Linda Simmons

University of New Hampshire



Mentor: Marc Herold, Associate Professor of Economic Development

Stalking the Evil that's been Giving Darkness a Bad Name or Economics as the Suppression of the Other

My research looks at the process of truth formation from the Medieval to Enlightenment eras. I highlight the 'model' of the Medieval era explicitly, in an effort to illuminate the proceeding struggles that were to culminate with the Enlightenment. I propose that the break with the Medieval female cosmos, necessitated a 'reaction-formation' in the earlier Enlightenment thinkers, that effected not only a complete denial of the 'mother' epistemology of the previous era, but also required that 'she' be mechanized, repressed and absolutely controlled. This is more clearly represented by Descartes and his nightmares which are the subject of his earlier Mediations . Descartes was able, through his particular form of genius, to make what at first was a desperate confrontation with the infinite cosmos, now turned indifferent and cold, into a requirement of truth itself. I explore this using cognitive psychology. Objectivity is thus born, through the 'womb' of mankind, now able to cognitively master the womb's processes by becoming one's own father, by replacing, in other words, the vulnerability to the 'mother.' This story is spun elaborately in my research.

Next, I go on to look critically at some major thinkers of the Enlightenment, ending with Kant. Throughout it is my purpose to illustrate the psychological 'separation anxiety' that was a response to the separation from the organic, nurturing and completely spiritually inhabited Medieval unity in which man's place was one of continuance and relational necessity. The final section of my research deals with questions of consequences, for the earth, ourselves, and woman particularly. Thereafter, I propose an alternative epistemology, outlining its' possibility.

My intentions for further research throughout my senior year, are to weave economics into the above scenario, critiquing it as a constructed discourse that exits to maintain the separation of personal responsibility and equity. To do so, I will review the prominent economic thinkers in the historic development of capitalism in an effort to expose the absolutisms upon which it rests.

« View 1993 McNair Scholars