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By Genevieve Lloyd

This new version of Genevieve Lloyd's vintage examine of the maleness of cause in philosophy encompasses a new creation and bibliographical essay assessing the book's position within the explosion of writing and gender given that 1984.

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The old conflicts between Reason and the transcended fertility mysteries are here subsumed in a treatment of Reason as itself generative. 1 will now look at three versions of this, presented by Philo, Augustine and Aquinas. All three attempted to harmonize Judaeo-Christian theology with Greek philosophy. Their use of male—female symbolism to describe Reason occurs in a context of interpretation of the Genesis stories of Eve's subsidiary creation out of Adam's side, her subordination to Adam, and her role as temptress in his fall.

Reason - whether applied to the art of persuasion, to other arts, or Desca rtes 's method 41 more narrowly to the investigations which are supposed to yield truth - was incorporated into method. Method was a reasoned way of pursuing an activity; and it was the grasp of this internal reason which was supposed to enable the activity to be taught. In Descartes's system, in contrast, method became not so much a reasoned way of proceeding - a path to be followed rationally - as a way of reasoning: a precisely ordered mode of abstract thinking.

Descartes's method In its Greek origins, the basic meaning of'method' was a road or path to be followed; and the metaphor of a path whose goal is understanding recurs throughout the entire philosophical tradition which grew from Greek thought. 2 The follower of true method is preserved from such blind wandering by understanding the reason for which things are done in a certain order. Descartes used the same metaphors. In expounding his 'rules for the direction of the mind', he attacked those truth-seekers who 'conduct their minds along unexplored routes, having no reason to hope for success, but merely being willing to risk the experiment of finding whether the truth they seek lies there'.

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