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It is fitting that he should approach his wife in honor, full of self-restraint and awe, and in his conversation with her, should use only the words of a right-minded man, suggesting only such acts as are themselves lawful and honorable. Aristotle's thought that a wife was best honored when she saw that her husband was faithful to her, and that he had no preference for another woman, but before all others loves, trusts her and holds her as his own. Aristotle wrote that in Sparta , the legislator wanted to make the whole city or country hardy and temperate, and that he carried out his intention in the case of the men, but he overlooked the women, who lived in every sort of intemperance and wealth.

He added that in those regimes in which the condition of the women was bad, half the city could be regarded as having no laws. Aristotle gave equal weight to women's happiness as he did to men's, and commented in his Rhetoric that a society cannot be happy unless women are happy too. In an article titled "Aristotle's Account of the Subjection of Women", Stauffer explains that Aristotle believed that in nature a common good came of the rule of a superior being.

But he does not indicate a common good for men being superior to women. Aristotle believed that rational reasoning is what made you superior over lesser beings in nature, yet still used the term meaning stronger, not more rational or intelligent.

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On children, he said, "And what could be more divine than this, or more desired by a man of sound mind, than to beget by a noble and honored wife children who shall be the most loyal supporters and discreet guardians of their parents in old age, and the preservers of the whole house? Rightly reared by father and mother, children will grow up virtuous, as those who have treated them piously and righteously deserve that they should Aristotle believed we all have a biological drive to procreate, to leave behind something to take the place and be similar to ourselves.

This then justifies the natural partnership between man and woman.

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And each person has one specific purpose because we are better at mastering one specific trait rather than being adequate at multiple. For Aristotle, women's purpose is to give birth to children. Aristotle stressed that man and woman work together to raise the children and that how they raise them has a huge influence over the kind of people they become and thus the kind of society or community that everyone lives in.

Aristotle appears to disagree with Plato on the topic whether women ought to be educated, as Plato says that they must be.


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Both of them, however, consider women to be inferior. Plato in Timaeus 90e claims that men who were cowards and were lazy throughout their life shall be reborn as women and in the Laws b , he offers his reasons why women should be educated: "Because you neglected this sex, you gradually lost control of a great many things which would be in a far better state today if they had been regulated by law.

A woman's natural potential for virtue is inferior to a man's, so she's proportionately a greater danger, perhaps even twice as great. Plato firmly believed in reincarnation and this was very important for the distinction he made between the nature of men and women. This was not the case for Aristotle, who saw the differences as biological.

Philosophy’s Western Bias

Plato discusses this matter with more detail in Timaeus , where he states that men have a superior soul than women 42a : "Humans have a twofold nature, the superior kind should be such as would from then on be called "man". He added, once again, that men who led bad lives shall be reborn as women 42b : "And if a person lived a good life throughout the due course of his time, he would at the end return to his dwelling place in his companion star, to live a life of happiness that agreed with his character.

But if he failed in this, he would be born a second time, now as a woman.


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  • Plato also appears to use the term "womanish" or "female-like" as an derogatory term implying inferiority and emotional instability, as this is clear from Republic d and e, amongst others. Aristotle's assumptions on female coldness influenced Galen and others for almost two thousand years until the sixteenth century. Joyce E. Salisbury argues that the Church Fathers , influenced by Aristotle's opinions, opposed the practice of independent female ascetism because it threatened to emancipate women from men. In his Sex and Character , written in , Otto Weininger explained that all people are composed of a mixture of the male and the female substance, and that these views are supported scientifically.

    Weininger cited Aristotle's views in the chapter "Male and Female Psychology" of his book. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

    Aristotle's views on women - Wikipedia

    Further information: Aristotle's biology and Telegony pregnancy. Main article: Women in ancient Sparta. Journal of the History of Philosophy. Retrieved 9 October Zalta, Edward N. Feminist History of Philosophy Spring ed. Europe is, literally, a peninsula of Eurasia, comparable roughly in size, cultural diversity and civilizational antiquity to the Indian subcontinent.


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    • Certain significant things happened first in Europe rather than elsewhere, such as industrialization; other important things first appeared outside of Europe, such as movable type. What Europe does claim is a certain tradition reaching back to Greek antiquity. But even that claim is in question. But nearly every subject taught in Western universities developed in large part out of the Western intellectual tradition, yet this legacy has not prevented any discipline other than philosophy from aspiring to an objective, global and, I dare say, scientific perspective on its object of study, free of the idea that the European instance of it is something special in the history of humanity.

      Philosophy is conceived on the model of the sciences, which are indeed free to ignore disproven theories from long ago, and thus to ignore not just, say, ancient China, but early modern Europe as well. In this respect the history of ancient Chinese philosophy is doubly peripheral, not just because of Eurocentrism, but also because of presentism, a lack of interest in history in general. This stems from the fact that philosophy, modeling itself after the sciences, believes it is closer to the truth than it was in the past, and that if a theory is not true there is little reason to spend much time on it.

      I will not argue against this view of philosophy here. But I will point out that it does make the current situation of philosophy, when considered from a global perspective, fairly difficult to comprehend. With philosophy, however, it is plainly a different story. In Iran, Islamic philosophy is given priority; in Turkey, at least until recently, there was scarcely any mention of local or regional traditions in the university philosophy curriculum, but only a fervent devotion to a vision of philosophy principally concerned with analysis of the language and methodology of science.

      Much of the difficulty of taking a rigorous and serious approach to the teaching and study of non-Western philosophy in Western philosophy departments is that many philosophers remain attached to the article of faith that philosophy is something independent of culture. Indeed, the past years reveal a fairly close correspondence between the global centers of economic activity and the centers of intellectual production.

      Most tellingly, Europe becomes the principle locus of philosophical and scientific activity only when it comes to dominate the global economy through the conquest of the New World and the consequent shifting of the economic center of the world from Asia to Europe. It is no secret that the center is shifting once again, this time toward the Pacific.

      A bit of historical perspective makes it easy to see that this shift will have consequences for our understanding of what philosophy is, and of who gets to define the set of questions with which it is concerned. The West has an extremely rich philosophical tradition — one of the two or three richest, in fact — and it is eminently worthy of preservation and transmission to future generations. But its richness has always been a result of its place as a node in a global network through which ideas and things are always flowing.