Less Noble Sex : Scientific, Religious, and Philosophical
Conceptions of Woman's Nature (Race, Gender, and
The Less Noble Sex provides a framework for understanding the persistence of the Western patriarchal view of woman as inferior. Tuana examines beliefs that were accepted a priori as evidence of women's inferiority and studies early theories of woman's nature to illustrate the way scientific literature, was influenced by -- and in turn affected -- religious and philosophical tenets.
"An important book for the educated general public as well as
for scholars in many disciplines. Highly recommended." -- Library Journal
"Students and researchers alike will welcome this carefully
argued volume that so clearly traces the dominant contours of
Western conceptions about women."
"Nancy Tuana's book is brilliant. In under two hundred pages
she presents a concise account of how women have been
perceived in relation to men in the Western world for the past
2,500 years." -- American Historical Review
"A wide-ranging discussion of conceptions of women in
science, philosophy and religion from ancient times to the late
nineteenth century, Tuana's book makes it devastatingly clear
how powerful and how deeply rooted was the Western idea of women as men's inferiors."
-- Women's Review of Books
" . . . an unusually readable account of the image of women
from the Greeks to the nineteenth century, wedded to a highly
interesting argument about the way religion and philosophy
affect the direction of the work of scientists, and how the work
of scientists is used by philosophers and clergy to give authority to the more abstract world of ideas."
-- Magill Book Reviews
here to learn more about this book
here for more books by Tuana
here for Feminism Books
here for Philosophy Books Index
From the Feminist Theory Website, this page
features a short bio written by Nancy Tuana, as well as a
bibliography of Tuana's work, including books, edited books, and articles.
Nancy Tuana is currently working on a book,
Philosophy of Science Studies investigating methodological and conceptual
changes in the philosophy of science from the 1950's to the current
period. This study traces the influence of social science perspectives,
including both sociology of science and cognitive sciences, upon the
practice of philosophy of science.
She is also working on developing an alternative to the current divide
between realist and social constructivist positions. Her arguments for an
interactionalist position can be found in her forthcoming article "Material
Her position categories of sex and gender are a third research focus. A
recent article on this topic is "Fleshing
Gender, Sexing the Body."
An Interactionalist Alternative to
Realism/Social Constructivism by Nancy Tuana.
I locate my analysis in the midst of an ongoing debate, a debate where
even the terms are contested. Some refer to it as "Realism vs. Social
Constructivism," others refer to it as "Realism vs.
Anti-Realism." Although there is much at stake in this controversy, I
locate my interests around assumptions concerning material locations, for
I believe that this is a productive site for unraveling a serious
limitation in the way these debates are framed. It is my contention that
feminist work in epistemology and science studies has begun to identify
the need for a close and nuanced examination of the complexities of
materiality, including the cognitive impact of embodiment and the
relationships between human materiality and the materiality of the more
than human world. Our investigations are beginning to raise serious
concerns regarding the adequacy of the metaphysical assumptions of realist
positions. But our inquiries are also undermining the natural/ cultural
distinction posited or implied by social constructivist accounts...
By Nancy Tuana, forthcoming in Rethinking
Sex and Gender, ed. Tina Chanter, Cambridge.
I want to call attention to bodies -- fleshed, pulsating, volatile
bodies. Over a decade ago I argued that the distinction between sex and
gender was pernicious and advocated that feminists refuse its
polarization. Here I continue this argument and do so by focusing on
bodies. I believe that in embracing the distinction between sex and gender
we have inadvertently contributed to a problematic neglect of bodies in