Philosophy and Social Criticism 35 (7):823-840 (2009)

Contemporary understandings of nature, or what is ‘natural’, are increasingly subject to debate in our bio-technological age. In this article, I argue that ideas about nature and biology bear a largely unacknowledged relation to normative ideas about sex in western science and philosophy. By examining the concepts of nature and sex in the writings of prominent 18th-century thinkers such as Kant, Rousseau, Burke and Linnaeus, I try to show that in response to the withdrawal, absence or ‘death’ of God that characterizes the Enlightenment worldview, the desire to control sexual expression emerges as a key feature of scientific, aesthetic and philosophical systems of knowledge. Moreover, this desire shapes the concept of nature in such a way that it becomes amenable to the specifically 19th-century figuration of modern biological science
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DOI 10.1177/0191453709106243
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A Philosophical Enquiry Into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful.Elmer H. Duncan - 1958 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 28 (1):113-113.
Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime.Price Charlson - 1960 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 20 (1):109-110.
Rousseau, Nature, and the Problem of the Good Life.Laurence D. Cooper - 1999 - Pennsylvania State University Press.
Beautiful and Sublime: Gender Totemism in the Constitution of Art.Paul Mattick - 1990 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 48 (4):293-303.

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