What is Feminist Epistemology?
Haack's Two Alternatives:
(1) Epistemology that privileges "the way women see things". This alternative seems to fit Code (though, in this case, appearances are deceiving).
(2) Epistemology "serving the interests of women". This alternative fits Longino.
What is Haack's "old feminism"?
Which kind of Feminist Epistemology does Code endorse?
Code claims that the sex/gender of the knower is epistemologically significant. Thus, she seems to be making a category (1) claim. But every time she discusses those who does make a category (1) claim, she does not endorse their conclusions.
Her own position is that the existing theories of knowledge reflect the maleness of their creators. This is not a claim about knowledge itself, but about bias in the development of the existing theories of knowledge. It makes her position a category (2) feminist epistemology.
Which kind of Feminist Epistemology does Longino endorse?
Longino claims not to be endorsing a "women's way of knowing", but she in fact endorses feminist epistemic virtues based on virtues that promote the goals of feminism. She allows for different sets of epistemic virtues depending on one's goals. This leads to the possibility of different conceptions of justified belief.
The only universal epistemic virtue: empirical adequacy
Parochial feminist epistemic virtues: novelty, ontological heterogeneity, complexity or mutuality of interaction, applicability to human needs, and decentralization of power or universal empowerment.
Parochial mainstream epistemic virtues: conservatism, ontological simplicity, unifying theoretical framework (or explanatory power and generality), fruitfulness and refutability, dominance and control.
Where do the local feminist epistemic virtues come from? They are the epistemic virtues that serve the primary feminist goal: revealing gender.
Variability in parochial epistemic virtues due to: Underdetermination of theories by evidence (Underdetermination Thesis).
Underdetermination Thesis does not establish what Longino claims.
Value-Ladenness Thesis does not establish what Longino claims.
Inquiry should not be politicized.
"In each case [the parochialist] is in effect asking that you not apply his assertion to his own position."(641)
Her own account is implicitly self-refuting, because she is implicitly committed to there being universal standards of justification and knowledge on which anyone, male or female, would be justified in believing the premises of her arguments and universal standards of knowledge on which she could know them to be true.
How might Longino respond?
Rorty's Pragmatic Substitute for
Truth and Objectivity
Rorty’s target: a family of contrasts
1. Objectivity vs. Solidarity
2. Hard facts vs. soft values
3. Truth vs. pleasure
4. Rational as methodical determination of objective truth vs. rational as "tolerance, respect for the opinion of those around one, willingness to listen, reliance on persuasion rather than force."(627)
Replace truth with warranted assertability.
Replace warranted assertibility with agreement with my community (not necessarily my linguistic community as Bandom would have it, but those who share my values).
Replace the desire for objectivity with the desire for solidarity with a community of those who share one's values.
"We have found that virtually all critics of objectivity say something like the following:
1. It is an objective fact that there are no objective facts.
2. It is absolutely true that everything is relative to a framework.
3. No one can divorce himself from his social milieu to examine his society with a critical eye, and that conclusion is the result of my having done so.
4. There is evidence for the position that there is no such thing as evidence."(641)
The general phenomenon: "You can't use reason to attack the very ideal of reason [or truth], and you can't use arguments to convince anyone that arguments [or concepts such as truth] are useless."(641).
[My additions in brackets]
Why not? To offer an argument is to implicitly claim that the premises are true and that the premises provide good reasons or accepting the conclusions.