The feminist basis for discourse within epistemology and reason stems from, and later progresses the

understanding that knowledge is grounded and „situated‟ within language, in socio-historical settings in which „men have dominated‟ (Hekman, p.31). McDermott highlights that a dualistic dichotomy that woman is defined in as what a man is „not‟ (p.15, 1985). This parallels French writer and feminist Hélène Cixous who suggests that “thought has always work through opposition” and as language is the communicator of these oppositions, linguist Hekman observes that language (primarily English) acts a „regulator‟, cataloguing women as irrational in comparison to the rational male gender. Yet the feminist contribution to epistemology does not end with semiotics and language. Understanding that philosophical pursuit is based within the social and within power relations highlights the evident subordination of women through entrenched foundations of masculine traits. Anderson submits that there are six areas of a dominance perception arising from these foundations applied to women; including the denigration of learning styles, women presented as subservient, and the production of material and knowledge that is not beneficial to subordinated positions. It is surmised then that, with feminist philosophers looking to enter a male dominated field, they are faced with the limits of masculine semiotics and must search for new methods or angles of transcending them.
Anderson, E, 2012 "Feminist Epistemology and Philosophy of Science", in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Fall 2012 Ed, Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <> Cixous, H & Clement, C, 1986, The Newly Born Woman, trans. Wing, B, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis Hekman, S, „The Feminist Critique of Rationality‟, in Gender and Knowledge, Ch 2, pp. 30-47.

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