Drawing on recent advances in analytic epistemology, feminist scholarship, and philosophy of science, Jane Duran's Toward a Feminist Epistemology is the first book that spells out in the detail required by a supportable epistemology what a feminist theory of knowledge would entail.
This is a unique, groundbreaking study in the history of philosophy, combining leading men and women philosophers across 2600 years of Western philosophy, covering key foundational topics, including epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics. Introductory essays, primary source readings, and commentaries comprise each chapter to offer a rich and accessible introduction to and evaluation of these vital philosophical contributions. A helpful appendix canvasses an extraordinary number of women philosophers throughout history for further discovery and study.
This article examines the work of the seventeenth-century thinker Catharine Trotter Cockburn with an eye toward explication of her trenchant empiricism, and the foundations upon which it rested. It is argued that part of the originality of Cockburn's work has to do with her consistent line of thought with regard to evidence from the senses and the process of abstract conceptualization; in this she differed strongly from some of her contemporaries. The work of Martha Brandt Bolton and Fidelis Morgan is (...) cited, and there is an auxiliary argument to the effect that Cockburn is probably better known as a playwright than she is as a philosophical thinker. (shrink)
I cite areas of pragmatism and feminism that have an intersection with or an appeal to the other, including the notions of the universal and/or normative, and foundationalist lines in general. I deal with three areas from each perspective and develop the notion of their intersection. Finally, the paper discusses the importance of a pragmatic view for women's lives and the importance of psychoanalytic theory for finding another area where pragmatism and feminism mesh.
The questions surrounding the reintroduction of species, both avian and mammal, to areas in which they were originally found are examined with citation to the literature involving actual attempts at reintroduction, and lines of argument brought to bear on the discussion by ethicists and ecologists. It is concluded that the dangers surrounding most reintroductions are, if anything, understated, but that deep ecology or preservationist views still support such efforts, if undertaken in sound ways.
Bringing to bear two major lines of argument, I claim that foundationalism is vitiated by its reliance (in its various forms) on privileged access, and by its noninstantiability. The notion of privileged access is examined, and the status of propositions said to be evocative of privileged access addressed. Noninstantiability is viewed through the current project of naturalizing epistemology, and naturalized alternatives to the rigorous foundationalism of the normative epistemologists are brought forward.
Two major lines of argument support the notion that Hildegard of Bingen’s metaphysics is peculiarly gynocentric. Contra the standard commentary on her work, the focus is not on the notion of viriditas; rather, the first line of argument presents a specific delineation of her ontology, demonstrating that it is a graded hierarchy of beings, many of which present feminine aspects of the divine, and all of which establish the metaphysical notion of interpenetrability. The second line of argument specifically contrasts her (...) thought to that of Aquinas and Meister Eckhart, noting areas of similarity and difference. It is concluded that the visionary origins of Hildegard’s work may have to some extent precluded our understanding of it, and that her work merits consideration not only philosophically and theologically but from the standpoint of its early presentation of a gynocentric worldview. (shrink)
The work of Spinoza, Descartes and Leibniz is cited in an attempt to develop, both expositorily and critically, the philosophy of Anne Viscountess Conway. Broadly, it is contended that Conway's metaphysics, epistemology and account of the passions not only bear intriguing comparison with the work of the other well-known rationalists, but supersede them in some ways, particularly insofar as the notions of substance and ontological hierarchy are concerned. Citing the commentary of Loptson and Carolyn Merchant, and alluding to other commentary (...) on the Cambridge Platonists whose work was done in tandem with Conway's, it is contended that Conway's conception of the "monad" preceded and influenced Leibniz's, and that her monistic vitalism was in many respects a superior metaphysics to the Cartesian system. It is concluded that we owe Conway more attention and celebration than she has thus far received. (shrink)
The work of Quilligan, Kelley, Gardner and others is alluded to in an effort to argue that Christine de Pisan’s Book of the City of Ladies is an early example of a philosophically feminist view. The importance of allegory as a literary construct is discussed, and it is concluded that Christine stands midway between the preceding medievals and the women thinkers of the seventeenth century. In addition, it is concluded that the importance of de Pisan’s work as a bridge between (...) the two eras cannot be overlooked, and that only recently has substantive scholarship on her begun to emerge that would point a clear way to her standing. (shrink)
Using material taken from contemporary feminist theory and also from work on human rights, it is argued that rape is a form of torture, and that it operates on powerful levels, both literally and metaphorically. Part of the argument is that rape has achieved the status it has as political force for exploitation because of strong beliefs about cultural reproduction and about the roles that women play in cultural reproduction.
The status of polygamy as a cultural artifact is investigated across a number of societies, and it is concluded that polygamy is extremely violative of the rights of a number of individuals in the societies in which it occurs, and not simply women. Extensive citation is made to the work of Elissa Wall on American polygamous groups in the Southwest.
Margaret Fuller's name today often appears when the Transcendentalists in general are mentioned-we may hear of her in the course of writing on Emerson, or Bronson Alcott-but not nearly enough work about Margaret herself, her thought, and her remarkable childhood has been done in recent times.1 Interestingly enough, her name surfaces in connection with some theorizing done about same-sex relationships, but the great import of Fuller's editing of "The Dial," a periodical of the time, her authoring of Woman in the (...) Nineteenth Century, and her life of adventure and rebellion has seldom been articulated.2A virtual child prodigy, Margaret Fuller was educated at home in a way reminiscent of the sort of education given to .. (shrink)
The work of MacKinnon, Pheterson and others is cited to examine what are commonly described as libertarian arguments for the decriminalization of sex work. Original Marxist lines of analysis are also examined, and it is concluded that the dangers of sex work outweigh the notion that there is no compelling state interest in suppressing it.
This book presents the current feminist critique of science and the philosophy of science in such a way that students of philosophy of science, philosophers, feminist theorists, and scientists will find the material accessible and intellectually rigorous.Contemporary feminist debate, as well as the debate brought on by the radical critics of science, assumes—incorrectly—that certain movements in philosophy of science and science-driven theory are understood in their dynamics as well as in their details. All too often, labels such as “Kuhnian” or (...) “positivistic” are taken for granted, and much of the contemporary postmodern or post-structuralist feminist theory that sets out to criticize science does little to alleviate the reader’s lack of knowledge with regard to such movements.Unlike other texts, Philosophies of Science: Feminist Theories provides a student-oriented framework so that, for example, positivism is given a thorough grounding before the feminist critique of such epistemological theory is given. Other movements discussed include the Kuhnian turn, sociology of science, and the radical critique of science. Feminist theory and critique are interwoven throughout, with one chapter devoted to feminist thought, which includes the work of such thinkers as Longino, Hararway, Hubbard, Nelson, Harding, and Keller. (shrink)
Although NGOs around the globe are hard at work on a number of issues, not much has been written about hierodulic slavery. Recent evidence on slavery, in general, indicates that Mauritania, for example, still has a number of individuals serving as slaves in situations where, according to local custom, a hereditary basis for the practice is instantiated. But hierodulic slavery—or slavery based on religious tradition and frequently tied to temple worship—is comparatively uncommon, and probably most prevalent in certain South Asian (...) societies. Although this type of servitude can have an enormously detrimental effect on young individuals, serious work on this issue is only now beginning. Some... (shrink)
This author explores the intersection between cognitive science, as exemplified by the computational model of mind, and epistemologyó specifically, epistemic justification theory. Her analysis leads to the conclusion that some very specific and somewhat technical issues in epistemic justification theory can be at least partially resolved, if not entirely cleared up, by the use of the computational model. The third and fourth chapters of this work are devoted directly to that effort. Chapter one examines in detail epistemology and cognitive sciences, (...) while chapters two and three offer a thorough introduction to standard epistemic justification theory. Finally, chapter five is a critique of the computational model. (shrink)
The current project of "naturalizing" epistemology has left epistemologists with a plethora of theories alleged to fall under that rubric. Recent epistemic justification theorists have seemed to want to focus on theories of epistemic justification that are more contextualized (naturalized) and less normatively global than those of the past. This paper has two central arguments: (i) that if justification is seen from a naturalized standpoint, more attention to the actual process of epistemic justification might be in order (and, hence, that (...) the justificatory set might come to be seen more descriptively and less normatively), and (ii) that if any theory of epistemic justification were to be normatively accurate, regardless of the size of its justificatory set, then one of the requirements upon it might well be that key terms in the set would refer, in the spirit of the new scientific realism. The central thesis of the paper relies on the normative/descriptive distinction as applicable to epistemic justification theory and also relies on an intuitively plausible account of the process of epistemic justification as engaged in by an epistemic agent and skeptical challenger. (shrink)
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)
The work of Cox, Bales, Dingwaney, and others is cited in an effort to construct an argument about the special rights violations of contemporary slavery. It is contended that two forms, debt bondage and sexual slavery, are related and bear close examination.
Edith Stein is honored today not only because of her sainthood but because of what is now seen as important and groundbreaking work in phenomenology done under especially arduous conditions. Thus it may be said with some accuracy that Stein is, among philosophers, in the comparatively rare category of being acknowledged both for her work and her exemplary life. Writing on Stein has standardly proceeded with an emphasis on the biographical factors that caused her to live and write as she (...) did. One often reads that Stein was reared in a strongly Judaic tradition—her family was more observant, for example, than the family of Simone Weil—but that experiences she had as a young woman caused her to turn in the .. (shrink)
Lines of argument taken from Cavendish’s Observations and Letters are used to support the notion that her innovative metaphysics was designed to counter the thinking of the new science and Descartes’s own arguments. The work of Broad, Atherton and Lichtenstein is cited, and it is concluded that Cavendish deserves close reading. In addition, although Cavendish does not address notions having to do with Christianity as directly as we might wish, it is clear that these concepts are crucially related to her (...) work. (shrink)
Depending on the realist or instrumentalist twist that is given to positivism, interesting arguments can be made for both causal and classical theories of reference with regard to the use of scientific terms in the language of theory. But my claim is that the rigid foundationalism that supports the theoretical terms via the correspondence rules of the Received View undercuts the notion that it is possible to argue coherently for a causal theory of reference as allied to a positivistic view.