 103).It was upon this biology that the dichotomy between the male as rational and thefemale as irrational was established, and what we today call the public-private distinction. Thisis not necessarily to say we should reject Aristotle. Whilst his metabiology leaves a lot to bedesired, Homiak (1993) thinks Aristotle’s ideal of rationality and the rational life can beacceptable to feminists, as they do not exclude the ‘irrational’ aspects like emotion and care.Indeed, if the latter are not to be oppressive, she says they ought to be incorporated and existwithin the rational life (of politics). Homiak bases her claim on Aristotle’s conception of avirtuous person, whose proper development relied upon the non-rational side as a constraintand limit upon the rational. Rather than suppressing the emotions, sexuality or the appetites,Aristotle’s virtuous person instead necessitates them, whilst at the same time structuring themhierarchically. Similarly, Jaggar (1989) says the rational-emotional dichotomy was not as strongin Greece as it has become in modernity, and she cites Plato’s Phaedrus as an example wherein71the charioteer (reason) controls, but does not subordinate, his horses (the irrational urges).Homiak (l993,p.9) writes that “...reason, by itself, cannot create these feelings; nor can reason,by itself, destroy them”. Whilst not an apology on Aristotle’s behalf, Homiak, as a feminist,is perhaps missing the point by seeking to ‘rehabilitate’ him. The consequences of Aristotle’sontological separation of the genders is more invidious to women than Homiak realises, andis not limited to the ‘rational’ world only.Held (1989) provides an ingenious example of the dominance of the masculine in thisrespect. The public realm has throughout much of the masculine philosophic tradition beenlinked to honour and patriotism, a cause, if you will, worth dying for. In contrast the privatewas the realm of nature and reproduction, a biological given. As a consequence, Held arguesthat we now perceive birth as less important than death, as it is ‘merely’ biological, versusdeath’s perception as human. She relates the notion of human to choice, so that death’seminence has lain in a man’s choice of how and what to die for, including, for example, toovercome fear, to display courage, for noble or heroic causes, or for future generations andhumanity. Increasingly, women are exercising choice too in the realm of reproduction, fromthe choice of partner (now a question of death as well), age of conception, and method ofbirth and birth control, to the issue of the foetus’ right to life. We should, Held thereforeconcludes, raise the status of reproduction to the human as well, to a level synonymous withdeath.67The treatment in modernity of the sexual dichotomy between the man as rational andthe woman as irrational has been somewhat different to that of the premodern era. Althoughmore blatantly discriminatory against women, the employment of reason as the67Qkin (1989a,p.56f) makes a related, historical point by saying a woman giving birth risksher life as much as a man when he goes to war.72epistemological paradigm of political philosophy has occurred in a different context, namelythat of meaninglessness. That is to say, because of the socio-economic and cultural-politicaltransformations of the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, new institutions became imperativeas a replacement for the premodern cosmological order. These institutions were erected upona conception of the subject as the possessor of reason. Unfortunately, however, this subject andits faculty of reason was assumed- arguably imposed- to be universally applicable, yet as willbecome evident, it is rather that this characterisation was gender specific to men and henceexclusionary to women.Haslanger (1993) has discerned two forms of feminist resistance to the ideal of reasonas universal to all subjects. Firstly, to give it prominence necessitates leaving Out what isviewed as the personification of its opposite, the feminine. Reason is thus not inherentlyobjectionable but in giving it priority the masculine dominates. One resolution would be tointegrate the feminist perspectives contrasted with reason into the paradigm of politicalphilosophy, a type of gender equality within an understanding of complementarity. Ruddick(1980), for example, is representative of this view when she talks about the non-biologicalfeminine traditions and practices that constitute ‘maternal thought’. Arising out of socialpractices, maternal thought would complement abstract reason, and comprises “theintellectual capacities she (the mother, because she was also once a daughter) develops, thejudgements she makes, the metaphysical attitudes she assumes, (and) the values she affirms”(Ibid. ,pp . 346-347)A second form of feminist resistance is less conciliatory, and implicates reason aswomen’s oppressor. To adopt the perspective of reason, it is argued, is synonymous with astance of domination, as reason serves to reinforce existing and historical power relationsbetween the genders. Pargetter and Prior (1986) describe this as the ‘new view’ within73feminism. Those who adopt this position deny, they say, the “...thesis implicit (where notexplicit) in the earlier feminist writing, that domestic activities do not involve the use ofreason and intellect whilst public realm activities do” (Ibid.,p.107). The ‘new view’ rangesacross a broad spectrum, from French feminists who concede rationality is in fact masculineand so much the worse off because of it, to those who argue reason is not sufficient forpersonhood the way it is presently conceived of, and if it were correctly conceived thenwomen could, at the least, be men’s equals. Haslanger (l993,p.92) sums up the dilemma forwomen who face reason as the mode of being - raison as d’être- when she writes: ‘Thereification of the masculine ideals as human ideals ensures that one’s efforts to be feminine willconsistently undermine one’s efforts to realize the ideal for persons (and similarly the idealsfor morality and knowledge). Women face an impossible choice that carries censure eitherway: be a good person but fail as a woman, or be a good woman and fail as a person”.Lloyd (1993) has written one of the more cogent and considered accounts of themasculinisation of reason. Drawing on Derrida and Ricoeur, she contends that what is reallyat stake in the maleness of reason is philosophical metaphor. It has, Lloyd (Ibid.,p.viii) says,“...been constitutive of ways of thinking of reason which have deep repercussions in ways ofthinking of ourselves as male or female”. Similarly, Rooney (1991) says reason, in alliance withits bedmates of truth and knowledge, has been regularly conceived and understood in termsof images, metaphors and allegories. These implicitly or explicitly involve an exclusion ordenigration of a ‘feminine’ element like body, nature, passion, instinct, sense or emotion, andthey have, Rooney continues, been as damaging to women as the literal Cartesian duality(Ibid.,p.77).This understanding of maleness belongs neither with sex or gender, but with conceptsand principles that emphasise the male-female distinction rather than the socially produced74concepts of masculinity and feminity. Lloyd further argues that contemporary politicalphilosophy is deeply concerned with the challenges posed to the ideals of rationality bycultural relativism, yet feminism, in questioning the objectivity and universality of our canonsof rational belief, indicates that it may be unable to even transcend our sexual differences. Byexposing the philosophical metaphor that perpetuates the maleness of reason, Lloyd(Ibid.,p.xviii) attempts to challenge the very- core of our philosophical heritage wherein “...liesthe aspiration to a Reason common to all, transcending the contingent historical circumstanceswhich differentiate minds from one another”.To illustrate her thesis Lloyd draws a contrast between the premodern use of reason,and its subsequent usage in modernity. In ancient Greece, for instance, a women’s ability toconceive was connected with the fertility of nature. Aristotle’s theory of generation, forexample, understood procreation as the imparting by the male of the motion or form of thechild, and the provision by the female of the passive, indeterminate matter (Rooney,1991,p.79-80). This provided the basis for the Pythagorean table of the opposites where form isconstrued as superior to formlessness, or male to female (Allen,1985,pp.20-28).6 Medievalphilosophy continued with the metaphor of maleness. As we saw above, Saint Augustineconceded to women spiritual equality with men, but what she is as a rational spirit is not whatshe symbolises in her bodily difference. Hence, because rational man rules over the irrational,he also rules corporeally over the woman (Lloyd,1993,p.29). The same may be said of Aquinas.He distinguished, in a first sense, an intellectual nature common to both sexes. In a secondsense, however, men are the beginning and end of women, just as God is for every creature,68The Pythagorean table of the opposites included contrasts between male-female, restmotion, straight-curved, light-darkness, and good-bad. Rooney (1991) claims it associated theforces of unreason with the earth goddesses, who represented dark forces with mysterioussubterranean powers.75including the first creature, man. There is, for Aquinas, a distinction to be made in allcreatures between ‘vital functions’ and ‘generation’, and in the human species men’s purposeis intellectual and women’s the generation of the species (Ibid.,pp.34-35). For the Greek andmedieval philosophers, reason’s use was a means to access the objective structure or order ofreality. It was seen as intrinsically natural and therefore moral, in contrast to modernity wherenature and morality become separated (Jaggar,1989,p.145).In modernity nature has been stripped of value and “.. .reconceptualised as an inanimatemechanism of no intrinsic worth’ (Ibid.,p.146). Lloyd (l993,p.ll) argues Francis Bacon, inRefutation of Philosophies, typifies this new mode of thinking. Rejecting the Greek view thatformlessness was not knowable nor relevant to the cultivation of knowledge, Bacon claimeda new scientific knowledge that would henceforth control nature. The use of sexual metaphoronce again arises, with Bacon’s analogy between nature and the female as both knowableencapsulated in his proclamation: “Let us establish a chaste and lawful marriage between mindand nature” (quoted in Ibid.). Value was therefore relocated in human beings and rooted intheir preferences and emotional responses. Without nature as the non-contingent benchmarkof value, the necessity arose for an abstract form of constancy - or meaning - to rendertrustworthy insight into the new reality. Descartes was the philosopher who provided the newmethod of evaluation. He rejected the premodern idea of the soul, divided between the higher(intellect and reason) and the lower (sense and desire), and replaced it with the mind-bodydistinction, or rational-irrational.Reason emerges, therefore, as modernity’s new faith, and it involved areconceptualisation of emotion, too. It came to be seen as a non-rational urge that sweeps thebody, a ‘passion’, signifying a suffering rather than a choice (Jaggar,1989,pp.146-149)Nonetheless these transformations occurred in “...the context of associations already existing76between gender and Reason,... (and the) new emphasis on the privacy of the mind’s naturaloperations, promised to make knowledge accessible to all, even to women” (Lloyd,1993,p.45).Unfortunately, however, reason as a particular way of thinking was an achievement, andrequired a formal education to which few people had access. In a letter to Descartes, PrincessElizabeth summed up a woman’s (and undoubtedly many men’s too) predicament: “...the lifeI am constrained to lead does not allow me enough free time to acquire a habit of meditationin accordance with your rules. Sometimes the interests of my household, which I must notneglect, sometimes conversations and civilities I cannot eschew, so thoroughly deject this weakmind with annoyances or boredom that it remains, for a long time afterward, useless foranything” (quoted in Tuana,1993,p.63). Atherton (1993) argues that several of Descartes’contemporaries were women philosophers who employed reason and rationality assynonymous with thinking, rather than a particular mode of thinking unique to men. Thedichotomy is thus, Atherton says, reason versus mechanical or instinctual thought, and notreason-male versus emotion-female. However, the issue is not so much to do with reasoningas specific to men and another way of knowing - maternal thought - as specific to women.Rather, it is a question of who has access to reason as an achievement, and to what ends it issubsequently put. An answer to these questions is best understood in the context of the changefrom premodernity to modernity.Ruth (1979) has argued that feminism is incompatible with philosophy. Her conclusionis drawn from the high degree of specialisation that occurs in philosophy, its universal scope,and its aspiration to incorporate all of ‘mankind’. Feminism, in contrast, is contingent andtransient versus philosophy’s transcendence of time and place, and feminism is equallyconcerned with the social, political and anthropological fields, areas in which, Ruth suggests,no philosophical questions are asked. The cause of the gender bias in philosophy stems from77the historical exclusion of women, and there is, as a result, an embedded distortion withinphilosophy. This distortion, Ruth (Ibid.,p.50) says, makes philosophy unacceptable to women,as there is a “...sexism in philosophy (that) has become philosophical sexism, metasexism, (andwhich is)... epistemological, permeating philosophy to its roots”.While philosophy might well be sexist, it does not necessarily follow that it shouldtherefore be unacceptable to women. Political philosophy, for instance, addresses concernsrelevant to all, including, and most notably in our argument, that of a moral framework.Undoubtedly until now this framework has been gender biased due to the masculine ontologywhich underscores it. By looking at the context in which this framework arose, however, wecan begin to see that just as the masculine was imposed, so it now becomes possible andarguably a necessity to dethrone it. Nonetheless, the issue philosophy was confronting- thatof a framework- still remains relevant, but only if it is to include other ontologicalconceptions too, or literally all of ‘mankind’.The emergence of modernity in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries can, with theonly perfect human science of hindsight, be seen as having traumatised the intellectual world.Particularly bad food crises, wars, plagues and indescribable poverty were rife across Europe69,and conjured up the Baconian image of nature as an unruiy and malevolent virago whichneeded to be tamed (Bordo,1986). A world where the subject could feel nourished by a senseof oneness, of continuity between all creatures, had been replaced by a new, indifferent order.Maclntyre (l98l,pp.5O-51) reiterates this sense of oneness, arguing that there was a structureunique to the Aristotelean-Christian world view of morality. This structure provided adefinition of the subject, that is, man-as-he-ought-to-be and of man-as-he-is, and articulated a69For example, the Beubonic plague or the Thirty Years War.78set of rules that could lead man-as-he-is to man-as-he-ought-to-be. Notwithstanding therelevance to Maclntyre of Hegel’s critique of Kantian morality, that is, ought seldom becomesis, just relations were, in premodernity, governed by rules embedded in a concept of the good.Benhabib (1987,p.159) depicts this good as the telos of humanity, which was ‘...definedontologically with reference to man’s place in the cosmos at large?. However, the transitionfrom humanity as teleologically defined to the modern era of teleological subjectivity was nota smooth one, and Bordo (l986,p.448) writes that it involved kind of protracted birth -from which the human being emerges as a decisively separate entity, no longer continuouswith the universe with which it had once shared a soul,...’.Scholars from the late medieval period through to the Renaissance were thus victimsof the ‘inwardness of mental life’, and a sense of isolation developed for the subject whowithdrew into the enclosure of its skin. A new conception of the subject developed, primarilyas “. . .a reaction formation to the loss of being-one-with-the-world brought about by thedisintegration of the organic, centred cosmos (of premodernity)” (Ibid.,p.451). In an effort totame the indifference of nature, empirical science and rationalism launched what Bordo callsan aggressive assault and violation of ‘her’ secrets, or nature as a feminine metaphor. Thisassault upon the ancient and medieval teleological conceptions of nature was facilitated bymedieval nominalism, the decline of the papacy and its loss of legitimacy, the emergence ofnational consciousnesses, the “...will of ordinary men to live under...universal right...whichmay permit of enforcement equally upon all,...?? and new economic relations of exchange(Laski,1936, pp.644-45). Benhabib (1987,pp.ll58-l58), for example, argues that early capitalismdivided the premodern social structure into the economy, the polity, civil associations, and thedomestic-intimate sphere. Combined with the crumbling moral framework, these socioeconomic transformations emancipated morality from cosmology and its all encompassing79Weltanscbauung that had normatively limited man’s relation to nature (Ibid.).7° On themodern understanding that nature’s ultimate purposes were unknown, a philosophicalneutralisation of ‘her’ vitality was embarked upon. This was done primarily throughdetachment; from the emotional world, from the particulars of time and place, from the objectitself, between the subject as the knower and reality as the known (Bordo,1986,p.451), andbetween morality and a telos, with the subject’s privacy and autonomy defended by thescientific and philosophical spheres of free thought (Benhabib, l987,p.159).In Rules for the Direction of Mind, for instance, Descartes proposed a methoddesigned to provide certain knowledge of the nature of the universe. He believed that in orderto perceive what is simple and self-evident in the world, we are required to break downcomplex beliefs and experiences into their basic constitutive elements. To do this and toobtain incontrovertible knowledge, Descartes said we should limit our reason to that which,through the use of our rational powers, can be clearly known (Tuana,1993,pp.59-64). Implicitin this method were two assumptions, one which saw the logic of reason as mirroring thestructure of reality,71 and another that presumed clear and distinct ideas were a source oftruth about reality (Ibid.). Descartes based these assumptions on the existence of God, who,he posited, had structured the mind independently of the world. To ensure the objectivity ofreason, Descartes distinguished it as a source of certainty from the subjective faculties of sense70Francis Bacon’s narrator in The Masculine Birth of Time was hence able to euphoricallyforecast a new vision: “...what I purpose is to unite you with things themselves (that is,nature) in a chaste, holy and legal wedlock; and from this association you will secure anincrease beyond all the hopes and prayers of ordinary marriages, to wit, a blessed race ofHeroes and Supermen who will overcome the immeasurable helplessness and poverty of thehuman race,...” (quoted in Lloyd,1993,p.12).71Rorty (l979,p.9), for example, argues the seventeenth century ideal of a perfectlymirrored nature represented an attempted intellectual escape from history, culture and humanfinitude.80and imagination. In so doing he ignored, if indeed he had ever had the intention to see themas such, the body as a source of knowledge and the emotions as rational.There is, however, an instability or dark underside to this rationalist vision. Bordo(l986,p.440)claims that in the first two Meditations there is a sense “...of reality founded onuncertainty,...” and that Descartes never satisfactorily overcomes this except via his resortionto God. For instance, in volume one of the Meditations, Descartes wrote “...our continuedexistence is causally dependent on God, (and) God is required to provide continuity and unityto our inner lives as well” (quoted in Ibid.,p.442). Even Descartes’ critics were sceptical abouthis doubt, and the intellectual heirs of this tradition hence remain trapped in a ‘Cartesiananxiety’. That is to say, by neglecting the epistemological insecurity of the first twoMeditations, Descartes, Bordo argues, bequeathed to us an anxiety over the separation fromthe female universe of premodernity. Cartesian objectivism, therefore, is “...a defensiveresponse to that separation anxiety, an aggressive intellectual ‘flight from the feminine’... (thatleads to a) Cartesian re-birthing and re-imaging of knowledge and the world as masculine”(Ibid.,p.441).This re-birthing entailed a dynamic of reason-unreason which in turn draws upon amale-female dynamic (Rooney,1991). There are, Rooney (Ibid.,pp.90-91) suggests, fourcharacteristics to this dynamic: firstly, a male node aligned with reason, and a female nodewith unreason; secondly, when reason operates correctly then the male node is the locus ofactivity, and a ‘proper’ relation to the female node is established; thirdly, if there is a lapse inreason, or unreason surfaces, the female node may be said to be active; and fourthly, theactivity of reason almost always includes some form of denigration, domination or control ofthe female node. This thesis enables Rooney (Ibid.,p.98) to concur with Bordo (above):“Despite reason’s articulated stance of separation from emotion and imagination, it has81embedded itself in an emotional and imaginative substructure characterised largely by fear of,or aversion to, the ‘feminine”.Hegel’s political philosophy personifies the modern aversion to nature that reason isbelieved to require, and in so doing he provides an example of the early origins of a socialscience replacing traditional politics (Benhabib,1991). In its emergence from nature, Geisttransforms (or relegates) nature into a secondary world. The primary world is now comprisedof the human, historical world of tradition, institutions, laws and practices - of objective Geist.Through rational self-reflection, knowing and acting subjects labour upon and within theobjective Geist, the fruits of which are embodied in the arts, work, and philosophy, orabsolute Geist (Ibid.). Benhabib argues Hegel’s formulation relies upon a rationalist ontologywhich associates women with particularity, immediacy, naturalness, and substantiality, andmen with universality, mediacy, freedom, and subjectivity. We can find evidence for this inHegel’s (199l,p.2O6) discussion of the family in Elements of the Philosophy of Right, wherehe wrote: “The one [sex] is therefore spirituality which divides itself into personal self-sufficiency with beingfor itself and the knowledge and volition offree universality... . And theother is spirituality which maintains itself in unity as knowledge and volition of the substantialin the form of concrete individuality [Einzelheit] and feeling [Empfindung]. In its externalrelations, the former is powerful and active, the latter passive and subjective”. Unlike hispredecessors, however, Hegel does not explicitly locate these differences in nature, but in theVolksgeisr which, Benhabib (Ibid.,p.133) argues, was the monogamous sexual practice of theEuropean nuclear family in which the woman was confined to the private sphere.7272Benhabib (1991) cites several passages from Hegel which suggest he was aware of thecultural, as opposed to ‘natural’, conditioning of the sexes. In the Philosophy of WorldHistory, for instance, Hegel pondered the various bodily positions that have historically beenadopted whilst urinating; for example, a woman’s standing position in ancient Egypt, or her82The power of reason in what Rooney (above) called its ‘dynamic’ is in its ability toobjectify. Haslanger (1993) argues objectification takes place by an objectifier who posits eachobject with a nature, which allows him or her to be satisfied by the illusion of objectification.In the western philosophical tradition, for example, objectification involves three processes,and starts with the assumption that all objects have a nature. This nature then determineswhat is normal for the object, and its nature is further assumed to be essential to it. Hence,Haslanger (Ibid.,p.103) writes that “...in objectifying something one views it as having a naturewhich makes it desirable in the ways one desires it, and which enables it to satisfy that desire”.Men, for instance, view women as objects with a special nature, and whereas the reverse mayalso be true, the difference lies in the employment of reason as the method of objectification.That is, the supposed objective, neutral standpoint of the method of reason which is seen asindependent of the masculine biases of the objectifier.The illusion of successful objectification lies not so much in the obvious consequences,namely that women who have been forced to submit do in fact do so. Instead, “...the illusionis in, so to speak, the modality of such claims - women submit 1 nature” (Ibid.,pp.103-104).Harding (1979) has developed a similar theme in respect of the power and function of reason.She distinguishes empiricist theory - that which shows how the environment influences or setslimits on behaviour - from empiricist meta-theory, which discredits all empirical theories aboutsocial life except ones assuming the independence of the mind. In so doing empiricist metatheory restricts that which constitutes the environment, and what counts as scientificallyexplainable human action. There is, as a result, a bias towards perceptions which can only berevealed via empirical observation, and Harding argues this method gives a report about thesquat position in China (Ibid.,pp.130-131). Martin (1987) makes a related point about thecultural influences on a woman’s positioning whilst giving birth.83object of inquiry, the ‘me’, but not of the subject, the ‘I’, and his or her characteristics.Implicit within empiricist meta-theory, therefore, is the masculine stereotype who initiates andmaintains active investigation, and an explicit view of women as victims of environmentalstimuli. By assuming that mental life is restricted to the control of nature, women, whosemind is distinguished by its lack of autonomy and immersion in nature, are denied access tothe public realm. As a consequence, Harding is able to illustrate yet another social functionreason performs, namely the control of women based on their perceived inability to attain full,albeit masculine, personhood.84Chapter FourA feminist critique of the ontology ofliberalism and communitarianismOur task in chapter two was to show how the subject’s existential Angst hasmanifested itself in modernity in the shape of the public person and the private self. Usingthese ontological assumptions the politics of liberalism and communitarianism have sought torecapture meaning through autonomous and communal methods of being. In responding tothe need for meaning, therefore, both conceptions of politics that derive from theseassumptions have had to reconstruct a framework for affirmation. There is a striking analogybetween this project and Nietzsche’s understanding of our task in modernity.In Thus Spoke Zarathustra the prophetic announcement that ‘God is dead’ signifiesNietzsche’s rejection of Christian theism and the cosmological framework of order andmeaning that accompanied it (Nietzsche,1954,prologue,sec.2). Arguably, this corresponds withFoucault and Taylor’s theses of meaning for the subject in the Renaissance and classicalepistemes, and the age of belief, respectively. By spurning supernatural guidance Nietzsche(1954, p.285), in The Gay Science, argues we need to acquire the strength to live without Godand what was concomitant in the form of the imposed and extraneous morality of ‘Thoushalt’. We must, then, ...invent new tablets of what is good (and) become what we are - humanbeings who create themselves” (Ibid.,p.335).Liberalism and communitarianism have arguably been attempts at reconstructingmeaning - new tablets - though not always to the extent of rejecting the premodern framework85in its entirety. Indeed we might suggest both have evolved from this framework: liberalismas a continuation of the subject’s paranoia of its uncertain existence, which is enshrined in theright to one’s own conception of meaning in tandem with the obligation not to questionanother’s; and communitarianism as prolonging the idea of locating meaning in a commonwhole- tentatively in the appeal to a Zeitgeist, and sometimes more assertively by referenceto a Volksgeist.He is not me - the liberal subject and feminismThe liberal tradition portrayed in chapter two has, as one of its core values, aparticular vision of the subject which oscillates between two poles. On a more positive readingof the value of freedom and its benefits to society is Mill’s idea of individuality73while at theother extreme is Hobbes’ radical nominalism which reduces every complex whole to itssimplest components, and what Lukes has termed ‘methodological individualism’ (quoted inElshtain,1981, p.108). Both of these accounts have implicit within them the idea of separationfrom others, which can also be interpreted as being free of others. Being apart in this way hasan instrumental use too, as, being ‘...separate from you, my ends, my life, my path, my goals(become) necessarily my ownu (West,1992,p.571), and are thereby autonomously conceived.In his book The Poverty of Liberalism, R.P.Wolff contends that methodological731n On Liberty, Mill (199 l,p.63)wrote: “That mankind are not infallible; that their truths,for the most part, are only half-truths; that unity of opinion, unless regulating from the fullestand freest comparison of opposite opinions, is not desirable, and diversity not an evil, but agood, until mankind are much more capable than at present of recognising all sides of thetruth, are principles applicable to men’s modes of action, not less than to their opinions. . ..Itis desirable, in short, that in things which do not primarily concern others, individualityshould assert itself”.86individualism is the one factor that unifies the liberal tradition, as it attaches moral value tothe subject rather than the community, with each subject choosing his or her own moralsubjectivity (quoted in Porter,1991,p.123). Because private morals cannot be amalgamated, itthen becomes imperative that right has priority over the good, and hence the book’s titlewhich indicates liberalism’s lack of appreciation of the intersubjective dimensions of moralsubjectivity. It is this conception of the subject which is ahistorical, with people seen to havecertain essential characteristics which proceed from their species. Called ‘natural rights’, theyinclude being rational, having an ability to choose, and therefore being able to enter intocontracts and agreements (Frazer and Lacey,1993, ppA4-45). Further, in virtue of theirpersonality being transcendentally derived from species characteristics, this view of the subjectinvolves the negation of the body and its relevance to the moral and political realms.Hence, if subjects own and are not identified by their bodies, then gendercharacteristics like emotion or the sexual imperatives of nature, for example reproduction, areexcluded from moral and political consideration. Practically speaking, this entails the exclusionof women as bearers of certain characteristics. For instance, in conceptions of modern justicewomen have historically played a negative role - that of the juxtaposed other - as “...theiressential disorderliness, their enslavement to nature, their private and particularist inclinations,or their oedipal development, (are viewed as making them) incapable of developing a sense ofjustice” (Okin,1987, p.43). From these assumptions it is but a small jump to a situation wherethose with fewer biological contingencies, namely, men (relative to women), can preoccupythemselves with the mental gymnastics of reason, and the control of the culturalsuperstructure, especially if they have a guaranteed domestic base that supports them.Alternatively, accepting the person as constituted by both the body and mind raisesnumerous difficulties for modern political philosophy. For example, would Rawls’ original87position constitute an agreement as, rather than persons, there are only disembodiedindividuals who occupy this hypothetical construct? By assuming these individuals have thesame motivations from a position of choice, as well as the means to make these choicesthrough the use of reason to reach a reflective equilibrium, Rawls effectively imposes a specificconception of the person upon all subjects. Hence, if embodiment and gender are excludedfrom the original position then the choices Rawis says are made from it must, instead ofreflecting the preferences of all people, rather conform to a more specific group, that of white,middle-class men (Frazer and Lacey, l992,pp.53-55).74In addition, these men are assumed tobe heads of families whose “...sex is one of those morally irrelevant contingencies,...” and 0km(l987,pp.46-47) argues by neglecting to make the family a concern for justice Rawis actuallyendorses the traditional view of the head as a man.Another way of looking at the assumed gender neutrality of the original position isin its use as the starting point for reflection about a just society. It is thus assumed that peoplenot only choose options and elaborate their preferences non-contingently, but also have anunderstanding of them. In the real social world, however, people have bodies which allowthem only so many choices. These choices are, to exacerbate this bodily fact, historicallydetermined and comprehensible in the intellectual context in which they occur. Somewhatconservatively yet still relevant, Taylor in Hegel and Modern Society expresses reservationabout being free to reason in this ahistorical manner: “The self which has arrived at freedom74lnterestingly, Rawis’ account of the person as disembodied departs from that of Kant,who saw the body “...in its togetherness with the self (as constituting) the person” (Kant,Lectures on Ethics, quoted in Herman,1993,p.55). This presented Kant’s noumenally derivedconception of morality with several difficulties. In questions concerning sexuality, for example,sexual lust (in contrast to human love in the sanctity of marriage) “...is a degradation of humannature (the self); for as soon as a person becomes an Object of appetite for another, all motivesof moral relationship (between noumenal, transcendental selves) cease to function, because asan Object...a person becomes a thing and can be treated and used as such by every one” (Ibid.).88(as justice as fairness in our argument) by setting aside all external obstacles and impingementsis characterless, and hence without defined purpose” (quoted in Kymlicka,1990.p.208).Rawls has, to be sure, refined his position, but only in response to traditionalconcerns. The original position does, he argues (1980), assume a specific rather than universalconception of the subject who is neither transcendent nor prior to its ends. As such theoriginal position is political and not metaphysical (Rawls,1985), and the political or publicperson therein would , Rawls (1987) claims, emphasise the priority of just institutionsextrapolated from an ‘overlapping consensus’ to be found in real societies. Thus, the “...ideaof an overlapping consensus enables us to understand how a constitutional regime characterisedby the fact of pluralism might despite its deep divisions, achieve stability and social unity bythe public recognition of a reasonable political conception of justice” (Ibid.,p.2). There is,therefore, room for private persons to exist, and Rawls (l980,p.545) says they “...haveattachments and loves that (they) believe (they) would not, or could not, stand apartfrom (Indeed, people) regard it as unthinkable...to view themselves without certain religiousand philosophical convictions and commitments”.Despite these modifications there still exists within Rawls’ work and the liberaltradition generally a pervasive sense of the masculine. This is evident on two levels, namelythat of the subject’s personal development as the basis for a masculine specific conception ofmorality, and the way he employs reason as the determinant of being. Gilligan (1977) hasprovided one of the more influential criticisms of this lurking masculine moral subject posingas the universal within modern political philosophy, even if her suggested alternatives confusethe culturally constructed attributes of feminity with the biological givens of the female.Gilligan (Ibid.) starts by locating the traditional thesis of the psychologicalunderstanding of personal development in Piaget (1965), Erikson (1968), and Kohlberg and89Kramer (1969). They claim we proceed from theory to fact, defining, as Gilligan (Ibid.,p.481)says, “...both the self and the moral autonomously, that is, apart from the identification andconventions that had compromised the particulars of.. .childhood...”. Theorists interested in thepsychological development of the subject from Freud onwards have, Gilligan claims, beenprone to dismiss the differences in outcomes between females and males as indicative of theformer being at variance with the latter (norm).75 In contrast, Gilligan argues it is rather thetraits held up as feminine - tact, gentleness, tenderness, a need for security - and not the femaleherself, that have been synonymous with a deficient moral development. This, she argues, isproblematic insofar as given formal rights (and thus the option to exercise choice) women arebrought into conflict with the conventions of feminity which equate morality with self-sacrifice, not self-fulfilment (through choosing).We have then, from Gilligan’s description, a problem unique to the feminine subjectwho intuitively defines herself in relation to others. This intuitive definition of the self is abiological necessity drawn from the experiences of women during pregnancy, and Gilligan(Ibid.,p.515) claims it is due to the feminine subject developing in a relationship with an other.Hence, each transition in identity during pregnancy involves “...a critical reinterpretation ofthe moral conflict between selfishness and responsibility? (Ibid.). This understanding of femaledevelopment is drawn from empirical studies of women’s attitudes to pregnancy and abortion,and encapsulates two transitions.Initially, the woman reorientates herself away from what we might call basic existence75Freud, for example could not . . .evade the notion (though I hesitate to give it expression)that for women the level of what is ethically normal is different from what it is for men.Their superego is never so inexorable, so impersonal, so independent of its emotional originsas we require it to be in men” (Sigmund Freud,Some psychical consequences of the anatomicaldistinction between the sexes, quoted in Gilligan,1977:p.484).90to a level of individual survival, because the as yet undefined subject wishes to act upon anunwanted pregnancy, but she does not have the means. The feminine subject then moves froma position of selfishness, that is, have an abortion, to one of keeping the baby andresponsibility, which enhances the feeling of self-worth at the same time. The feminine personis now at the second level where goodness is seen as self-sacrifice- the baby’s life instead of themother’s well-being. A second transition then occurs from goodness to truth, or an assessmentof the morality of the action, that is, keeping the baby, in terms of the intentions andconsequences of the act. Finally, the feminine person reaches the third stage of the moralityof non-violence which allows her to evaluate herself vis-a-vis others, to claim the power tochoose, and to accept responsibility for the choices made (Ibid.,pp.492-509).Conversely for the male this problem of the other is overcome in his assertion ofabsolute freedom to reach what Hirschmann (1989) calls ‘reactive autonomy’. This is theprocess by which the male child leaves infancy and defines himself as not-mother. Freedomhence becomes associated for masculinity with being not-mother nor not-feminine. Later, thisfalse sense of freedom is reinforced socially in, for example, gender divisions in schools or vialanguage, thereby perpetuating the masculine sense of personhood as in opposition to themother. By extension, Hirschmann argues we arrive at theories like the social contract, whichis the cultural embodiment of the reaction against the mother.76Lyons (1983) lends support to this notion of gendered persons, arguing that when aperson defines itself in relationships to others, it does so in one of two ways. Either as aseparate-objective person who understands relationships as reciprocal and mediated by rulesof fairness, which are grounded in roles that come from duties of obligation and commitment.76Thjs account, however, is challenged by Sinopoli (1991) for its inadequate psychological,‘quasi-Freudian’ assumptions.91Or, alternatively, as a connected-subjective person where relationships are a response to othersin terms of their well-being, and are mediated by activities of care. This sense of care sustainsconnection in relationships that are grounded in interdependence, which in turn comes fromthe recognition of the interdependence between people themselves.Hobbes provides an example of how a reaction against the female acts as the basis forthe construction of society. Di Stefano (1983) makes this point, arguing that knowledge ismaterially situated in particular ways of life, and that it cannot be divorced from the historyand life of the knower. Hobbes is not, as Elshtain (l98l,pp.lO7-llO) contends, necessarilyrepresentative of Di Stefano’s view of knowledge generation, as he obtained knowledge of thesubject not from systematic, categorical exploration, or empirical observation, but via theacquisition of the right definition of names. Human reason is therefore purely instrumentaland is reduced to nothing but the reckoning about names (Ibid.). Di Stefano’s thesis, however,remains valid if we remember Ruth’s (1979) point that it has always been men who have donethe naming of things; in addition, reckoning is legitimised because it is arrived at via reason,and not some other form of epistemology.Bearing in mind that Hobbes could not escape from the contingencies of his day, hismethod as representative of a masculinist ideology can only be understood by looking at thesubtext behind his empiricism. This, Di Stefano argues, is a subtext of masculinity as indicativeof a turn away from the mother. The rejection of the mother occurs in the context ofpatriarchy, that is, the male’s attempt to overthrow the female’s control of reproduction.77For example, Hobbes presents us with a view of the passions where desire and motivation are77Pateman (1991) criticises this understanding of patriarchy. It is not a question of thefather’s right over the mother, but rather of the precontractual . . .right of sexual access towomen, which, in its major institutional form in modern society, is exercised as conjugalright” (Ibid.,p.56).92self-originating and self-contained, and derived from a person’s will asocially. Based on thisaccount of human nature, Hobbes is able to offer us a state of chaos and war, or the optionof civil society which preserves the person’s a priori characteristics (Ibid.,1983). In effectHobbes, by strictly differentiating the subject from others, and by conceiving identity inisolationist terms, confirms the factors that are materially grounded in the experiential processof securing a masculine identity by means of a struggle against a maternal female. Thisdemonstrates, Di Stefano (Ibid.,p.637) says, that the “...masculine dimension of Hobbes’satomistic egoism is powerfully underscored in his state of nature, which is effectively built onthe foundations of denied maternity”.Elsewhere, Gilligan (1982) has elaborated a moral framework reliant on the ontologicaldifferences between the genders, and talks about the contextual development of the feminineversus the abstract thought patterns of the masculine. These differences are biologically andsocially accounted for, as boys develop “...a self defined through separation,...a self measuredagainst an abstract ideal of perfection,...” in contrast to a girl’s “...self delineated throughconnection,...a self assessed through particular activities of care” (Ibid.,p.35). As a consequencewe have a masculine ethic of justice of objective, rational principles, and a feminine ethic ofcare of the personal and immediate within responsibility.7Gilligan argues this dichotomy,most notably the masculine ethic of justice, is personified in the social sciences which pridethemselves on being a detached, analytic discipline.There are, however, several problems involved with these psycho-cultural conceptionsof the subject, and the implications that flow from him or her. Greeno and Maccoby(l986,p.3l5) argue Gilligan’s research is flawed, especially in the light of recent reports which78A similar line of argument can be found in Harding (1983).93reveal gender attitudes to reasoning as more related to education than biology, and hence we“.need to know whether what is being said is distinctively female, or simply human”.Z.H.Eisenstein (l984.,pp.2l7-2l9) counters Gilligan’s thesis about the social sciences, saying thatif they do in fact represent the masculine then Gilligan is no more justified in seeking toreplace this (detached, analytic) paradigm with her new, post-liberal concept of a social scienceof care, as each is to be understood contextually and thus as no more legitimate than the other.Finally, Farganis (l986,pp.157-l58) sees implicit in Gilligan’s argument - women as embodyingcertain values- the intimation that women can offer liberal society something it desperatelyneeds, and in so doing it becomes an agenda of ahistoricity on the one hand, and aperpetuation of the feminine stereotype on the other.The view of the personal development of the masculine person just discussed, togetherwith its moral framework of masculine assumptions, is manifested somewhat morehegemonically in society in the form of rationalist accounts of morality. Ben-Zeev (1982)suggests that many moral theories posit as their basic unit the rational agent and, as ‘rationaltheories of morality’, they assume rationality to be a status-attribute. This, Ben-Zeev argues,is something we have in virtue of the fulfilment of some basic yet necessary conditions, likespecies characteristics, in contrast to attainment-attributes which are gained by achievementand the continued affirmation of it thereafter. Whilst Ben-Zeev is reluctant to describerationality as a status-attribute - as liberalism does - and critiques those theories which assumeit is, his argument highlights how, in our context, moral rationalism appropriates certaincharacteristics as universal.The latter phrase, ‘moral rationalism’, is used by Blum (1982). He sees as one of thetasks of moral philosophy an articulation of the qualities of character or virtues a morallygood person should have. Central to moral rationalism are the characteristics of reason and94rationality. The person who displays these is, Blum argues, identifiable by the definingqualities of self-control, a strength of will, consistency, the adherence to duty and obligation,and a motivation from universal principles. In the event of these defining qualities beingabsent, the person becomes defined as an other, and shows the amoral qualities of sympathy,compassion, kindness, a caring for others, a human concern and an emotional responsiveness.Historically, these characteristics have been constitutive of the masculine and femininerespectively, and Blum cites Hegel and Kant as moral rationalists who have emphasised thesegender differences as a way of perpetuating a masculine oriented view of social reality.Kant has been described by Baier (l’9’93,p.5O) as “...the modern moral philosopherfeminists find most objectionable”. He argued that for actions to be counted as moral, theyneed to be motivated by a universal law of morality. Morality is therefore in terms of one’sduty to the categorical imperative, and cannot originate in inclination because, even if it wereat this level to accord with one’s duty, one’s moral action must be divorced from thecontingencies of inclination to be universally applicable. On Kant’s understanding moralpersons must be distanced from their emotions and desires; in fact, Blum goes so far as tosuggest Kant thought they were insignificant, and a hindrance to a moral agent seeking clearthought, knowledge of right and wrong, and a consistent, principled mode of conduct. Insetting these stringent conditions, Kant sought a noumenal basis for motivation where eachperson would be moved not just by laws of nature, but by the laws of freedom too. Sedgwick(1990) claims this is necessary if we are to avoid morality becoming a chimera. Thus, if purereason is to have a practical use, then it must be as the issuer of laws that are determining formy phenomenal nature without themselves being laws of nature (Ibid.).Sedgwick (Ibid. ,p.62) anticipates the feminist aversion to Kant’s morality in recognisingthat the noumenal requirement of duty often conflicts with phenomenal inclination, yet she95writes that “...duty requires...something that can never be integrated into my nature as aphenomenal subject”. For those feminists who see an empirical (feminine) subject insubordination to a (masculine) noumenal one, Sedgwick (Ibid.,pp.63-64) queries whether it isin fact a question of subordination. Rather, she argues, it is a necessity that the particular needsand interests that define us as people submit to those of the community, of the will of all.Further, as we determine most of our actions intuitively, morality requires a reasoned basisto remind us to recognise ourselves as members of the human community. Apart from theobvious traditional concerns with this view - who defines the ‘will of all’?, who is to beexcluded from participation in it?, how is the ‘will’ determined? - Sedgwick does not, it mightbe argued, adequately address feminist concerns. She makes no mention, for instance, of thepolitical dichotomy of the private and public spheres moral rationalism depends upon, nor ofthe deliberate gender construction along noumenal-phenomenal distinctions.Elshtain (1974), for example, says the failure to get to the heart of gender inequalitylies in the inadequate analysis of the public-private split. She argues the public sphere, as therealm in which men have traditionally sought to realise moral goodness, is reliant upon apolitical private sphere of women. In the former, political debate between morally free personsoccurs whilst the latter is dominated by one standard of morality, that of the family. Awoman is thus unable to enter the public sphere other than as a private person, primarilybecause she does not possess the qualifications of political personhood. These qualificationsinclude, for example, rationality, responsibility, and the employment of judgement accordingto a known set of rules and standards (Ibid.,p.472). Men, on the other hand, are able todescend into the private realm at will, and Elshtain (Ibid.,p.462) characterises this dichotomyas separate but equal; that is, as occurring “...in some lofty realm beyond ordinary96understandings: meta-equality”.79As a consequence, Sedgwick and liberal feminism fail to seethat our “.. .ideas and ideals of maleness and femaleness have been formed within structures ofdominance- of superiority and inferiority, ‘norms’ and ‘difference’,.. .‘essential’ and the‘complementary’,...to the extent that the gender dichotomy has effectively become anexpression of value” (Lloyd, 1993,p.101).If, hypothetically, we were to accept moral rationalism as a plausible framework inwhich the modern, feminine person as the possessor of freedom could exist, she would stillface the explicit views of Kant and Hegel as problematic for her. In evaluating Kant and Hegelfrom a postmodern perspective we should be aware of the context in which they lived, of theirsearch for meaning, stability, order and peace, rather than simply applying an equallycontingent perception about what they may or may not have intended vis-a-vis women.Nonetheless, it is difficult to reconcile their conceptions of feminity with the contemporarymoral climate other than through excusing it as constrained and thus reflective of aneighteenth century patriarchal Zeitgeist.8°Hegel (1991) envisaged the third realm of Sittlichkeit, represented by the state, as at itsmaturest when Geist is actualised via reason in public institutions. The medium through whichreason actualises Geist is the masculine; through his participation in labour, civil society andpublic life, his self-consciousness develops and is expressed morally by the realisation ofautonomy, rationality and universality in human life. However, this masculine subject is79Although she does not retract this argument or its point, Elshtain (l986,p.4) qualifies thetone, saying it was expressed in a “...context in which feelings ran high and determination topeg those ‘responsible’ for the historic oppression of women was a first order theoretical andpolitical priority”.80A less sympathetic reading of Kant and Hegel might well argue they were not so muchconstrained by or reflective of this Zeitgeist, but rather supportive and thus indicative of it.97possible only for as long as we are prepared to accept Hegel’s position on women. That is tosay, a view which sees women’s nature as expressing the Sittlichkeit of the family, of animmediate and sensory consciousness immersed in love and unity with her offspring. In short,a woman’s place is determined by her primary virtue of familial piety. Hegel (199 l,pp.206-207)supports this view by drawing on the ideal Sophocles’ Antigone presents, where “...this quality(of familial pity)...is declared to be primarily the law of women,...as the law of the ancientgods and...as an eternal law of which no one knows whence it came,...”.The same problem of exclusion for women can be found in Kant. Arguing reason wasfor men only, Kant (1960), in Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and the Sublime,believed the genders had complementary natures in virtue of their faculties of understanding.Men, for example, have knowledge of general principles, of science, mathematics and thenature of the sublime, whereas “...the fair sex has just as much understanding as the male, butit is a beautiful understanding” (Ibid.,p.76). The subject of a woman’s understanding must thusbe that which pleases and adorns, and which charms, is docile in respect of, and obedient to,men. Kant (Ibid.,p.81) sees in this conception of women the embodiment of a “...beautifulvirtue... (where) women.. .avoid the wicked not because it is unright, but because it is ugly; andvirtuous actions mean to them such as are morally beautiful. Nothing of duty, nothing ofcompulsion, nothing of obligation”. This picture of the feminine subject, coupled with Hegel’s,is the backbone of moral rationalism. Central to its scheme of virtues are masculine qualitiesof character, and Blum (1982) points to the absence of a framework for the expression offeminine qualities. As a result, moral rationalism reflects a male-dominated society thateffectively sanctions masculine superiority.One way of understanding the enforcement of this sanction is to look upon reason asa form of coercion. Sandel (1982) defines what we have so far called ‘moral rationalism’ in98terms of its moral obligations. Because they are elaborated without any reference to a theoryof the good, Sandel (Ibid.,pp.14-16) therefore labels this political framework deontologicalliberalism.81 Within deontological theory there is assumed to be a neutral, moral point ofview due to the existence of what Young (1986a) says is an impartial, detached method ofreason. This interpretation of reason is not tantamount to seeing it as giving an account ofsomething, nor of it showing our motivations for acting. Instead, reason is a rationale whichreduces its objects to a common measure within a structure of universal laws. Citing Adorno’sNegative Dialectics, Young (Ibid.,p.384) describes this notion of reason as akin to a ‘logic ofidentity’, “...an unrelenting urge to think things together, in a unity, to formulate arepresentation of the whole, a totality”.The logic of identity constructs total systems that engulf the alterity of things withina unity of thought, and represents an attempt at control through the elimination ofuncertainty and unpredictability. Deontological liberalism, through reason, expresses the logicof identity by eliminating otherness in two ways. In its desire to see an irreducible specificityin all situations, impartial reason treats all situations according to the same rules. TakingKantian morality as one manifestation, Young (Ibid.,p.385) says the problem with it is the lackof opportunity “...for one’s feelings, interests, or inclinations to enter into the making ofmoral judgements”. Secondly, by appearing as impartial reason does not need to take intoaccount an other’s perspective. The ideal of universal citizenship, for example, is to extendequality to all. Young (1989), however, claims this ideal is blind to individual and group811t is debatable whether ‘pure’ deontology is actually possible. For example, Dworkin(1973) sees implicit within Rawis (as Sandel’s example of deontological liberalism) afundamental right to equal respect and consideration for people in the design of theinstitutions that govern them. Similarly, Scanlon (1973) sees a ‘deep’ theory of Rawis’ as thesocial ideal of the subject as an autonomous chooser.99differences because universality is so general that it can only characterise citizens by what itis believed they have in common, resulting in equality being no more than ‘sameness’. Despite,or perhaps because of, the logic of identity’s striving for a unity of thought, it ends up, Young(1986a) argues, faced with a dichotomy between the same and other, or masculine andfeminine.They are not us - communitarian frameworks and feminismIn an attempt to defend liberalism by exploring the weaknesses of those who criticiseit, Holmes (1989) refers to the haunted history and hidden intolerance of the permanentstructures that symbolise alternatives to it. Several authors, Holmes (Ibid.,pp.228-229) argues,“...invoke an indescribable community...” that is deliberately ahistorical to avoid an associationwith the anti-Semitic propaganda that attacked Jewish people as ‘uprooted’. Similarly, Herzog(1986) questions the false historical accounts of ‘republican revisionism’. He says they implyan uninterrupted tradition of civic republicanism that starts with Machiavelli, continues inseventeenth century England, and eventually comes to fruition in eighteenth century America.In addition, ‘republican revisionists’ are guilty of misinterpreting there icons, whetherthey be Maclntyre’s (1981) use of Aristotle, or Sandel’s (1984b) referral to Jefferson. Theseinconsistencies are important, and Herzog argues this is not only because they are highlycontentious claims, but because the past for communitarians is so central to the shaping of thepresent that an account of it must be accurate. Hence, as Holmes (1989,p.227) suggests,communities are “.. .stylized, even sanitized, genealog(ies) for their (the communitarians’)central ideas,...”. From the modern standpoint Holmes adopts, communitarians ignore certain100historical aspects like the association with militarism and fascism. From the feministperspective these views undoubtedly matter, yet central is the concern withcommunitarianism’s apparent indifference to the historical and by implication contemporaryplight of women. This indifference can be seen in the continued attempt by communitariansto retrieve traditions, values and communities that have historically denied politicalpersonhood to women, have denigrated the feminine as the ‘other’, and subordinated them totheir ‘natural’ roles, despite feminist evidence that suggests women were oppressed within thesestructures.Unlike Rawis’ consistent argument for justice as the primary value of publicinstitutions, communitarians advance several different values, and Gardbaum (1992) uses thesevalues to classify communitarianism into three categories. Firstly, there is antiatomismcommunitarianism which is a descriptive argument about the constitution of identity, with thecommunity being a causal factor in it.82 Secondly, Gardbaum talks of metaethicalcommunitarianism, where the source of value is located in the community rather than in justinstitutions. This second category is further divided into those theorists who reject modernity’smetanarratives,83 and those who argue that because universal values have no self-executingauthority, they require affirmation by the specific political community in question.84 Andthirdly, there are strong communitarians who advance a political claim about what is valuable,namely the particular community a theorist refers to, and on this basis Gardbaum talks of82Anitatomism communitarians include Raz (1986), Sandel (1984a), and Taylor (1985).831n particular, Habermas (1974) and Rorty (1983).84Examples of what we might call wavering postmodern communitarians includeOakeshott (1991) and Walzer (1983).101conservative,85 republican,86 and communistic87 communitarianism. Interestingly,Gardbaum argues that antiatomism and metaethical communitarianism are postmoderncritiques of modernity. This is insofar as they are radically sceptical about the rationality ofthe human subject, and in virtue of their rejection of foundationalist and universalisticarguments in favour of a discourse of ethics, hermeneutic understanding, and contextualism.It is only the strong communitarians, Gardbaum claims, who, by expressing an antimodernor premodern criticism, spurn liberal society.There has, historically, been a large degree of antagonism in modernity betweenliberals and communitarians. Starting with Hegel’s critique of Kant, it continued with SirJames Stephens’ scepticism about Mill’s conception of individuality, and resurfaced once againwhen Sir Patrick Devlin’s paternalistic tendencies provoked the criticism of H.L.A.Hart. Inresponse, liberals traditionally reject four features of the communitarian’s armoury. These are,Dworkin (1989) argues, the association of the community as a symbol of a political groupingwith a democratic majority, which often exercises the right to use the law to enforce its visionof ethical decency. This political grouping is given more substance by assuming each citizenhas a shared and distinct responsibility for others, so that political power may actually be usedto reform those whose defective practices threaten the community. A liberal thereforerepudiates this use of political power as indicative of paternalism, and Waldron (1989), forinstance, comes out strongly against a community’s entitlement to uphold and enforce its owndistinctive mores, norms and standards. Finally, by saying people require a community as a855ee, for example, Maclntyre (1988).86Compare Arendt (1958) and Bellah et al. (1985).87Sandel (1982) also falls into this category.102way of serving their needs and defining their existence, communitarians are forced to discardthe liberal notion of tolerance. This, they believe, undermines a community’s cohesion, anddraws an illegitimate distinction between the subject’s life and that of the community. At thislevel, liberals are essentially rejecting the community as an entity in its own right, orconversely, as having an independent and prior existence to that of the subject.From the feminist perspective, however, the liberal-communitarian debate personifiesthe masculine slant of political philosophy. In this respect feminism is outside of or externalto the discourse liberals and communitarians engage in. Indeed, it can be argued that these twoschools of thought have, of late, converged. Thus, Caney (1992) argues that of the three claimscommunitarians make against liberals, namely descriptive, normative and metaethical, theformer two are in fact accepted by liberals whilst the latter is untenable. Still otherscharacterise communitarians as being extremely vague and at times contradictory, yet they arewilling to accept the contribution of communitarianism and to envisage an eventual marriagebetween the opposing theories (Buchanan,1989). Or, because Sandel and Maclntyre areincapable of undermining liberal politics, Gutmann (1985) says their contributions insteadprovide a framework within which liberal justice may be improved upon. And at theontological level, Dworkin (1992) concedes the subject has a need to identify with, andunderstand itself as derivative from, the community, whilst Kymlicka (1989) asks whether thecommunal bonds and relationships existing between people must necessarily be political?Even Walzer (l990,p.2l) portrays liberalism and communitarianism as existing in asymbiotic relationship, and “...insofar as liberalism tends towards instability and dissociation,it requires periodic communitarian correction”. And for Taylor (1989b,p.163), “...misconstrualsoccur (between liberals and communitarians) because there has been widespread insensitivityto the difference between...two kinds of issue”. On the one hand, there are ontological issues103which are used as factors to account for social life, and on the other hand, advocacy issues thatillustrate the moral stand or policy one might adopt. At one level these two issues are distinctyet at another the ontology one proposes can form the background to the view one advocates.It is from this simultaneous distinctness and connection that the two camps of liberals andcommunitarians arise. Taylor suggests we move away from the view that taking ontologicalposition ‘A’, for example, subjects are socially constituted, necessarily commits us to advocateposition ‘B’, that is in this example, a community as a source of value.88 Only by scrappingthe portmanteau terms ‘liberal’ and ‘communitarian’ will we be able to synthesise the issues(Jbid.,p.163).For a feminist, therefore, the central issue of the above debate - what is the source ofjustice? - does not address nor engage with women. Wallach (1987), for instance, argues thatthe liberal-communitarian debate does not advance the political understanding of the causesof social justice, as the former is an attempt at adjudicating moral and political conflict whilstthe latter simply looks to the social practices of communities in building an understanding ofjustice. As a result, they fail to look into the structures of power and the limits placed onpublic discourse in political communities. Hence, we have seen, in the preceding section, thefailure of liberalism to engage with women at the ontological level. Communitarians, incontrast, share a not dissimilar view to feminism of a socially constituted subject. Yet, thecommunity that constitutes it has historically excluded, denigrated, and subordinated women,and continues today in the works of strong communitarians to be indifferent to women andtheir (our) concerns.88Therefore, a “.. .stand on the atomism-holism debate (the opposite poles of the ontologicalissue) can be combined with either stand on the individualist-collectivist question (the twoextremes of the advocacy issue)” (Taylor,1989b,p.163).104There is an uncanny resemblance, Fox-Genovese (1991) claims, between Tönnies’famous distinction between Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft, and the nineteenth centurydichotomy between the private-female and public-male spheres. The organic, traditionalrelationships in Gemeinscbaft included affectivity, particularism, tradition and family, whilstGesellschaft entailed the consequences of individualism, instrumentalism and contractarianism.Of concern to Tönnies was a Gesellschaft that displayed neutrality, universality, specificity andrationality (Ibid.,pp.32-35). Fox-Genovese is thus sceptical about theorists who talk of thevirtues of community, as they often ignore its foundations in legal and political relations ofsubordination and oppression.One of the core problems Fox-Genovese (Ibid.,pp.40-41) demonstrates with her thesisof the resemblance of Gemeinschaft-Gesellschaft to that of the private-public split, is the wayan important tendency in “...feminist theory has resolutely championed women’s rights asindividuals- their absolute right to break free of the legal and political domination ofcommunities”. Having broken free from Gemeinschaft , however, women have historically facedlittle protection or support within Gesellschaft, and this has sometimes led them to embracecommunities, even though they attack specific manifestations of them. Kittay and Meyer(l987,p.8), for instance, talk of the (liberal) justice perspective’s “...solid and well known canonof ethical doctrine,...” and how the (traditional) “...alternatives to a deductive, calculativeapproach to moral decision-making...’ have focused upon the concept of virtue rather thanjustice. Through her analogy Fox-Genovese is able to highlight the pitfalls of modern politicalphilosophy for feminists, and she does this by pointing to the similarities that exist across thephilosophical spectrum, namely institutional indifference to women.The problem for women (and other traditionally excluded groups), therefore, is thatin appealing to traditions and shared understandings, strong communitarians are incapable of105dealing with the effects of social domination. The nostalgia for old communities and theirtraditions includes those of the Canadian maritimes (Taylor,1985,pp.314-317), the Jeffersoniantown council (Sandel,1984b), or the Aristotelean polis (Maclntyre,1981,ch.11). The lattertheorist has in particular been criticised, and 0km (1989a) argues Maclntyre says we need toimmerse ourselves in tradition to achieve a sound reasoning about justice. Maclntyre initiallyrefers to the Homeric tradition, yet 0km is quick to illustrate how socially hierarchical it was,with those at home ignored. It was in this tradition, too, that a woman’s virtues were definedin opposition to a man’s, and she was expected to display beauty and fidelity. Also, becauseeach gender’s nature was seen as different, there was no possibility for public equality orfriendship either. Another tradition Maclntyre venerates is the Christian-AristoteleanWeltanschauung, where a teleological view of human nature advocated the good as therealisation of one’s true nature. Identity was thus a priori, and for women this meant fulfillingdomestic roles. In so doing, the political community ignored the role of the family as theprovider of citizens, and as the impediment to women of the pursuit of the good life. Thefamily was nonetheless an important part of the polis, but only insofar as it fitted into aninstitutional hierarchy that freed men from domestic and manual work, enabling them toengage in their nature’s desire of political and intellectual activity.0km (Ibid.,ch.3) therefore makes three critiques of Maclntyre. Like mostcontemporary political philosophers, his language is conducted for the most part from theperspective of ‘men and women’, but displays a false sense of gender neutrality. Whetherreferring to Athenian (male) citizens, or the Christian philosophers’ conception of Eve as toblame for Adam’s fall, Maclntyre ignores sex-difference as having been the fundamental anddetermining feature that has justified the subordination of women. Secondly, Maclntyre claimstraditions are best tested in the face of an epistemological crisis or challenge, and his failure106to acknowledge feminism in this respect simply illustrates for 0km (Ibid.,p.46) “...the extentto which ‘our’ theories and traditions are deeply infused with patriarchalism”. Finally,Maclntyre says we evaluate a tradition’s rationality and sense of justice historically byunderstanding its values contextually, and from within the tradition itself. The starting pointfor this evaluation will depend upon who you are and how you understand yourself, whichis an identity achieved by acknowledging which rival traditions best explain and account foryour identity. What tradition, 0km (Ibid.,p.72) demands, will give a woman an adequateidentity, particularly when communitarian “...contextually based theories, building on theprevailing ideologies of the male elites, lack moral force because their neglect of dominationleaves the rest of us deprived of a voice in the construction of morality”?The primary institution neglected in communitarian works is the family, and this isessentially Okin’s point above and elsewhere (Okin,1989b). It is an important omission too,as Engels (1984) was perceptive enough to realise over a century ago. The monogamous familywas, he argued, the first form of the institution of the family to be based on economic ratherthan natural conditions. In this sense the monogamous family was a victory of privateproperty over communal ownership, and the Greeks, for instance, frowned upon monogamyas a dutiful burden whose purpose was to propagate heirs for the male head of household(Ibid.,p.129). Two forms of oppression therefore arose in the transition to the monogamousfamily. In old, communal households of multiple couples and children, the woman’smanagement of the household was a public function on a par with the man’s procurement offood. With the rise of the patriarchal, monogamous family the woman’s status lost its public107character and became a private service (Ibid.,p.131).89Secondly, the monogamous family wasfounded upon masculine supremacy to ensure a heir for the father’s property; originally, infact, conjugal infidelity was allowed for the man and was enshrined in the Code Napoléan.Monogamy was thus essentially meant to apply to the woman, leading Engels (Ibid.,p.129) todescribe the monogamous family as “...the presence of young, beautiful slaves belongingunreservedly to the man,...”.Interestingly, Elshtain (1982) rejects radical feminism’s idea of the family as theperpetuator of capitalism, or as the realm in which women are subservient or imprisoned.Echoing several communitarians, she argues the family incorporates values that challengecorporate powers. Further, because it is based on a morality of the social compact andsustained by suasion, rather than a contract and coercion, it forms a locus where the ‘I’ isalways a ‘We’. Elshtain’s main concern is to avoid women simply disowning the tradition ofthe family as they inevitably end up being co-opted into the masculine, public realm. In thisrespect Elshtain personifies Fox-Genovese’s thesis, especially when she argues that the familyis a source of value, of rootedness, and non-instrumentalism. However, whilst Elshtain’sintention is valid- to upgrade the downtrodden feminine virtues- she seems to believe itpossible that the historical legacy of monogamous misogyny can simply be forgotten. Thislegacy, Sypnowich (1993) has shown, included conformism as a prerequisite for nurturance,the branding of women who challenged the familial community as subversives or outsiders,89We might understand the communal household and family as a literary device used byEngels to account for the first historic division of labour, that between men and women forthe production of children. Feminists do not yearn for a return to this presocietal construct,and perhaps their aversion to this hypothesis is due to women having belonged to all men ofthe community, in which case the monogamous family would have been a marginalimprovement in heralding the ownership of a woman by one man only! It is, therefore, thissecond aspect of domination, that is the monogamous family, that communitarians imply inseeking to retrieve traditions. See Gutmann (1985,esp. pp.318-319) regarding this last point.108and their discardment from the community on the supposition that they were traitors, whores,or witches. Elshtain is, unlike masculine traditionalists, at least explicit about the legacy of thefamily and the tradition of which it is a part, but for some the tradition is simply too badlytarnished.This tarnishing is most evident in the way the tradition invoked by communitarians,and which the family is a core part of, has excluded and oppressed women. It is this exclusion,Kymlicka (1990) suggests, that is consistently neglected in the works of those seduced by theromanticism of premodernity, where legitimacy came from the effective pursuit of shared ends.The institutions that realised these ends were more often than not specific about thequalifications for entry into them, and the only “.. .way in which legitimacy was ensuredamongst all members was to exclude some (usually women) from membership” (Ibid.,p.226).Kymlicka argues that communitarians like Sandel and Maclntyre believe it is possible to nowinclude those who were previously excluded. But in wanting to do this, they fail to realise thatexclusion had a purpose, namely, the ends pursued served only the interests of white,heterosexual men, and to now include women is tantamount to asking them to assume amasculine identity (Ibid.). It is because of the traditional specificity of these institutionalpractices that contemporary political structures are increasingly losing their legitimacy andexacerbating the marginalisation of previously excluded groups. As Kymlicka (Ibid.,p.227) says,“...just such a loss of legitimacy seems to be occurring among many elements of Americansociety - blacks, gays, single mothers, non-Christians - as the right wing tries to implement itsagenda on the Christian, patriarchal family”.In a similar vein Hirsch (1986) refers to relatively peripheral groups who arechallenging traditional constitutional theory in a bid to secure legal rights into the community.The problems they face, however, are confounded by the lack of an account of the conditions109necessary to create or maintain a community. This, Hirsch claims, is a deliberate ploy bycommunitarian theorists, because central to the creation of a community is its limited size andsocial differentiation, whilst to maintain it requires (a potentially indoctrinating) moraleducation and strong homogeneity. Hirsch (Ibid.,p.424) therefore writes that “...the longingfor community is a chimera - romantic, naive, and, in the end, illiberal and dangerous”.9°A partial attempt at reconciling feminism with the traditions and practices ofcommunitarianism has been made by Friedman (1989). Initially, she is cautious aboutcommunitarian philosophy, which is ‘...a perilous ally for feminist theory... because thefamilies, neighbourhoods and nations it praises have been based on social roles and structuresthat were oppressive to women (Ibid.,p.227). Friedman argues that three aspects ofcommunitarianism are particularly unacceptable to feminists. Most importantly, a metaphysicalconception of the subject is juxtaposed by communitarians with the liberal subject, and thelatter is rejected due to its failure to acknowledge the subject as social. Communitarians arenot, therefore, necessarily saying the autonomous, independent and separate liberal subject ismorally inferior, rather that it is inaccurate vis-a-vis the encumbered subject. For feminists,however, the liberal subject, because it is inaccurate, is morally inferior to the feminine subjectof connection, sociality, inclusion, care and nurturance. Communitarianism and itsmetaphysical subject thus become “. . .largely irrelevant to the array of normative tasks whichmany feminist thinkers have set for a conception of the self” (Ibid.,p.280). Additionally, thecommunities advocated are of no benefit to women. Whether the governmental communitythat constitutes our civic and national identities, or the local community based around the90Unfortunately Hirsch’s alternative of a liberal society, where membership is determinedby status-attributes like social and psychological identifications, or attainment-attributes suchas political citizenship, is an equally hostile tradition for women to adopt.110family and neighbourhood, they have historically made illegitimate moral claims on womenlinked to hierarchies of domination, and have been characterised by exclusion and oppression.Friedman does, nonetheless, say we should retain the communitarian insights about thecontribution of community and social relationships to self-identity. Where she differs from andseeks to improve on communitarian visions is in her belief that modern subjects have no apriori loyalties to any community. Further, she advocates communities of friendship and urbanrelationships based exclusively on voluntariness.To a large extent, communitarians simply change the spatial metaphor from height todepth in seeking a vantage point for value (Downing and Thigpen,1986). That is, unlikeliberals who ascend to some hypothetical, universal perspective, communitarians base theirprinciples of justice on values extrapolated from shared traditions and understandings.Friedman, it might argued, in associating membership of a community with voluntaryassociation, is inverting the spatial metaphor. By allowing subjects to hover above variouscommunities, she implies that they can then choose which ones to join. Apart from soundingdistinctly contractual, this type of modern community is, as Fox-Genovese (199l,pp.43-44)argues, no more than the illusion of personal commitment and non-market bonds - acommunity, in short, cannot be voluntary if it is to survive and flourish. Fox-Genovese makesa lucid analogy between marriage as traditionally enforced by communal, legal and religioussanctions, and modern contract marriage which is no longer permanently binding. Hence,modern love, and by analogy contract marriage and voluntary communities, provides “...thecomforting illusion of choice, loyalty, and perhaps even continuity - who dares any more tomention permanence?- to gloss over the fragility of the temporary alliance of interest of twoindividuals” (Ibid.,p.44).Explicit in Taylor (1989b) above, and implicitly with Fox-Genovese too, is the idea111that the liberal-communitarian debate exists within the same paradigm, that of modernpolitical philosophy. An appropriation of all or part of the values that underlie it must thusbe done carefully, as indeed Friedman has attempted to do. As we saw in the precedingsection, Young (1986a) is dissatisfied with liberalism because of the logic of identity’s totalisingeffects upon the subject. Similarly, Young (1986b) is sceptical about theorists who, dissatisfiedwith capitalist patriarchal society, evoke rather than articulate a sense of community as analternative. These theorists, Young (Ibid.,p.1) adds, are only united insofar as they “...share acritique of liberal individualist social ontology”. By applying the same technique or methodof critique to communitarians, Young illustrates how, in another sense, liberals andcommunitarians fall within the same paradigm.Young (Ibid.) is concerned with communitarianism’s metaphysics and it denial of thepotential for difference.91 This occurs because the ideal of community presupposes subjectswho are not only present to themselves, but who understand one another as they understandthemselves. A failure to understand another would therefore cause them to be excluded as another- as has historically been the case for women in their exclusion from politicalcommunities. Young, following Derrida, says a (language) sign signifies and has meaning byits place in the chain of signs and by differing from other signs. The sign is further understoodin virtue of having a multiplicity of meanings and directions of interpretation. A metaphysicsof presence which, Young argues, is characteristic of the ideal of community, therefore triesto detemporalise and despatialise this signifying process by inventing the illusion of purepresent meaning. This leads to the elimination of the sign’s referential point in the chain of91By grouping communitarians together like this Young herself is arguably guilty oftotalising them. See Gardbaum (1992) or Taylor (1989b) above who suggest communitarianscan not be simply grouped into one coherent ‘school’.112signs. The project of elimination is embarked upon by communitarian metaphysics whichconceives of the being and truth of things as lying outside of time and change. Liberalontologies and communitarian frameworks, therefore, are not acceptable for feminists as theyboth belong in what Young (Ibid.,p.6) calls the bourgeois patriarchal culture.Hekman (1992) restates the similarities existent within this debate of modern politicalphilosophy. She says communitarian critiques attempt no more than a synthesis between theindividualism of modernity and the values of community. By including freedom and equalityin their communities, ‘dialectical communitarians’92 reconcile the social subject with theabstract subject to acknowledge “...a concept of community in which individuality andcommonality are intertwined’ (Ibid.,p.1106). Still, this new dialectical subject is reliant uponthe existence of separate autonomous and communal spheres for affirmation, or a public-private dichotomy, and as such “. . .does nothing to alleviate the polarity of the terms or toforge a discourse that displaces that polarity” (Ibid.,p.1107). On the other hand, Hekmanargues ‘premodern communitarianism’93 does no better in simply reproducing patriarchaldiscourse. They may recognise the differences between and the essential contributions of eachgender, but in reality difference amounts to inferiority, not equality, and a woman’scontribution is in terms of reproduction and nurturance. Any attempt, therefore, atamalgamating these two brands of communitarianism will reveal little of benefit for women.Not even the more modern notion of dialectical communitarianism is acceptable to feminism,as it shares a strong affinity with fraternity. And fraternity, Hekman continues, indicates92’Dialectical communitarians’ bear a strong resemblance to Gardbaum’s ‘antiatomismcommunitarians’ above.93’Premodern communitarians’ are similar to the ‘strong communitarians’ of Gardbaumabove.113rational individuals bound together by their mutual search for autonomy and freedom; or, putanother way, brothers who sign a social contract whose aim is to secure sexual access towomen.Fraternity, therefore, might be seen as the dominant form of community that hasoppressed women. It has implicitly co-existed with and at times been overwhelmed by notionsof liberty and equality, but fraternity has played an important role of complementing theliberal public person. Existing within the liberal framework, the community of fraternity arisesfrom the social contract, which is a “...fraternal pact that constitutes civil society as apatriarchal or masculine order” (Pateman,1988,p.101). It provides for liberalism, Pateman(Ibid.,p. 103) argues, a more sociologically adequate account of the abstract subject; a sense ofmeaning, if you will, clung to out of desperation in the transformation from premodernity tomodernity. In fact, Pateman (1991) writes modernity is distinguished by patriarchy as fraternalright, from patriarchy as paternal authority in premodernity. Thus, the political authority ofkings in premodernity and the obedience of those they ruled was derived from a father’sfamilial rule over his son. Modernity as fraternity, however, arose when the socialcontractarians rejected the parallel between paternal and political rule by arguing that thefamilial and political realms are distinct (Pateman, 1988’pp.104-105). What underlies bothpaternal and fraternal patriarchal communities, though, is conjugal right. Hence, thecontractualists, in defeating the father-son dimension of patriarchy, simply perpetuated thesubordination of women by replacing it with the masculine dimension of patriarchy, that ofa husband’s rule over his wife. This feat, Pateman claims, was facilitated by the unanimity114within modern political philosophy concerning the naturalness of masculine supremacy.94As we have already seen in the discussion of liberalism and feminism above, the socialcontractors or political persons were men. They did not contract as fathers, however, as thisright was defeated by the contract theorists. Instead, they contracted as husbands on equalterms, as brothers, and it “...is no accident that fraternity appears historically hand in handwith liberty and equality, nor that it means exactly what it says: brotherhood” (Ibid.,p.109).Drawing on Freud and Filmer, Pateman (Ibid.,pp.112-115) argues sexual right originates withthe sons’ murder of the women-hoarding father. Thereafter, the sons agree to share the womenbetween themselves, initially in the shape of exogamy, and later in modernity in the form ofthe monogamous family.95 Alternatively, Adam’s right of domination over Eve is paternalright, or the right to demand sexual access to her body for the production of (male) heirs. Thecommunity of fraternity, Pateman concludes, cannot be a home for women as it rests uponthe sex right of the male and manifests in its laws everything women are seen to lack - rationaljustice. The dilemma for women, therefore, is whether they can accept these misogynistcommunities, from the institution of monogamous marriage, the traditional family orintercourse, to the romantic yearnings for ancient traditions of virtue and community.Politically, this dilemma relates to what Dworkin (l987,pp.123-l24) sees as the fundamentalquestion of feminism and freedom: “can an occupied people (women) - physically occupied94”The contract theorists’ aim was theoretical parricide, not the overthrow of the sexualright of men and husbands. Both sides (that is, the fraternal and paternal patriarchs) agreed,first, that women (wives), unlike sons, were born and remained naturally subject to men(husbands); and, second, that the right of men over women was not political”(Pateman,1988,p. 107).95Dworkin (1987) argues male sex right in modernity is not only limited to the family.Rather, it is exercised through intercourse generally, a situation where “. . .thrusting is persistentinvasion. She is opened up, split down the center. She is occupied - physically, internally inher privacy” (Ibid.,p.122).115inside, internally invaded- be free: can those with a metaphysically compromised privacy haveself-determination; can those without a biologically-based physical integrity have self-respect”?116ConclusionTo a large extent the thrust of the preceding discussion has been historical. Threeepochs were distinguished, premodernity, modernity, and postmodernity, and they wereexamined from two perspectives. Metaphorically, this was from the twin perspectives of belowand above, or through an evaluation of the ontological assumptions that provide thefoundations for a politico-moral framework. In premodernity, variously portrayed as theRenaissance episteme (Foucault) or the existential predicament of the fear of condemnation(Taylor), the subject was essentially related to and a part of others in virtue of belongingwithin a great chain of being (Benhabib). One’s meaning or purpose was divine, and thisconception of the subject found expression in Christian philosophy (Saint Augustine). Theshift to modernity that occurred between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries wascharacterised in a number of ways, including the analogy, with reference to the subject, of atraumatic, protracted re-birthing (Bordo), or as the discovery of ‘man’ in ‘his’ finitude(Foucault), or as the age of moral pluralism and receding moral horizons (Taylor), or thetriumph of subjective particularity (Hegel). Common to these accounts was the realisation that‘man’, in modernity, was alone and no longer obligated to a cosmological framework ofmeaning.As a reaction to this men, we might argue, engaged in a quest for meaning by assertingtheir newly claimed right to be free. The masculine subject based this claim initially on whatwere understood as natural distinctions between the sexes. The female was inherently andinescapably biological and to be identified by her bodily functions, a conception arrived at inpremodernity through a tradition starting with Aristotle and continuing in Saint Augustine117and Aquinas. The moderns, especially Descartes, Kant, Hegel and the liberal contractualists,elided this supposedly natural fact into the existential context of modernity. That is to say,faced with the pressing need to restore or reinvent meaningful politico-moral frameworks, theyseparated the natural-body-female, or the ‘feminine’, from the rational-mind-male, or the‘masculine’, and created institutions for the latter in the guise of a public person, whileconfining the former to the private. Hence, being has been associated with reason (raison asd’être) and non-being with biological contingency, or women (nature as not d’être). And it waswithin the public realm that liberal, Enlightenment values matured, allowing formally equaland free men to pursue their own particular meanings. Ontologically, therefore, the modernman’s purpose was the realisation of freedom. Conversely, the question of a framework wasaddressed insofar as it allowed freedom to flourish, and we have seen how this has beentypified as fraternal in character (Pateman and Hekman).Analytically, the person was the form of the subject used to justify modernity. Here,we followed the contractualist tradition which conceived of the person as asocial, independent,and as the possessor of reason. These characteristics corresponded to the opposite ofmodernity’s chaotic, malevolent virago (Bacon), nature, and through metaphor (Lloyd) andanalogy (Rooney), the ‘feminine’. The contractualists thus posited the masculine person inopposition to the feminine, and similarly meaning - as rational institutions - in contrast tonatural randomness. Although this liberal tradition has been dominant, the search for acommon rather than particualr form of meaning has always been prevalent. Communitarianshave oscillated in this search for wholeness between retrieving premodern traditions(Maclntyre and Sandel), and illucidating culturally specific and modern values (Rorty,Oakeshott and Taylor). In so doing, however, communitarianism does not seek to refute thesubject’s right to be particular (Friedman). Instead, it provides periodic correction (Sandel) to118a subject’s existential Angst - inevitable in view of ‘his’ premodern origins. As such, fraternityas the dominant form of community was suggested, and is arguably a logical soulmate toliberalism (Taylor, Gutmann, Dworkin and Walzer). Within this traditon of modern politicalphilosophy, therefore, is the masculine person who is the cornerstone of our publicinstitutions, as well as the masculine self who seeks to define himself in the privacy of theprivate sphere.Unfortunately, this conception of the subject and his concomitant framework ofpatriarchy is untenable. In particular, if western societies are to accord equal respect to allhuman beings (Taylor), never mind the more difficult issue of societal equality, then farreaching cultural and societal reform is needed. Far reaching, we might say, in virtue ofmodernity’s masculine project having been so thoroughly invidious to women. Examples ofthis which were discussed range from the disparities in our conceptions of birth and death(Held), or the denigration of women in even her apparently natural, familial role (0km), tothe sexual objectification of women (Rooney, Haslanger) and the invasion of her body forpolitical purposes (Engels, Pateman). Implicit in several accounts, too, was the intimation ofa lack of women’s awareness of their subtle oppression (MacKinnon), but which results in thepossibility of a reverse form of discrimination through the advocation of essentialist arguments(Gilligan, Irigaray).The question then arises of how to forge this transformation in socio-cultural andpolitico-moral attitudes and institutions. In this respect, feminists who desire this changeexperience a sense of intellectual purgatory. Having exposed the core ontological assumptionsof modernity as masculine specific, they have also brought into question the patriarchalframework he supports. Whether in premodernity or modernity, however, a universalontological theory, notwithstanding what we now see as having been its gender bias, always119formed the basis for a politico-moral framework. But today, in a postmodern Weltanschauung,the erection of a framework is, at best, seen as impossible due to moral subjectivity, and atworst, homogenising and oppressive. Nonetheless, women require a post-patriarchal frameworkto realise their freedom and our notion of equal respect, yet upon what conception of thesubject can it be constructed, if at all? Ontologically, therefore, feminism remains in themodern paradigm which seeks to posit some universal notion of subjecthood, while at the levelof a politico-moral framework, feminism tends towards postmodern ideas of moral andpolitical subjectivity. This ontological and politico-moral dilemma, therefore, is the realm -purgatory- in which we find the feminine subject caught between modernity andpostmodernity.120BibliographyAlford,C.F. (1991) The Self in Social Theory: A Psychoanalytic Account of Its Constructionin Plato, Hobbes, Locke, Rawls. and Rousseau. New Haven & London: YaleUniversity Press.Allen,P. 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