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Cognition and Eros: A Critique of the Kantian Paradigm Paperback – December 7, 2005

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Editorial Reviews


“In her interesting and provocative book, Robin May Schott focuses our attention on two central themes emerging from the context of an examination of sexual relations in which philosophy has operated. First, she asks the reader to wonder about the philosophical significance of the historical absence of women from philosophy, and, second, to consider the social implications of a philosophy constructed on this basis. Her conclusions are to see the suppression of the erotic theme of human existence from philosophical contemplation to be an expression of a philosophical response to morality; women have been viewed not only in terms of their life-giving sexuality, but also to embody the threat of death as well.”

Canadian Philosophical Reviews

“Schott’s book stands as a good introduction to sexism in Western thought.”

International Studies in Philosophy

“This fascinating book is an important contribution to the expanding literature that seeks to expose the ideological, often misogynist, biases that pervade the Western philosophical tradition.”

—Alison Jagger, University of Colorado

“A provocative inquiry into the role of intellectual asceticism in Western philosophy and its effects on the status and treatment of women. Schott’s aim, in my view, is not so much to undercut or jeopardize philosophy as to invite further reflection on unexamined premises of philosophical thought.”

—Fred Dallmayr, University of Notre Dame

“A masterpiece of scholarship and critical interpretation that questions some of the most fundamental assumptions of the Kantian paradigm. Her avowedly feminist approach is bolstered by the instruments of social history and puts Kant’s philosophy in a fresh and provocative perspective. A bold original work, it will be a landmark in Kant scholarship.”

—George Schrader, Yale University

About the Author

Robin May Schott is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Louisville.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Penn State University Press (December 7, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0271025549
  • ISBN-13: 978-0271025544
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,747,211 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This studied scholarly work puts some demands on the cerebral capacity of the reader. Robin May Schott accounts for the way in which female nature and the sensuous aspect of reality have been diabolized in historical culture and in the history of religion. It is quite interesting and gave me some new insights. Schott says that Immanuel Kant wants to achieve a knowledge that is "pure", untainted by the sensual and the bodily, something which Schott argues leads to a "fetishism of objectivity". Kant's fixation on the term "Pure" is evident from his writings. This goes back to Plato and further beyond. Plato said that pure thought is only achieved by cutting oneself off from all of the sensations of the body, which serve only to impede the soul's quest for truth among the otherworldly Forms. In this conception, the purity of truth stands in opposition to partaking in physical reality. The phenomenal world is systematically devalued in relation to the realm of pure thought.

Correspondingly, in Kant, the objects of knowledge are constituted by the pure forms of thought in conjunction with the pure forms of intuition, whereas the representation of the world is merely subjective, which implies a devaluation of physical reality and the bodily. Kant's systematic purification divests both the subject and the object of all immediate, sensuous, and qualitative features. The forms of human intuition and understanding become the incarnation of purity. It follows that the world becomes devoid of personal meaning and value. Schott says:

"[The] Kantian objectification of both subjects and objects is also a manifestation of the ascetic denial of sensuality.
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