Philosophy Word of the Day – Feminist Epistemology

Feminist epistemology is an outgrowth of both feminist theorizing about gender and traditional epistemological concerns. Feminist epistemology is a loosely organized approach to epistemology, rather than a particular school or theory. Its diversity mirrors the diversity of epistemology generally, as well as the diversity of theoretical positions that constitute the fields of gender studies, women’s studies, and feminist theory. What is common to feminist epistemologies is an emphasis on the epistemic salience of gender and the use of gender as an analytic category in discussions, criticisms, and reconstructions of epistemic practices, norms, and ideals. While feminist epistemology is not easily and simply characterized, feminist approaches to epistemology tend to share an emphasis on the ways in which knowers are particular and concrete, rather than abstract and universalizable. Feminist epistemologies take seriously the ways in which knowers are enmeshed in social relations that are generally hierarchical while also being historically and culturally specific. In addition, feminist epistemologies assume that the ways in which knowers are constituted as particular subjects are significant to epistemological problems such as warrant, evidence, justification, and theory-construction, as well as to our understanding of terms like “objectivity,” “rationality,” and “knowledge.”

(Via Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

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