To Val Plumwood, the treatment as inferior/as other of both women and nature is a link that grows from the rationalist conception
of human nature and also from the liberalist focus on the individual as most important.
To Plumwood, the very idea of a rationalist framework is negative because it juxtaposes two concepts that are never really
treated as equal. For example, instead of rational/emotional being two equals on a balance beam, the positioning of rational
makes it superior at least in the visual sense, and in practice, in the application sense. Our culture continues to value
the rational over the emotional and as masculine is usually identified with rational and feminine is usually identified with
emotional, to value the male over the female. To Plumwood, this it/other dualism gives priority to the first (superior item)
over the second (inferior) item.
The dualism also affects the concept of nature in the mind/body juxtaposition when mind equals intellect and body equals
nature and never are the two to meet. Here nature is other, and by definition, inferior to the mind. Think of the concept
of the term "tree huggers." They are presented as emotional and irrational, not as wise stewards of the land.
Plumwood also denigrates the liberals who focus on self-autonomy. This concept of self does not account for linkages to
others where the self is supreme and what is good for the one is most important. In this concept of liberalism as self-hood
and self actualization, self-actualization is actually achieved through subjugation of or dismissal of the needs of others
and of nature. Here nature is a resource, not an equal.
The concept of manifest destiny that allowed for conquering a land that was occupied but not "owned" is part
of this liberalism view of "let me control the land I own as I see fit." Opposite of this, but just as harmful to
the environment (nature) is the concept of imminent domain where the state is allowed to gain ownership of individual property
(usually land or water rights) if the state's ownership is for "the good of the many."
Plumwood's utopian vision of philosophy is a RELATIONAL view of self in which humans interact with each other as interdependent
and also recognize and respect the interdependence they have with nature. The best models for this recognition of interdependence
between humans and between humans and nature is found in native Americans, especially in the nomadic tribes such as the Lakota.