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Traditional accounts of the feminist history of philosophy have often viewed reason as associated with masculinity. Yet recent debates in deconstruction have shown that gender has never been a stable matter. This text is an exploration of this tension and asks what deconstruction has to offer feminist criticism and the history of philosophy. The first part of the book discusses the work of Judith Butler, Jacques Derrida, and contemporary French feminist philosophy. The second part considers and then challenges contemporary feminist interpretations of some key figures in the history of philosophy. Penelope Deutscher sketches how Rousseau, St. Augustine and Simone de Beauvoir have described gender and argues that their readings of gender are in fact empowered by gender's own contradiction and instability rather than limited by it.