As has been noted by Alvin Goldman, there are some very interesting similarities between his Veritistic Social Epistemology (VSE) and Sandra Harding's FeministStandpoint Theory (FST). In the present paper, it is argued that these similarities are so significant as to motivate an incorporation of FST into VSE, considering that (i) a substantial common ground can be found; (ii) the claims that go beyond this common ground are logically compatible; and (iii) the generality of VSE not only (...) does justice to the inclusive ambition of FST, but even solves a well-discussed problem for the latter. (shrink)
Sandra Harding's feministstandpointepistemology makes two claims. The thesis of epistemic privilege claims that unprivileged social positions are likely to generate perspectives that are “less partial and less distorted” than perspectives generated by other social positions. The situated knowledge thesis claims that all scientific knowledge is socially situated. The bias paradox is the tension between these two claims. Whereas the thesis of epistemic privilege relies on the assumption that a standard of impartiality enables one to judge (...) some perspectives as better than others, the situated knowledge thesis seems to undermine this assumption by suggesting that all knowledge is partial. I argue that a contextualist theory of epistemic justification provides a solution to the bias paradox. Moreover, contextualism enables me to give empirical content to the thesis of epistemic privilege, thereby making it into a testable hypothesis. (shrink)
Feminist philosophy of science has been criticized on several counts. On the one hand, it is claimed that it results in relativism of the worst sort since the political commitment to feminism is prima facie incompatible with scientific objectivity. On the other hand, when critics acknowledge that there may be some value in work that feminists have done, they comment that there is nothing particularly feminist about their accounts. I argue that both criticisms can be addressed through a (...) better understanding of the current work in feministepistemology. I offer an examination of standpoint theory as an illustration. Harding and Wylie have suggested ways in which the objectivity question can be addressed. These two accounts, together with a third approach, ‘model-based objectivity’, indicate there is a clear sense in which we can understand how standpoint theory both contributes to a better understanding of scientific knowledge and can provide a feministepistemology. (shrink)
In this paper I develop and support a feminist virtue epistemology and bring it into conversation with feminist contextual empiricism and feministstandpoint theory. The virtue theory I develop is centered on the virtue of epistemic trustworthiness, which foregrounds the social/political character of knowledge practices and products, and the differences between epistemic agencies that perpetuate, on the one hand, and displace, on the other hand, normative patterns of unjust epistemic discrimination. I argue that my view (...) answers important questions regarding epistemic agency which both contextual empiricism and standpoint theory leave open, but need to have answered. Feminist virtue epistemology thus emerges as providing an integrative framework for pluralism in feministepistemology that illuminated connections among theories through engagement with the lived experiences, aspirations, and epistemic work of feminist epistemic agents. (shrink)
Jean Hyppolite describes Hegel’s project in the Phenomenology of Spirit as “the development and formulation of natural consciousness and its progression to science, that is to say, to philosophic knowledge, to knowledge of the absolute” (Hyppolite 1974, 4). This development or progression is the “work of consciousness engaged in experience,” as phenomenal knowledge necessarily leads to absolute knowledge. Thus from the very nature of consciousness one is led toward the absolute, which is both substance as well as subject. This paper (...) will argue that Hegel’s account of the development of consciousness and its progression towards knowledge has certain commonalities with feminist philosophy of science. Frequently, feminist theorists cite Hegel specifically in reference to his discussion of the master/slave relationship, or his discussion of ethics, two sections of the Phenomenology of Spirit in which Hegel explicitly attempts to delineate a role or place for women. Many of these sections do have decidedly antifeminist implications, as has been correctly pointed out by many scholars. Especially in the section on Antigone, where Hegel ascribes the private sphere of life in the home to woman and the public sphere of life in the polis to man, Hegel is clearly unconcerned with the subordination of women, prescribing means of resistance, or finding alternatives to promote the removal of women’s oppression.1 Although Hegel’s political and moral theory does not reflect a feminist perspective, in this paper I will argue that Hegel’s theory of knowledge, the progress towards absolute knowledge described above, has much in common with recent feministepistemology and philosophy of science. A central implication of this conclusion is that feminist theorists would do well to regard Hegel not merely politically, as an example of another “dead white male” philosopher who participated in the oppression of women; but also epistemologically, as a possible ally in the creation of better theories of knowledge that will regard the experience of culturally situated subjects as important sources of knowledge.2 This conclusion will be argued in two ways. First, I will illustrate how Hegel reconceptualizes the relationship between subject and object, and subject and community, and the related notion of objectivity. This type of objectivity will be shown to be a variety of “dialectical objectivity,” following Allan Megill’s delineation of four senses of objectivity. This reading of Hegelian subject-object relations and objectivity will then be compared to Sandra Harding’s concept of “strong objectivity,” a very similar type of dialectical objectivity which stands as an excellent example of current feministepistemology and standpoint theory. From this similarity, it will be shown that Hegelian and feministepistemology have much more in common than previously thought. (shrink)
Abstract: This essay explores the relation between feministepistemology and the problem of philosophical skepticism. Even though feministepistemology has not typically focused on skepticism as a problem, I argue that a feminist contextualist epistemology may solve many of the difficulties facing recent contextualist responses to skepticism. Philosophical skepticism appears to succeed in casting doubt on the very possibility of knowledge by shifting our attention to abnormal contexts. I argue that this shift in context (...) constitutes an attempt to exercise unearned social and epistemic power and that it should be resisted on epistemic and pragmatic grounds. I conclude that skepticism is a problem that feminists can and should take up as they address the social aspects of traditional epistemological problems. (shrink)
This paper argues that AI follows classical versions of epistemology in assuming that the identity of the knowing subject is not important. In other words this serves to `delete the subject''. This disguises an implicit hierarchy of knowers involved in the representation of knowledge in AI which privileges the perspective of those who design and build the systems over alternative perspectives. The privileged position reflects Western, professional masculinity. Alternative perspectives, denied a voice, belong to less powerful groups including women. (...)Feministepistemology can be used to approach this from new directions, in particular, to show how women''s knowledge may be left out of consideration by AI''s focus on masculine subjects. The paper uncovers the tacitly assumed Western professional male subjects in two flagship AI systems, Cyc and Soar. (shrink)
This essay explores how the social location of white traitorous identities might be understood. I begin by examining some of the problematic implications of Sandra Harding's standpoint framework description of race traitors as 'becoming marginal.' I argue that the location of white traitors might be better understood in terms of their 'decentering the center.' I distinguish between 'privilege-cognizant' and 'privilege-evasive' white scripts. Drawing on the work of Marilyn Frye and Anne Braden, I offer an account of the contrasting perceptions (...) and behaviors of white who animate one type of script and those who struggle to forge the other type. I use Maria Lugones account of identity and notions of 'world travel' and 'loving perception' and Aristotle's virtue theory to explicate the ways whites, and white feminists in particular, might cultivate a traitorous character conducive to an antiracist politics. (shrink)
Feminist science criticism has mostly focused on the theories of the life sciences, while the few studies about gender and the physical sciences locate gender in the practice, and not in the theories, of these fields. Arguably, the reason for this asymmetry is that the conceptual and methodological tools developed by (feminist) science studies are not suited to analyze the hard sciences for gender-related values in their content. My central claim is that a conceptual, rather than an empirical, (...) analysis is needed; one should be looking for general metaphysical principles which serve as the conceptual foundation for the scientific theory, and which, in other contexts, constitute the philosophical foundations of a worldview that legitimates social inequalities. This position is not being advocated anywhere in the philosophy of science, but its elements are to be found in Helen Longino's theory of science, and in the social epistemology and ontology of Georg Lukács. (shrink)
This article examines the best contemporary arguments for a feministepistemology of scientific knowledge as found in recent works by S. Harding. I argue that no feministepistemology of science is worthy of the name, because such an epistemology fails to escape well-known vicissitudes of epistemic relativism. But feministepistemology merits attention from philosophers of science because it is part of a larger relativist turn in the social sciences and humanities that now aims (...) to extend its critique to science, and Harding's "standpoint feminism" is the best-developed case. She attempts to make new use of discredited philosophical ideas concerning underdetermination, Planck's Hypothesis, and the role of counterfactuals in historical studies of science. (shrink)
Feminist philosophy of science appears to present problems for the ideal of value-free science. These difficulties also challenge a traditional understanding of the objectivity of science. However, feminist philosophers of science have good reasons for desiring to retain some concept of objectivity. The present essay considers several recent and influential feminist approaches to the role of social and political values in science, with particular focus on feminist empiricism and feministstandpoint theory. The similarities and (...) difference, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of these approaches are explored. The essay concludes with suggestions for future research in the area of feministepistemology and philosophy of science. (shrink)
For over twenty years Nancy Hartsock has been a powerful voice in the effort to forge a feminism sophisticated and strong enough to make a difference in the real world of powerful political and economic forces. This volume collects her most important writings, offering her current thinking about this period in the development of feminist political economy and presenting an important new paper, “The FeministStandpoint Revisited.”Central themes recur throughout the volume: in particular, the relationships between theory (...) and activism, between feminism and Marxism, and between postmodernism and politics. Readers will appreciate Hartsock’s account of how so much of her theoretical work grew directly out of the demands of the activist life. The FeministStandpoint Revisited is an important record and a timely reevaluation of the development of feminist thought, as well as a contribution to current work. It will be a valuable resource for feminist theorists in a wide variety of disciplines. (shrink)
In the mid-1970s and early 1980s, several feminist theorists began developing alternatives to the traditional methods of scientific research. The result was a new theory, now recognized as Standpoint Theory, which caused heated debate and radically altered the way research is conducted. The FeministStandpoint Theory Reader is the first anthology to collect the most important essays on the subject as well as more recent works that bring the topic up-to-date. Leading feminist scholar and one (...) of the founders of Standpoint Theory, Sandra Harding brings together the a prestigious list of scholars--Dorothy Smith, Donna Haraway, Patricia Hill Collins, Nancy Hartsock and Hilary Rose--to not only showcase the most influential essays on the topic but to also highlight subsequent developments of these approaches from a wide variety of disciplines and intellectual and political positions. The Reader will be essential reading for feminist scholars. (shrink)
I address the problem of how to locate "traitorous" subjects, or those who belong to dominant groups yet resist the usual assumptions and practices of those groups. I argue that Sandra Harding's description of traitors as insiders, who "become marginal" is misleading. Crafting a distinction between "privilege-cognizant" and "privilege-evasive" white scripts, I offer an alternative account of race traitors as privilege-cognizant whites who refuse to animate expected whitely scripts, and who are unfaithful to worldviews whites are expected to hold.
In this paper I argue that the distinction between epistemic privilege and epistemic authority is an important one for feminist epistemologists who are sympathetic to feministstandpoint theory. I argue that, while the first concept is elusive, the second is really the important one for a successful feministstandpoint project.
The claim that theoretical foundations are historically contingent does not draw the same intensity of fire as it did one or especially two decades ago. The aftermath of debates on the political boundaries created by foundations allows for a deeper exploration of the foundations of feminist theory. This article re-examines the (anti)-Hegelian foundations of the feministstandpoint put forward by Nancy Hartsock and argues that the Hegelian subject of the early Phenomenology of Spirit resists gender codification in (...) its experience of ongoing rediscovery and fallibility in knowing. The subject against which the feminist self was constituted does not fit the masculinity thought to be natural. Hegel’s master-slave dialectic and phenomenological subject reveal contradictions that cannot be resolved by an opposing feministstandpoint, and may provide resources that resist the rigid gender categories upon which the standpoint depends. Key Words: abstract masculinity • feministstandpoint • feminist theory • foundations • Nancy Hartsock • Hegel • master-slave dialectic • subjectivity. (shrink)
Feministstandpoint theory posits feminism as a way of conceptualizing from the vantage point of women's lives. However, in current work on feministstandpoint the material links between lives and knowledges are often not explained. This essay argues that the radical marxist tradition standpoint theory draws on-specifically theories of ideology post-Althusser-offers a systemic mode of reading that can redress this problem and provide the resources to elaborate further feminism's oppositional practice and collective subject.
This essay is my contribution to two projects currently gaining the attention of feminist theorists. The first is the project of interpreting the work of Hannah Arendt. The second, of providing a secure foundation for the claim that there can be a distinctively feminist position either in political philosophy or more generally in any field of philosophy. I explore in depth candidates for the feministstandpoint developed by Nancy Hartsock and Nancy Fraser. I connect the two (...) projects, showing how feminists can learn from Hannah Arendt crucial lessons concerning speaking and thinking. It is thus in Arendt's work that I discover the missing element in recent attempts to ground the feministstandpoint. (shrink)
This collection is one of the first to offer feminist perspectives on epistemology from thinkers outside North America. It presents essays from an international group of contributors, including Rosi Braidotti, Gemma Corradi Fiumara, Anna Yeatman, Sabina Lovibond and Liz Stanley. Using approaches and methods from both analytic and continental philosophy, the contributors engage with questions of traditional epistemology and with issues raised by postmodernist critiques. The essays deal with the central question of difference: the difference which a (...)feminist perspective yields in relation to traditional knowledge and the effects on feminist perspectives of differences between women. This awareness of difference requires a re-evaluation of the idea of objectivity and the justification of knowledge claims in ways that focus attention on the subjects who constitute the knowledge producers. Knowing the Difference presents some of the most innovative thinking in feministepistemology and sets the agenda for the next decade. (shrink)
Although widely recognized as founder and key figure in the current re-emergence of pragmatism, Charles Peirce is rarely brought into contemporary dialogue. In this book, Kory Sorrell shows that Peirce has much to offer contemporary debate and deepens the value of Peirce’s view of representation in light of feministepistemology, philosophy of science, and cultural anthropology. Drawing also on William James and John Dewey, Sorrell identifies ways in which bias, authority, and purpose are ineluctable constituents of shared representation. (...) He nevertheless defends Peirce’s realistic account of representation, showing how the independently real world both constrains social representation and informs its content. Most importantly, Sorrell shows how members of a given community not only represent but transform a shared world—and how those practices of representation may, and should, be improved. (shrink)
In this paper, we examine some issues debated in mainstream epistemology for which the social features of knowledge are relevant, such as the epistemic relevance of social contexts, the nature of practical knowledge, and the epistemic role of testimony. In the first part of the paper, we show how feminist epistemologies have usefully stressed the social character of knowledge in many central areas of debate within mainstream epistemology. We call these the virtues of feministepistemology: (...) the denial of the neutrality and autonomy of the epistemic subject, the focus on practical knowledge, and the ensuing attention to the social dimensions of the epistemic process. Our conclusion on the social dimensions of knowledge is the thesis that the epistemic subject can know only in connection with others. In the second part of the paper, we address the issue of the plausibility of feminist epistemologies by discussing three main criticisms which have been raised against them. We conclude that, even if these criticisms are valid, the legacy of feminist epistemologies remains because the social features of knowledge are plausibly significant not only within but also without the perspectives of feminist epistemologies. (shrink)
More than one philosopher has expressed puzzlement at the very idea of feministepistemology. Metaphysics and epistemology, sometimes called the 'core' areas of philosophy, are supposed to be immune to questions of value and justice. Nevertheless, many philosophers have raised epistemological questions starting from feminist-motivated moral and political concerns. The field is burgeoning; a search of the Philosopher's Index reveals that although nothing was published before 1981 that was categorized as both feminist and epistemology, (...) soon after, the rate of publication in feministepistemology rose to between 15 and 25 articles per year.1 At the same time, social epistemology was also beginning to grow as a separate identifiable field of inquiry. (shrink)
In Science as Social Knowledge in 1990 and The Fate of Knowledge in 2002, Helen Longino develops an epistemological theory known as Critical Contextual Empiricism (CCE). Knowledge production, she argues, is an active, value-laden practice, evidence is context dependent and relies on background assumptions, and science is a social inquiry that, under certain conditions, produces social knowledge with contextual objectivity. While Longino’s work has been generally well-received, there have been a number of criticisms of CCE raised in the philosophical literature (...) in recent years. In this paper I outline the key elements of Longino’s theory and propose modifications to the four norms offered by the account. The version of CCE I defend, which draws on lessons learned by medical researchers in recent years, gives principles of epistemic diversity a central role and also provides greater specification of three of the four norms. Further, it offers additional resources for defending CCE against Alvin Goldman’s suggestion that there is a need for a “healthy dogmatism” in science, as well as a concern about “manufactured uncertainty” arising out of recent work by David Michaels. Finally, the modified version proposed here is also well positioned to respond (negatively) to a suggestion from Kristen Intemann that CCE needs to be adapted to incorporate a central insight from feministstandpoint theory. In light of the variety of social pressures influencing contemporary scientific research, and the role of science in shaping public policy, I argue that a rigorous social epistemology such as CCE is indispensable for understanding and assessing contemporary scientific practice. (shrink)
Identity politics deployed by lesbian feminists of color challenges the philosophy of the subject and white feminisms based on sisterhood, and in so doing opens a space where feminist coalition building is possible. I articulate connections between Gloria Anzaldúa's epistemological-political action tools of complex identity narration and mestiza form of intersubject, Nancy Hartsock's feminist materialist standpoint, and Seyla Benhabib's standpoint of intersubjectivity in relation to using feminist identity politics for feminist coalition politics.
Recent work in naturalised epistemology has focused almost exclusively on the intersection of cognitive psychology and theory of knowledge; work from sociolinguistics is just now beginning to gain ground. At the same time, feminist epistemologies have striven to articulate the precise paths of connectedness and relatedness that gynocentric theory standardly postulates as being characteristic of female ways of knowing. This paper attempts to articulate the intersection of sociolinguistically naturalised epistemology and feminist theory of knowledge. A model (...) of gynocentrically centred justification is presented, and it is concluded that the intersection of these areas is a rich and rewarding one. (shrink)
Feminist theorists have shown that knowledge is embodied in ways that make a difference in science. Intemann properly endorses feministstandpoint theory over Longino’s empiricism, insofar as the former better addresses embodiment. I argue that a pragmatist analysis further improves standpoint theory: Pragmatism avoids the radical subjectivity that otherwise leaves us unable to account for our ability to share scientific knowledge across bodies of different kinds; and it allows us to argue for the inclusion, not just (...) of the knowledge produced from marginalised bodies, but of the marginalised themselves. (shrink)
Sara Ruddick's contemporary philosophical account of mothering reconsiders the maternal arguments used in the women's peace movements of the earlier part of this century. The culmination of this project is her 1989 book, Maternal Thinking: Toward a Politics of Peace. Ruddick's project is ground-breaking work in both academic philosophy and feminist theory. -/- In this chapter, I first look at the relationship between the two basic components of Ruddick's argument in Maternal Thinking: the "practicalist conception of truth" (PCT) and (...)feministstandpoint theory (FST). I argue that Ruddick is never clear about the exact relation between the two components. These tensions point to a deeper problem in Ruddick's discussion of the critical power of maternal thinking. -/- The diversity of maternal practices presents a genuine challenge to Ruddick’s account. I argue that neither of the components she explores can adequately ground a feminist peace politics without first answering the question of who speaks for mothers. While I can suggest ways to make Ruddick's argument consistent, she still faces-despite her claims of universality- the deeper problem of reconciling her account of maternal practice with the genuine diversity of actual maternal practices. (shrink)
Over the past twenty-five years, numerous articles in Hypatia have clarified, revised, and defended increasingly more nuanced views of both feminist empiricism and standpoint feminism. Feminist empiricists have argued that scientific knowledge is contextual and socially situated (Longino 1990; Nelson 1990; Anderson 1995), and standpoint feminists have begun to endorse virtues of theory choice that have been traditionally empiricist (Wylie 2003). In fact, it is unclear whether substantive differences remain. I demonstrate that current versions of (...) class='Hi'>feminist empiricism and standpoint feminism now have much in common but that key differences remain. Specifically, they make competing claims about what is required for increasing scientific objectivity. They disagree about 1) the kind of diversity within scientific communities that is epistemically beneficial and 2) the role that ethical and political values can play. In these two respects, feminist empiricists have much to gain from the resources provided by standpoint theory. As a result, the views would be best merged into “feministstandpoint empiricism.”. (shrink)
Alexandra Shuford's book is primarily designed to address the following question: "What can Deweyan pragmatism contribute to a feminist empiricist epistemology?" (viii). Her answer is Dewey's conception of habit, and in her final chapter, she illustrates the utility of this conception by comparing what she labels the "medicalized" model of labor and birth to that employed by practitioners of midwifery. Before looking at Shuford's reading of this contrast more closely, however, it needs to be noted at the outset (...) that she also regards her constructive project to be one of "augmenting" or "extending" the efforts of Lynn Hankinson Nelson to formulate a feminist empiricism derived from Quine's naturalized epistemology. .. (shrink)
Feministepistemology and philosophy of science studies the ways in which gender does and ought to influence our conceptions of knowledge, the knowing subject, and practices of inquiry and justification. It identifies ways in which dominant conceptions and practices of knowledge attribution, acquisition, and justification systematically disadvantage women and other subordinated groups, and strives to reform these conceptions and practices so that they serve the interests of these groups. Various practitioners of feministepistemology and philosophy of (...) science argue that dominant knowledge practices disadvantage women by (1) excluding them from inquiry, (2) denying them epistemic authority, (3) denigrating their “feminine” cognitive styles and modes of knowledge, (4) producing theories of women that represent them as inferior, deviant, or significant only in the ways they serve male interests, (5) producing theories of social phenomena that render women's activities and interests, or gendered power relations, invisible, and (6) producing knowledge (science and technology) that is not useful for people in subordinate positions, or that reinforces gender and other social hierarchies. Feminist epistemologists trace these failures to flawed conceptions of knowledge, knowers, objectivity, and scientific methodology. They offer diverse accounts of how to overcome these failures. They also aim to (1) explain why the entry of women and feminist scholars into different academic disciplines, especially in biology and the social sciences, has generated new questions, theories, and methods, (2) show how gender has played a.. (shrink)
Feministepistemology has often been understood as the study of feminine "ways of knowing." But feministepistemology is better understood as the branch of naturalized, social epistemology that studies the various influences of norms and conceptions of gender and gendered interests and experiences on the production of knowledge. This understanding avoids dubious claims about feminine cognitive differences and enables feminist research in various disciplines to pose deep internal critiques of mainstream research.
This essay surveys twenty-five years of feministepistemology in the pages of Hypatia. Feminist contributions have addressed the affective dimensions of knowledge; the natures of justification, rationality, and the cognitive agent; and the nature of truth. They reflect thinking from both analytic and continental philosophical traditions and offer a rich tapestry of ideas from which to continue challenging tradition and forging analytical tools for the problems ahead.
The juxtaposition encompassed in the phrase "feministepistemology" strikes some feminist theorists and mainstream epistemologists as incongruous. To others, the phrase signals the view that epistemology and the philosophy of science are not what some of their practitioners and advocates have wanted or claimed them to be-but also are not "dead," as some of their critics proclaim. This essay explores the grounds for and implications of each view and recommends the second.
While most of healthcare research and practice fully endorses evidence-based healthcare, a minority view borrows popular themes from philosophy of science like underdetermination and value-ladenness to question the legitimacy of the evidence-based movement’s philosophical underpinnings. While the feminist origins go unacknowledged, those critics adopt a feminist reading of the “gap argument” to challenge the perceived objectivism of evidence-based practice. From there, the critics seem to despair over the “subjective elements” that values introduce to clinical reasoning, demonstrating that they (...) do not subscribe to feminist science studies’ normative program——where contextual values can enable good science and justified decisions. In this paper, I investigate why it is that the critics of evidence-based medicine adopt feminist science’s characterization of the problem but resist the productive solutions offered by those same theorists. I suggest that the common feminist empiricist appeal to idealized epistemic communities is impractical for those working within the current biomedical context and instead offer an alternate stream of feminist research into the empirical content of values (found in the work of Elizabeth Anderson and Sharyn Clough) as a more helpful recourse for facilitating the important task of legitimate and justified clinical decision-making. I use a case study on clinical decision-making to illustrate the fruitfulness of the latter feminist empiricist framework. -/- Keywords: Evidence; Underdetermination; Gap Argument; Value Judgments; Value-laden Inquiry; FeministEpistemology of Science; Evidence-based Medicine; Clinical Reasoning; Epistemic Communities. (shrink)
In this post-9/11 era marked by religious and ethnic conflicts and the rise of cultural intolerance, ambiguities arising from the conflation of multiculturalism, sexism, and religious fundamentalism jeopardize the delivery of culturally safe nursing care to non-Western populations. This new social reality requires nurses to develop a heightened awareness of health issues pertaining to racism and ethnocentrism to provide culturally safe care to non-Western immigrants or refugees. Through the lens of post-colonial feminism, this paper explores the challenge of providing culturally (...) safe nursing care in the context of the post-9/11 in Canadian healthcare settings. A critical appraisal of the literature demonstrates that post-colonial feminism, despite some limitations, remains a valuable theoretical perspective to apply in cultural nursing research and develop culturally safe nursing practice. Post-colonial feminism offers the analytical lens to understand how health, social and cultural context, race and gender intersect to impact on non-Western populations' health. However, an uncritical application of post-colonial feminism may not serve racialized men's and women's interests because of its essentialist risk. Post-colonial feminism must expand its epistemological assumptions to integrate Taylor's concept of identity and recognition and Bakhtin's concepts of dialogism and unfinalizability to explore non-Western populations' health issues and the context of nursing practice. This would strengthen the theoretical adequacy of post-colonial feminist approaches in unveiling the process of racialization that arises from the conflation of multiculturalism, sexism, and religious fundamentalism in Western healthcare settings. (shrink)
I understand feministepistemology to be epistemology put at the service of feminist politics. That is, a feministepistemology is dedicated to answering the many questions about knowledge that arise in the course of feminist efforts to understand and transform patriarchal structures, questions such as: Why have so many intellectual traditions denigrated the cognitive capacities of women? Are there gender differences in epistemic capacities or strategies, and what would be the implications for (...) class='Hi'>epistemology if there were? I argue here that such questions situate feministepistemology much more in mainstream epistemological discussion than probably most feminists would admit, finding that, at least for issues in these areas, the naturalistic approach to the study of knowledge advocated by W. V. Quine has been extremely useful. (shrink)
Feminist epistemologists who attempt to refigure epistemology must wrestle with a number of dualisms. This essay examines the ways Lorraine Code, Sandra Harding, and Susan Hekman reconceptualize the relationship between self/other, nature/culture, and subject/object as they struggle to reformulate objectivity and knowledge.
This article looks at the feminist activism of particular women in the ancestry of the eminent Canadian sociologist, Dorothy E. Smith, and at the archival data that confirm the traces of their influence found in her theory-building. Using the method of interpretative historical sociology and a conceptual framework drawn from Marx called the `productive forces', the article examines the feminist theology of her Quaker ancestor, Margaret Fell, and the militant suffrage activism of her mother and her grandmother, Dorothy (...) Foster Place and Lucy Ellison Abraham, respectively. The article argues that the household labour of the remarkable women in her family line became a `productive force' that facilitated her imagining of the feminist theory, `the standpoint of women'. (shrink)
Work on representing women's voices in ethics has produced a vision of moral understanding profoundly subversive of the traditional philosophical conception of moral knowledge. I explicate this alternative moral "epistemology," identify how it challenges the prevailing view, and indicate some of its resources for a liberatory feminist critique of philosophical ethics.
This essay proposes a possible direction for feministepistemology-an embodied rationality that defines the process of knowing as a dialogue with particulars or the "things themselves." On the grounds that modern reality is marked by abstract projects of homo mensura, I argue that the task of postmodernism is to ground cognition in the world by breaking the habit of looking at the world, as if from a distance, and by ceasing to think about the world as if it (...) were composed of a collection of objects-in-general. (shrink)
Many feminist epistemologists have been inclined to embrace socialized epistemology. There are, however, many different theses that go by that name. Sandra Harding, Lynn Hankinson Nelson, and Elizabeth Potter hold various of these theses, but their reasons for holding those theses, while they do support less ambitious theses, do not support the theses they are offered to support.
Lines of argument to support the notion that global bioethics can use work from feministepistemology are set out, and much of the support for such contentions comes from specific cases of ethical issues in indigenous cultures. Theorists such as Kuhse, Arizpe, Egnor and Bumiller are cited, and it is concluded that local feminist epistemologies often conflict with standard ethical views, but that the failure to incorporate feminist thought undercuts hopes to establish a viable bioethics on (...) an international scale. (shrink)
This article explores the epistemological and strategic issues facing feminists embarking upon narrative explorations into women's experiences. It considers the implications for feministepistemology of acknowledging women's participation in dominant ideologies about their social role. Focusing upon questions of women's agency, it asks how this `conforming knowledge' might complicate postmodernist feminist notions of resisting and reconstructing law's categorisation of `Woman'. It also represents an attempt to clarify, in advance of my own analysis of women's agency in abortion (...) decision-making, why postmodern feminists might talk to women – the `subjects' of law's constructive power. It seeks additionally to open a discussion among a wider audience of feminists about what we might do with the information uncovered through listening to women's own stories in an area pronounced upon authoritatively by a multitude of discourses. (shrink)
Surgery is an important part of contemporary health care, but currently much of surgery lacks a strong evidence base. Uptake of evidence-based medicine (EBM) methods within surgical research and among practitioners has been slow compared with other areas of medicine. Although this is often viewed as arising from practical and cultural barriers, it also reflects a lack of epistemic fit between EBM research methods and surgical practice. In this paper we discuss some epistemic challenges in surgery relating to this lack (...) of fit, and investigate how resources from feministepistemology can help to characterize them. We point to ways in which these epistemic challenges may be addressed by gathering and disseminating evidence about what works in surgery using methods that are contextual, pluralistic, and sensitive to hierarchies. (shrink)
In her elaboration of the distinction between connected knowing and separate knowing, Professor Clinchy addresses some conceptual relations that are central to Polanyi’s epistemology. I believe Polanyi would be happy to see the strong echoes ofhis thoughts in feministepistemology, and the feminists will find substantial support from Polanyi’s philosophy.