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Longino, Helen. Circles of Reason: Some Feminist Reflections on Reason and Rationality
2005, Episteme, 2 (1): 79-88
Added by: Franci Mangraviti and Viviane Fairbank
Rationality and reason are topics so fraught for feminists that any useful reflection on them requires some prior exploration of the difficulties they have caused. One of those difficulties for feminists and, I suspect, for others in the margins of modernity, is the rhetoric of reason - the ways reason is bandied about as a qualification differentially bestowed on different types of person. Rhetorically, it functions in different ways depending on whether it is being denied or affirmed. In this paper, I want to explore these rhetorics of reason as they are considered in the work of two feminist philosophers. I shall draw on their work for some suggestions about how to think about rationality, and begin to use those suggestions to develop a constructive account that withstands the rhetorical temptations.

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