The Flight to Objectivity: Essays on Cartesianism and Culture

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SUNY Press, 1987 - Philosophy - 145 pages
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The Flight to Objectivity offers a new reading of Descartes' Meditations informed by cultural history, psychoanalytic and cognitive psychology, and feminist thought. It focuses not on Descartes' arguments as "timeless," culturally disembodied events, but on the psychological drama and imagery of the Meditations explored in the context of the historical instability of the seventeenth century and deep historical changes in the structure of human experience.

The study includes textual and cultural material that together comprise a gradually unfolding psychocultural reading of the Meditations. Descartes' famous doubt, and the ideal of objectivity which conquered that doubt, are considered as philosophical expressions of a cultural "drama of parturition" from the medieval universe, a process that generated new forms of experience, new cultural anxieties, and ultimately, new strategies for control and mastery of an utterly changed and alien world. Themes that figure prominently in recent literature on seventeenth-century philosophy and science-the birth of the mind as "mirror of nature," and the "masculine" nature of modern science, the "death of nature"-are explored with reference to Descartes as a pivotal figure in the birth of modernity.
 

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Susan Bordo's essay "Beauty (Re)discovers the Male Body" is a mainstay of the composition program I teach in, as well as my own teaching, so I was excited to finally get a chance to read something ... Read full review

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used this book as poin of your reference!ty

Contents

Introduction
1
The Pervasiveness of Cartesian Anxiety or Taking Cartesian Doubt Seriously
13
The Epistemological Insecurity of the Cartesian Era
33
The Emergence of Inwardness
45
Individuation and Locatedness A Cultural Drama of Parturition
59
Purification and Transcendence in Descartess Meditations
75
The Cartesian Masculinization of Thought and the SeventeenthCentury Flight From the Feminine
97
Notes
119
Bibliography
133
Index
141
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About the author (1987)

Susan R. Bordo is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Le Moyne College.

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