ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Science Question in Post-Colonial Feminism

Science Question in Post-Colonial Feminism Gita Chadha MUCH as I am tempted to agree with Mira Nanda's proposition that reason needs to be affirmed "as an ally of all those struggling to break free from the margins which their natal cultures have consigned them to" and that "scientific rationality can serve to generate a critical stance toward the cultural discourses that constitute the self-identities of women living under traditional patriarchal arrangements in post-colonial societies" [Nanda 1996], it would be fruitful to critically examine and reconstitute some of the ideas contained within these statements, especially since Nanda mounts this defence of reason (used synonymously with scientific rationality, which synonymous use I think is a pedagogical error since reason is a more general term and scientific rationality a specific form of it) not only as the tool for a critical appraisal of traditional systems but also as a defence of Descartes and modern science, both of which have come under attack by critical theorists and by post-modem theorists. At the outset, it is essential to realise that the feminist critiques of rationality and modern science are not limited by the post-modernist attack on enlightenment reason as a category of transcendental and universal truth. This is not to deny the fact that the post-modernist turn in the philosophy of science, and in epistemology, have contributed significantly to the debate over developing the feminist relationship with science its craft, its metaphysics and its ideology. The debate, like the relationship, is a rough and passionate one.

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