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feminist epistemology

Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


E pistemology A feminist theory of knowledge which claims that traditional mainstream epistemology is androcentric , and is filled with gender biases. According to this view, the Enlightenment or Kantian conception of rationality considers the epistemic subject as an abstract individual, and authoritative knowledge in Western societies is largely based on the experiences of white males. Women have long been in an epistemic underclass. The conceptual frameworks and methods in all branches of knowledge are virtually androcentric. Feminists argue that the central problem of epistemology should be “Whose knowledge is it?” An adequate epistemology should be free of all prejudices of androcentricity. The acquisition of knowledge must take into account the particularities of the subject, and hence is essentially an historical, social, and political activity. Accordingly, feminist epistemology joins the anti-essentialism of postmodernism , and challenges the traditional idea of objectivity . It claims that although feminism is by nature a political movement, it can still find a distinctive place in epistemology by asking questions such as “Who are the subjects of legitimate knowledge?” “Whose experience should be used to test knowledge?” “What is the nature of objectivity?” “How can a researcher be dispassionate?” There are many versions of what a feminist perspective of epistemology ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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