Notes: Of Tools and Toys

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1 - Two such examples are the chapters "The French Derrideans: Politicizing Deconstruction or Deconstucting the Political?"and "Michael Foucalt: A Young Conservative?" from Nancy Fraser's book Unruly Practices(1989). (Back to text)

2 - Feminists and postmodernists come to "recognize" difference via separate routes: while the former came down decolonization's road, learning difference from black and "third world women", the latter came down deconstruction's road, learning of it from dismantling of the humanist subject, performed by such philosophers as Heidegger, Derrida, Foucault and Lyotard. (Back to text)

3 - That is, theorizing must move closer to hypothesizing. I draw here on Owen Barfield's discussion of the almost lost distinction between the word "hypothesis" and the word "theory". A theory is a "proposition which is hoped may turn to be true", a hypothesis "a proposition the truth or untruth of which is irrelevant". Barfield writes : "The geometrical paths and movements devised for the planets were, in the minds of those who invented them, hypotheses in the latter sense. They were arguments -- devices -- for saving appearences; and the Greek and medieval astronomers were not at all distrubed by the fact that the same appearences could be saved by two or more quite different hypotheses... All that mattered was, which was the simplest and the most convenient for practical purposes; for neither of them had any essential part in truth or knowledge." (1965: 49) (Back to text)

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Jenny Cool jenny@cool.org
Copyright © 1993 Jenny Cool