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Twentieth-Century Philosophies Feminist

Epistemology And Philosophy Of Science

Feminist philosophers have also made significant contributions to epistemology and the philosophy of science. Lloyd's insights about the gendering of reason led to substantive analysis of contemporary conceptions of rationality, the process of inquiry, and the knowing subject. Epistemologists and philosophers of science such as Lorraine Code, Sandra Harding, Helen Longino, Lynn Hankinson Nelson, Elizabeth Potter, and Naomi Scheman have critiqued traditional "S knows that P" models of knowledge. A common theme of feminist epistemology is that the traditional view of the knowing subject as distinct but not distinctive is inadequate in that it occludes the ways in which human knowledge practices emerge out of and are influenced by social structures, including those of gender. In other words, the goal of a generic knower is misguided in that subjectivity is always at least partially socially constituted. On this position, no one, regardless of gender, race, class, or ability, is a generic subject.

This conception of situated knowers is a key component of many feminist epistemologies and philosophies of science. Harding develops a version of standpoint theory to account for the ways in which social location can impact knowledge practices, and argues that this theory supports a strengthened conception of objectivity, one that is less susceptible to the production of community-wide biases than research modeled on the "neutrality ideal." Longino and Nelson have also critiqued the individualism of "S knows that P" accounts, arguing in the case of Longino that knowledge is held by persons who are part of complex social communities where both the knower and what is known are marked by that relationship. Nelson, building on a naturalized epistemology inspired by W. V. O. Quine's emphasis on studying how humans in fact reason, argues that it is communities rather than individuals who know.

The commitment to situated knowers has led to an appreciation of the role of embodiment in knowledge practices (for example, in the work of Susan Bordo, Elizabeth Grosz, and Gail Weiss), as well as the role of emotion, imagination, empathy, and values (for example, in the work of Louise Antony, Susan Babbitt, Lorraine Code, Longino, and Alison Wylie).

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Evolution to FerrocyanideTwentieth-Century Philosophies Feminist - Social And Political Theory, Ethics, History Of Philosophy, Epistemology And Philosophy Of Science, Conclusion