Female consciousness and Thomism

Feminism could play an important role in bringing back the A-T understanding of nature. The main competitor to this view is a mechanist view- and the mechanist view of things is fundamentally and naturally male. The love of machines is so deeply and naturally ingrained in males that it’s even been observed in male monkeys. The exact findings of the trial are telling: monkeys were given mechanical and non-mechanical toys, and while the females played with all the toys indifferently, the males treated the non-mechanical toys as though they didn’t exist. My kids act exactly the same way: most of what enters my son’s consciousness is either a machine or related to it; my daughter plays with cars then puts them down and wanders off to something else. The female consciousness is more proportioned to the understanding of nature: it is not opposed to using mechanist conceptions of nature, but it is also not prone to treating the non-mechanical as though it did not exist.

Related to this, A-T could benefit from female consciousness in the philosophy of religion too. One of the dominant theories of the genesis of religion is the “agent detection” theory, which claims human beings are prone to attribute personal agency to phenomena. So far as this is seen as a critique, it is the critique of a bunch of men left alone in a room. Who else would say that, when we really get to the bottom of things, we will see that there are no personal interactions, but only mechanical ones?


  1. T. Chan said,

    March 30, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    Feminism could play an important role in bringing back the A-T understanding of nature.

    This seems rather dubious to me.

    I would point out that the observed difference between boys and girls is pre-rational; boys are more attracted to the manipulation of tools or animals or toys representing machines because of the masculine vocation and its use of power. Boys generally do not have an interest in imitating mothers caring for babies and so on. They ignore the “non-mechanical” because they have little interest in playing or doing that sort of thing.

    Also, I don’t see young boys having less of an interest in animals than young girls, and they seem to be aware that animals are not the same as machines.

    • March 31, 2010 at 7:37 am

      I wouldn’t object to calling it “pre-rational”, but its pre-rational because its innate or natural. It’s characteristically male to love things that interact mechanically even to the exclusion of things that do not do so. There are other characteristically male traits too, like loving women, but these do less to explain our fascination with mechanistic theories (not mechanistic as opposed to Quantum, but mechanistic as opposed to intentional or personal. It’s an odd sense of mechanistic, but it seems to be what is meant by it)

  2. March 31, 2010 at 5:51 am

    My son always talks about animals in terms of what they can do – can they scratch? Can they bite? Can they make rockets or sharks shoot out of their eyes? What can they do?

    One machine he is not in the least interested is the phone.

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