Rampaging Rationalism. "Environmental Culture: The Ecological Crisis of Reason" by Val Plumwood. [review]
Val Plumwood, the author of a highly praised defence of eco-feminism, "Feminism and the Mastery of Nature", presents in this book a critique of 'rationalist culture' and explains why it harms nature as well as so many people. Plumwood’s criticism of rationalism centres on the thesis she advanced in her earlier book. From Plato onward, it has been regarded as rational to divide the world into polarised and homogeneous conceptual categories (reason/emotion, culture/nature, spirit/matter, masculine/feminine) and to regard things falling under the first term of these dichotomies as superior to those belonging to the second. This way of thinking, Plumwood argues, has given rationalists a licence to ignore the needs of beings deemed to be inferior - to dominate and exploit them for the sake of their 'superiors'. In particular, it has been used to justify the domination of nature and of women.