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Ways of Knowing
Record Type: Review   ID: 719

Feminist Epistemologies

Alcoff, Linda, & Potter, Elizabeth (Eds.)

 This anthology by key thinkers is a highly erudite yet accessible overview of a rapidly-evolving subject—the varied feminist approaches to how human beings come to know what they know. It is very much relevant to exceptional human experience, because each form of EHE is in itself a different way of knowing, most of them not given much credence in mainstream Western culture. Feminist epistemologies, also, are based outside the mainstream patriarchal assumptions. Not only are some of the quandaries faced by EHEers shared by feminist thinkers, but the very well thought-out views of feminist epistemologists could help to improve understanding of exceptional forms of knowing. Of special interest is Babbitt’s chapter (full title below) on the role of transformation experiences. A main aim of feminist epistemology in general is "to unmake the web of oppression, and reweave the web of life" (p. 4). This is also a special concern of EHEers, who need to dissociate from the depotentiating views about exceptional human experience and develop new ways of understanding what happens in an exceptional human experience, each of which is a unifying form of knowing in itself. The following contents listing depicts the range and depth of the chapters in this important work. Introduction: When Feminisms Intersect Epistemology, by L. Alcoff and E. Potter; Taking Subjectivity into Account, by L. Code; Rethinking Standpoint Epistemology: "What is Strong Objectivity"?, by S. Harding; Marginality and Epistemic Privilege, by Bat-Ami Bar On; Subjects, Power and Knowledge: Description and Prescription in Feminist Philosophies of Science, by H. Longino; Epistemological Communities, by L. Nelson; Gender and Epistemic Negotiation, by E. Potter; Bodies and Knowledge: Feminism and the Crisis of Reason, by E. Grosz; Are "Old Wives’ Tales: Justified?, by V. Dalmiya and L. Alcoff; Feminism and Objective Interests: The Role of Transformation Experiences in Rational Deliberation, by S. Babbitt; and Knower/Doers and Their Moral Problems, by K. Addelson. Appended is a very useful Bibliography of Feminist Epistemologies.
Publisher Information:New York: Routledge, 1993. 312p. Bibl: 295-301; Chap. bibl; Index: 303-309
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