Toward Postmodern-Feminist Rhetoric
[W]e should investigate ways of giving an identity to the sciences, to religions, and to political policies and of situating ourselves in relation to them as subjects in our own right.—Luce Irigaray, jetunous: Toward a Culture of DifferenceClearly, differentiation between strong and weak, powerful and powerless, has been a central defining aspect of gender globally, carrying with it the assumption that men should have greater authority than women, and should rule over them. As significant and important as this fact is, it should not obscure the reality that women can and do participate in politics of domination, as perpetrators as well as victims—that we dominate, that we are dominated.—bell hooks, Talking BackIn philosophy, a commitment to one or more of the following lays one open to the charge of scientism.
a. The sciences are more important than the arts for an understanding of the world in which we live, or, even, all we need to understand it. b. Only a scientific methodology is intellectually acceptable. Therefore, if the arts are to be a genuine part of human knowledge they must adopt it. c. Philosophical problems are scientific problems and should only be dealt with as such.
—Paul Noordhof, “Scientism”
Positivism. 1. A system of philosophy elaborated by Auguste Comte from 1830 onwards, which recognizes only positive facts and observable phenomena, with the objective relations of these and the laws that determine them, abandoning all inquiry into causes or ultimate origins, as belonging to the theological and metaphysical stages of thought, held to be now superseded.
In this chapter, I focus on obstacles to the development of postmodern-feminist perspectives within the field of rhetoric and composition, discuss a transitional commitment to transactionalism and interactionalism influenced by individuals such as Louise Rosenblatt that anticipated postmodern approaches to reading, writing, and teaching, and suggest that the field is now moving toward