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( Sep. 9th, 2007 03:48 pm)
From Naomi Scheman, "Feminism in Philosophy of Mind," in The Cambridge Companion to Feminism in Philosophy, ed. Miranda Fricker & Jennifer Hornsby (Cambridge UP 2000), pp. 52-53:

Disputes among feminist theorists frequently take the following form: theorists of type A argue against the appeal to absolute standards of truth or rightness that exist in abstraction from our lives and practices, on the grounds that such appeals reflect a suspicion of plurality and diversity and a disdain for that which is local, particular, contextual, contingent, embedded and embodied; while theorists of type B argue for the importance of standards of truth or rightness that are independent of what people happen to do or say, on the grounds that what most people happen to do and say -- expert discourses and common sense alike -- is prone to sexist and other forms of bias, and that we need a more compelling response than simply that we don't like it. Thus arise the debates between universalists and particularists in ethics, essentialists and social constructionists in gender and sexuality theory, empiricists and postmodernists in philosophy of science, objectivists and relativists in epistemology. The tendentious nature of all those labels reflects the divisiveness of the disputes, a divisiveness that obscures the fact that for many of us the disputes are internal to any position we might occupy. They are, I want to suggest, better thought of as necessary tensions, as reminders of the theoretical and political importance both of attention to diversity and particularity and of non-arbitrary, rationally defensible justification.


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