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The Female in Aristotle's BiologyReason or Rationalization$
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Robert Mayhew

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780226512006

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226512020.001.0001

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The Softer and Less Spirited Sex

The Softer and Less Spirited Sex

(p.92) Six The Softer and Less Spirited Sex
The Female in Aristotle's Biology
University of Chicago Press

This chapter focuses on Aristotle's claim that females are softer and less spirited, and also covers some of his other, derivative claims about female character traits. Aristotle is quite explicit that the study of reason and thought are outside the scope of biology. His claims about female cognition are connected to his claims about female character and, especially his view that females are softer and less spirited than males. According to Aristotle, females by their nature are less able to endure pain and hardships and to do without certain comforts than males. He maintains that girls have a stronger sexual drive and thus must be watched more carefully than boys, which fits perfectly his conception of their being softer than males. That Aristotle failed to explore the issues fully of females as softer and less spirited than males is strongly tainted by ideological presuppositions, despite being based, in many ways, on observation and various degrees of plausible reasoning.

Keywords:   Aristotle, softer, females, less spirited, males

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