This volume brings together for the first time the highly influential essays, many of them classics, of one of the most prominent scholars in social philosophy and feminist theory. These essays provide a compelling view of many of the major trends in social theory over the past fifteen years-trends that Linda Nicholson herself helped to shape.The Play of Reason examines the legacies of modernity in contemporary political, social, and feminist thought and the unraveling of these legacies in postmodern times. Linda Nicholson first focuses on the tension in modern social theory between attempts to recognize change and diversity and struggles to capture such change in overarching frameworks of meaning and value. She illuminates the consequences of these conflicting tendencies in relation to Marxism, feminist theory, and classical liberal accounts of the family and the state. Nicholson then asks how theory and the resolution of difference are possible after such overarching frameworks are abandoned. She shows how a pragmatic understanding of theory answers widespread fears about relativism. The Play of Reason is a powerful demonstration of a politically engaged social theory.