I argue that naturalizing normativity?articulating norms that are appropriate given what we know about ourselves and the world?can be framed in terms of sustainability, calling for norms that underwrite practices of inquiry that make it more rather than less likely that others, especially those who are variously marginalized and subordinated, will be able to acquire knowledge in the future. The case for a sustainable epistemology, with a commitment to attending especially to those in positions of vulnerability, can be made, I (...) argue, as much on epistemic grounds as on grounds of social justice. (shrink)
This volume of essays by Naomi Scheman brings together her views on epistemic and socio-political issues, views that draw on a critical reading of Wittgenstein as well as on liberatory movements and theories, all in the service of a fundamental reorientation of epistemology. For some theorists, epistemology is an essentially foundationalist and hence discredited enterprise; for others-particularly analytic epistemologists--it remains rigorously segregated from political concerns. Scheman makes a compelling case for the necessity of thinking epistemologically in fundamentally altered ways. Arguing (...) that it is an illusion of privilege to think that we can do without usable articulations of concepts such as truth, reality, and objectivity, she maintains (as in the title of one of her essays) that epistemology needs to be "resuscitated" as an explicitly political endeavor, with trustworthiness at its heart. While each essay contributes to a specific conversation, taken together they argue for addressing theoretical questions as they arise concretely. Truth, reality, objectivity, and other concepts that problematically rest on shifting ground are more than philosophical toys, and the ground-shifting these essays enact is a move away from abstruse theorizing-analytic and post-structuralist alike. Following Wittgenstein's injunctions to just look, to attend to the "rough ground" of everyday practices, Scheman argues for finding philosophical insight in such acts of attention and in the difficulties that beset them. These essays are an attempt to grasp something in particular, to get a handle on a set of problems, and collectively they represent a fresh model of passionate philosophical engagement. (shrink)
Those masterful images because complete Grew in pure mind, but out of what began? A mound of refuse or the sweepings of a street, Old kettles, old bottles, and a broken can, Old iron, old bones, old rags, that raving slut Who keeps the till. Now that my ladder's gone, I must lie down where all the ladders start In the foul rag and bone shop of the heart.
Nicholson's political philosophy is distinctively grounded in history. The Play of Reason: From the Modern to the Postmodern argues that such "grounding" plays as much of the foundational role demanded of philosophy as can coherently be played by anything-and that such a foundation is, pragmatically, enough. I focus on two moves: (1) thinking historically as a model for thinking cross-culturally, and (2) historicizing "all the way down," as a way of exorcising the demand for the ahistorical grounding of epistemology.
: Nicholson's political philosophy is distinctively grounded in history. The Play of Reason: From the Modern to the Postmodern argues that such "grounding" plays as much of the foundational role demanded of philosophy as can coherently be played by anything--and that such a foundation is, pragmatically, enough. I focus on two moves: (1) thinking historically as a model for thinking cross-culturally, and (2) historicizing "all the way down," as a way of exorcising the demand for the ahistorical grounding of epistemology.
In her discussion of Naomi Scheman's "Individualism and the Objects of Psychology" Louise Antony misses the import of an unpublished paper of Scheman's that she cites. That paper argues against token identity theories on the grounds that only the sort of psycho-physical parallelisms that token identity theorists, such as Davidson and Fodor, reject could license the claim that each mental state or event is some particular physical state or event.
Naomi Scheman argues that the concerns of philosophy emerge not from the universal human condition but from conditions of privilege. Her books represents a powerful challenge to the notion that gender makes no difference in the construction of philosophical reasoning. At the same time, it criticizes the narrow focus of most feminist theorizing and calls for a more inclusive form of inquiry.
Recent writing by Jewish lesbians is characterized by challenging and evocative reflection on themes of home and identity, family and choice, tradition and transformation. This essay is a personal journey through some of this writing. An exploration of the obvious and troubling tensions between lesbian or feminist and Jewish identities leads to the paradoxical but ultimately unsurprising suggestion that lesbian identity and eroticism can provide a route of return to and affirmation of Jewish identity.