Feminist Criticism Of Propositional Epistemology

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Propositional epistemology is field of study in philosophy that deals with theories of knowledge. Traditionally, epistemology consisted of the idea that if one was to have knowledge, one must have a justified true belief. This was held to be the case until Edmund Gettier wrote a paper titled “Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?” challenging the traditional account of knowledge. This was one of the first times that epistemic norms had been challenged. A more recent criticism of propositional epistemology is the feminist critique of the field. Propositional epistemology is the idea that a subject knows a proposition, simplified in atomic language as “S knows P”, where S, stands in for any possible knower and P stands in for any possible predicate. …show more content…
Longino focuses more on scientific epistemology; another study which Longino believes that women’s voices and ideas are being marginalized. Longino claims that the critique of science “proceeds by noting features of the content of scientific theories; Racism, sexism and class bias have characterized human biology” (Longino 262). This exemplifies her beliefs that a feminist viewpoint is absolutely necessary in many fields. Here, the lack of diverse perspectives leads to a system that continuously produces misinformation and biases regarding marginalised groups. Longino claims that a body of data can support one hypothesis in one case while supporting a “conflicting and contradicting hypothesis when assessed in the light of different background assumptions in another case” (264). This further exemplifies the necessity of having large epistemic groups. These background assumptions lead to subjectivity in any sort of study instead of true …show more content…
Her paper explores the idea of a “master-epistemology” that is able to critique the epistemic knowledge of other cultures and belief systems. She conveys this idea by writing that “epistemology presumes its right to judge, for example, the knowledge claims of midwives, [and] the ontologies of First-Nations peoples[…]” (Alcoff 68). This idea is similar to Kuhn’s and Strathern’s claiming that a paradigm exists in which a field of study has natural and socially generated biases that occur due to the lack of an application of values in a field. Alcoff rejects epistemology due to its “lack of political reflexivity” (69). If epistemology was to incorporate values into its studies, situations of discrimination and assumption could be prevented. An easy way of doing this leads back to Longino’s suggestion of expanding one’s epistemic community. If a group of First-Nations peoples are in your epistemic community there is no longer a need to assume their ontologies, instead you can have something closer to objective knowledge from a direct

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