Philosophy’s adversarial argumentation style is often noted as a factor contributing to the low numbers of women in philosophy. I argue that there is a level of adversariality peculiar to philosophy that merits specific feminist examination, yet doesn’t assume controversial gender differences claims. The dominance of the argument-as-war metaphor is not warranted, since this metaphor misconstrues the epistemic role of good argument as a tool of rational persuasion. This metaphor is entangled with the persisting narrative of embattled reason, which, in (...) turn, is linked to the sexism-informed narrative of the “man of reason” continually warding off or battling “feminine” unreason. (shrink)
The debate about the rational and the social in science has sometimes been developed in the context of a distinction between epistemic and non-epistemic values. Paying particular attention to two important discussion in the last decade, by Longino and by McMullin, I argue that a fuller understanding of values in science ultimately requires abandoning the distinction itself. This is argued directly in terms of an analysis of the lack of clarity concerning what epistemic values are. I also argue that the (...) philosophical import of much of the feminist work in philosophy of science is restricted by any kind of strict adherence to the distinction. (shrink)
Reason has regularly been portrayed and understood in terms of images and metaphors that involve the exclusion or denigration of some element-body, passion, nature, instinct-that is cast as "feminine." Drawing upon philosophical insight into metaphor, I examine the impact of this gendering of reason. I argue that our conceptions of mind, reason, unreason, female, and male have been distorted. The politics of "rational" discourse has been set up in ways that still subtly but powerfully inhibit the voice and agency of (...) women. (shrink)
By tracing a specific development through the approaches of Peirce, James, and Dewey I present a view of (classical) pragmatist epistemology that invites comparison with recent work in feminist epistemology. Important dimensions of pragmatism and feminism emerge from this critical dialectical relationship between them. Pragmatist reflections on the role of reason and philosophy in a changing world encourage us to see that philosophy's most creative and most responsible future must also be a feminist one.
This special issue of Informal Logic brings together two important areas of philosophy that have shown significant development in the last three decades: informal logic and feminist philosophy. A significant innovation they both share is new thinking about practices of argumentation and related practices of reasoning. Feminist theorizing supporting social and political change foregrounds “reasoning for change” in a way that draws attention to the contextual and rhetorical dimensions of argument and thus connects with significant developments in informal logic.
Specific methodological limitations of traditional sex differences research are uncovered by feminist psychologists who argue for a shift toward a theoretical appropriation of gender that reveals its significance as a site of ongoing situated social regulation. I argue that such a shift has important implications for studies on gender and cognition, and that such studies have the potential to significantly expand our understanding of the contextual and situated nature of both social and "non-social" cognition.
Recent work linking feminist epistemology with social epistemology draws attention to the role of status and power in understanding knowledge and reasoning in social context. I argue that considerations of social justice require better understandings of two particular components of reasoning and social context: abstraction—who gets to abstract, how, and why? the individual-social distinction—how do particular understandings of this distinction serve to minimize or elucidate the role of status and power?
_Feminist Epistemology _is the area of feminist philosophy that deals specifically with questions about the nature of knowledge. It draws attention to the fact that, historically, women have been excluded or discouraged from what were typically recognized as the important areas or disciplines of knowledge, particularly in academic institutions. It examines whether the exclusion of women from various knowledge communities has had an impact on the subject as a whole and looks at the ways in which feminist epistemology connects with (...) ongoing central concerns within the tradition. Phyllis Rooney introduces and assesses the main developments, issues and contentions that have come out of this major topic within philosophy and examines the ways in which the subject has been enriched in terms of the feminist evaluation. Her style is exceptionally clear and the book will serve anyone doing a course in epistemology or feminist philosophy. (shrink)