اسپینوزا، فیلسوف هلندی قرن هفدهم و کانت، قهرمان عصر روشنگری، در آثار خود در باب زنان و تفاوتشان با مردان بحث کرده اند. اسپینوزا در فقرات محدودی به بحث زنان و اختلاف جنسیتی مابین انسانها اشاره کرده است و بحث مستقلی در این زمینه ندارد ولی کانت ضمن آثاری مستقل ماحصل تفکراتش را در این زمینه بیان نموده است. مقالۀ حاضر بر آن بوده است که ضمن دستیابی به نگاه این دو متفکر دورۀ مدرن اروپا به زنان و جایگاه آن ها در جامعه به بررسی و مقایسۀ آرای آنها نیز بپردازد و وجوه تشابه و تفاوتشان را دریابد و به این نتیجه رسیده است که علیرغم تشابه نظرات این دو متفکر در این زمینه، فلسفۀ اسپینوزا دارای ویژگیای است که او را به عنوان منبع و حامیفلاسفۀ فمنیست نموده و از گزند انتقادات تندی که علیه کانت صورت گرفته است، مصون نگه داشته است.
تازه های تحقیق
Matter of women
One of the matters which has been neglected in the past centuries and just lately comes to attention is the status of women in the view of earlier philosophers. It is one of the issues have been dealt with by feminist philosophers. Feminist philosophers who have engaged in a project of re-reading and re-forming the philosophical canon has faced two unique difficulties. The first, the problem of exclusion of women from the history of philosophy. Feminist philosophers have faced a tradition that believes there are no women philosophers and, if there are any, they are unimportant. The absence of women from the history of philosophy, and the canon, is reflected and discussed in some philosophical writings today. Although men philosophers and the historians of philosophy omitted and neglected women philosophers, they thought and sometimes explained women's features and their status in the family and society in detail. Thus, the second difficulty has been brought up for feminist philosophers when they are re-reading the western philosophical tradition. It is the exclusion of everything that is feminine or associated with women by philosophy itself and its norms of reason and objectivity. Moreover, when they have dealt with the matter of characterizing women and explaining the features commonly considered feminine, they have talked negatively. Spinoza, Dutch philosopher of the seventeenth century, and Kant, the hero of enlightenment, have dealt with women and their differences with men in their works and of course, they have also talked somehow negatively. In a few places, Spinoza pointed out the matter of women and sexual differences between people. Among Spinoza's works, there is no work that talks about just this matter. However, in the case of Kant, there are some works on this matter: Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime and Anthropology from a pragmatic point of view for example.
Women in the view of Kant
In Anthropology, Kant has explained his views on the sexes and dedicated a section to describe the characteristics of the sexes. In that treatise, he has ascribed three features to women. First of all, women are described as naturally weak and fearful. The second characteristic ascribed to women by Kant is women's ability to manipulate men. The third feature is not explicitly mentioned by Kant but it may be inferred. In the Anthropology, he says, “the woman should dominate and the man should govern for inclination dominates, and understanding governs”. The third feature which seems important and fundamental for our discussion has been severely criticized by some feminist philosophers. Since Kant has explained that women act only on inclination, but men are capable of using their reason, feminists have considered it as violating the most fundamental principles of his ethical theory or excluding women from the category of “rational beings”. It is obvious that both of them are not acceptable. Moreover, women, like wage workers are considered passive citizens and obviously deprived of political rights as active citizens.
Women in the view of Spinoza
In his Political Treatise, Spinoza, like Kant, has deprived women of the right to vote as citizens. His first reason, like Kant’s, is based on the weakness of women. The weakness of women has been mentioned in his Theologico-political treatise and Ethics too. The second reason according to him is explained on the basis of men's emotions toward women. He held that men love women from mere lust and assess their ability and their wisdom by their beauty and also resent any favor which the women show to others. Thus, the equal political status of women and men according to him might damage peace. Despite women’s exclusion from political matters, in the fourth part of his Ethics, Spinoza has stressed the equality of women and men in the state of nature. Although this statement may make Spinoza free from the criticism of feminists, the philosophy of him, especially his theory of mind, has also had some features which have made his philosophy an important source and support for the feminist philosophers.
In the eleventh proposition in the second part of the Ethics, Spinoza has explained what makes the human mind is ideas. Indeed, the object of ideas that constitute the human mind is the body. Thus, to the extent that “a body is more capable than others of doing many things at once, or being acted on in many ways at once, so its mind is more capable than others of perceiving man things at once”. It means that the differences between human souls are the result of the differences between their bodies because some bodies have more interactions with other bodies and presumably minds of them perceive more things than others. As so far as perceiving more things increases the power and virtue of human beings according to Spinoza, it may be followed that women might have minds more perfect or as perfect as men if they have improved their interactions with others. Thus, some feminists have interpreted his views as a great source and support for their philosophy.
Spinoza and Kant have thought on women and extensively on their rights as citizens. Both of them deprived them of the right of voting. Although their views on political matters are somehow similar, their thoughts about men and women in the state of nature have an important difference. In the view of Kant, the difference between men and women is natural. He thought that women act only on inclination, but men are capable of using their reason. However, Spinoza has never talked about such a difference when explaining his theory of mind. He has considered women and men equal in the state of nature. Moreover, his theory of mind opens the way for women to improve their minds and reasons and make them more powerful and perfect, and thus acquire political status as men. As a result of those differences, feminists have severely criticized Kant but considered Spinoza as a great supporter of their philosophy.
- Bakhtiari, Fatemeh (2014), “feminist interpretation of Spinoza’s theory of mind”, Falsafeh, Vol. 41, issue 2. Winter and Spring, pages 47-64, https://jop.ut.ac.ir/article_50252.html.
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- Descartes (1985), Discourse on the Method, Translated by John Cottingham, Robert Stoothoff, and Dugald Murdoch, in: The Philosophical Writings of Descartes, Vol.1, Cambridge University Press.
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- Spinoza, Baruch. (2007). Theological-Political Treatise, translated by Michael Silverthorne and Jonathan Israel, edited by Jonathan Israel, Cambridge University Press.
عنوان مقاله [English]
Women Status According to Spinoza and Kant's Thought
Spinoza, Dutch philosopher of the seventeenth century, and Kant, the hero of enlightenment, have dealt with women and their differences with men in their works. In a few places, Spinoza pointed out the matter of women and the sexual difference between people. Among Spinoza's works, there is no work that talks about just this matter. However, in the case of Kant, there are some works on this matter. Dealing with the matter of women and their social states according to these European philosophers of modern time, this essay tried to find out the similarities and differences of their attitudes. Thus, it has resulted that although their similar attitudes on the case of women, Spinoza's philosophy has some features which have made it the source and supporter of feminist philosophers and saved it from severe criticism of feminists have been proposed against Kant.