I offer an examination of trust relations in scientific inquiry as they seem to contrast with a lack of trust in an example of knowledge imposed from above by an unaccountable institutional power structure. On this basis I argue for a re-reading of John Hardwig's account of the place of trust in knowledge, and suggest that it translates less well than social epistemologists and others have assumed into a model for democratic epistemic practice.
In this essay I take issue with entrenched conceptions of individual autonomy for how they block understandings of the implications of rape in patriarchal cultures both 'at home' and in situations of armed conflict. I focus on human vulnerability as it manifests in sedimented assumptions about violence against women as endemic to male-female relations, thwarting possibilities of knowing the specific harms particular acts of rape enact well enough to render intelligible their far-reaching social-political-moral implications. Taking my point of departure from (...) Debra Bergoffen's call for 'a new epistemology of rape', I consider what such a call can amount to within an instituted social imaginary where male domination and female subordination are taken for granted—naturalized. (shrink)
How could ecological thinking animate an epistemology capable of addressing feminist, multicultural, and other post-colonial concerns? Starting from an epistemological approach implicit in Rachel Carson's scientific practice, Lorraine Code elaborates the creative, restructuring resources of ecology for a theory of knowledge. She critiques the instrumental rationality, abstract individualism, and exploitation of people and places that western epistemologies of mastery have legitimated, to propose a politics of epistemic location, sensitive to the interplay of particularity and diversity, and focused on responsible epistemic (...) practice. Drawing on ecological theory and practice, on naturalized epistemology, and on feminist and post-colonial theories, Code analyzes extended examples from developmental psychology, and from two "natural" institutions of knowledge production--medicine and law. These institutions lend themselves well to a reconfigured naturalism. They are, in practice, empirically-scientifically informed, specifically situated, and locally interpretive. With human subjects as their "objects" of knowledge, they invoke the responsibility requirements central to Code's larger project. This book discusses a wide range of literature in philosophy, social science, and ethico-political thought. Highly innovative, it will generate productive conversations in feminist theory, and in the ethics and politics of knowledge more broadly conceived. (shrink)
The thesis of this paper is, first, that ecological thinking—which takes its point of departure from specifically located, multifaceted analyses of knowledge production and circulation in diverse demographic and geographic locations—can generate more responsible knowings than the reductivism of the positivist post-Enlightenment legacy allows; and second, that ecological thinking can spark a revolution comparable to Kant’s Copernican revolution, which recentered western thought by moving “man” to the center of the philosophical-conceptual universe. Kantian philosophy was parochial in the conception of “man” (...) on which it turned: a recognition central to feminist, Marxist, post-colonial and critical race theory. It promoted a picture of a physical and human world centered on and subservient to a small class and race of men who were uniformly capable of achieving a narrowly-conceived standard of reason, citizenship, and morality. As humanism vied with theism in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, so ecological thinking vies with capitalism at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Here I outline its promise. (shrink)
Abstract Taking my point of entry from George Eliot's reference to ?the power of Ignorance?, I analyse some manifestations of that power as she portrays it in the life of a young woman of affluence, in her novel Daniel Deronda. Comparing and contrasting this kind of ignorance with James Mill's avowed ignorance of local tradition and custom in his History of British India, I consider how ignorance can foster immoral beliefs which, in turn, contribute to social-political arrangements of dominance and (...) subordination. Yet I ask, too, how judgements of culpability can be sustained when ignorance is culturally induced. (shrink)
: Naturalized moral epistemology eschews practices of assuming to know a priori the nature of situations and experiences that require moral deliberation. Thus it promises to close a gap between formal ethical theories and circumstances where people need guidelines for action. Yet according experience so central a place in inquiry risks "naturalizing" it, treating it as incontestable, separating its moral and political dimensions. This essay discusses these issues with reference to Margaret Walker's Moral understandings.
Naturalized moral epistemology eschews practices of assuming to know a priori the nature of situations and experiences that require moral deliberation. Thus it promises to close a gap between formal ethical theories and circumstances where people need guidelines for action. Yet according experience so central a place in inquiry risks "naturalizing" it, treating it as incontestable, separating its moral and political dimensions. This essay discusses these issues with reference to Margaret Walker's Moral understandings.
The path-breaking Encyclopedia of Feminist Theories is an accessible, multidisciplinary insight into the complex field of feminist thought. The Encyclopedia contains over 500 authoritative entries commissioned from an international team of contributors and includes clear, concise and provocative explanations of key themes and ideas. Each entry contains cross references and a bibliographic guide to further reading; over 50 biographical entries provide readers with a sense of how the theories they encounter have developed out of the lives and situations of their (...) authors. Areas covered: * traditional taxonomies of feminist theory (eg socialist thought) * theoretical subdivisions (eg ecofeminism and feminist spirituality) * discipline-specific issues (eg philosophy and anthropology) * the conceptual apparatus of gender theory (eg biologism) * methodologies (eg deconstruction and narrative theory) * intersections (eg with racial theory, queer theory) * political issues (eg citizenship, reproductive rights). (shrink)
Here I discuss some epistemological questions posed by projects of attempting to think globally, in light of the impossibility of affirming universal sameness. I illustrate one strategy for embarking on such a project, ecologically, in a reading of an essay by Chandra Talpade Mohanty. And I conclude by suggesting that the North/South border between Canada and the U.S.A. generates underacknowledged issues of cultural alterity.
I evaluate post-Quinean naturalized epistemology as a resource for postcolonial and feminist epistemology. I argue that naturalistic inquiry into material conditions and institutions of knowledge production has most to offer epistemologists committed to maintaining continuity with the knowledge production of specifically located knowers. Yet naturalistic denigrations of folk epistemic practices and stereotyped, hence often oppressive, readings of human nature challenge the naturalness of the nature they claim to study. I outline an ecologically modelled epistemology that focuses on questions of epistemic (...) responsibility and community, while refusing the reductivism of totalizing theory, and producing realistic moral-epistemic analyses of specific, local epistemic resources to ground its normative injunctions. (shrink)
The essays in Rhetorical Spaces grow out of Lorraine Code's ongoing commitment to engaging philosophical issues as they figure in people's everyday lives. The arguements in this book are informed at once by the moral-political implications of how knowledge is produced and circulated and by issues of gendered subjectivity. In their critical dimension, these lucid essays engage with the incapacity of the philosophical mainstream's dominant epistemologies to offer regulative principles that guide people in the epistemic projects that figure centrally in (...) their lives. In its constructive dimension, Rhetorical Spaces focuses on developing productive, case-by-case analyses of knowing other people in situations where social-political inequalities create asymmetrical patterns of epistemic power and privilege. Framing all of the essays is the conception of rhetorical spaces which shows that prevailing intellectual-political climates can work to enhance or to thwart possibilities of establishing cognitive authority for the members of a society who belong to groups other than the dominant ones. Finally, bridging the gap between theory and practice, Lorraine Code shows how the issue of reconfiguring structures of authority and expertise are not just matters of individual responsibility, but require a radical restructuring of the communities and social orders in which people know and act. (shrink)
In this paper I offer a retrospective rereading of my work on epistemic responsibility in order to see why this inquiry has found only an uneasy location within the discourse of Anglo-American epistemology. I trace the history of the work's production, circulation and reception, and examine the feminist implications of the discussions it has occasioned.