Feminist epistemology

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Feminist epistemology is sometimes described as being an examination of the subject matter of epistemology (i.e., the philosophy of knowledge) from a feminist standpoint. It has been described by Elizabeth Anderson as being concerned with the way in which gender influences our concept of knowledge and "practices of inquiry and justification".[1] It is generally regarded as falling under the umbrella of social epistemology. Elizabeth Anderson argues that the concept of situated knowledge is central to feminist epistemology. Donna Haraway asserts that most knowledge (in particular academic knowledge) is always situated and "produced by positioned actors working in/between all kinds of locations, working up/on/through all kinds of research relation(ships)" (Cook, et al.),[2][dead link] and thus what is known and the ways in which this knowledge can be known is subject to the position—the situation and perspective—of the knower.

The English feminist philosopher Miranda Fricker has argued that in addition to social or political injustices, there can be epistemic injustices in two forms: testimonial injustice and hermeneutical injustice. Testimonial injustice consists in prejudices that cause one to "give a deflated level of credibility to a speaker's word"[3] and gives the example of a woman who due to her gender is not believed in a business meeting. She may make a good case, but prejudice causes the listeners to believe her arguments to be less competent or sincere and thus less believable. In this kind of case, Fricker argues that as well as there being an injustice caused by possible outcomes (such as the speaker missing a promotion at work), there is a testimonial injustice: "a kind of injustice in which someone is wronged specifically in her capacity as a knower".[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Anderson, Elizabeth, "Feminist Epistemology and Philosophy of Science", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2004 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)
  2. ^ Ian Cook, 'Positionality/Situated Knowledge' for David Sibley et al. (eds)Critical Concepts in Cultural Geography. London, IB: Taurus http://www.gees.bham.ac.uk/downloads/gesdraftpapers/iancook-situatedknowledge.pdf
  3. ^ Miranda Fricker (August 2009). Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing. Oxford University Press. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-19-957052-2. Retrieved 8 March 2011. 
  4. ^ Miranda Fricker (August 2009). Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing. Oxford University Press. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-19-957052-2. Retrieved 8 March 2011. 

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