Feminist Epistemologies

 Linda Alcoff, Elizabeth Potter | Feminist Epistemologies

Feminist philosophy began on the margins, in the applied fields where practical concerns met with the political issues central to the women’s movement. The traditional core of philosophy – including epistemology – remained intact, impervious to any inquiry that appealed to values, politics, or gender. Feminist Epistemologies brings together original essays exploring the intersections of gender and knowledge. The contributors are concerned with many of the problems of traditional epistemology including the nature of knowledge, justification, and objectivity. But they are skeptical that the gender of knowers can ever be considered irrelevant. Their essays probe the difference gender makes by reframing old questions and looking through a feminist lens at such new questions as: Who is the subject of knowledge? How does the social position of the knower affect the production of knowledge? And what is the connection between knowledge and politics? New feminist work is examining the most basic issues of philosophy, with radical results. The time is right for a work of feminist philosophy that engages the traditional problematics of epistemology. Until now, the term “feminist epistemology” has typically been used to denote women’s ways of knowing, women’s experience, and the critique of specific theories about women. This book inaugurates a field of study at the intersection of feminist philosophy and epistemology “proper.” Feminists have raised important questions about epistemology, but no book has carried these questions as deeply into the heart of the discipline.

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