DOI: 10.17072/2078-7898/2017-2-141-151


Voronina Olga Alexandrovna
Doctor of Philosophy,
Leading Researcher (Professor) of the Department
of Philosophy of Culture

Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences,
12/1, Goncharnaya str.
Moscow, 109240, Russia;
ORCID: 0000-0002-1122-2886

Feminist epistemology focuses on the study of how the gender system affects the concept of knowledge, the knowing subject and practices of research. Feminist philosophers identify ways in which the dominant conceptions and practices of knowledge attribution, acquisition, and justification systematically disadvantage women and other subordinated groups. Feminist epistemology argues that dominant knowledge practices are based on denying women’s epistemic authority, on the denigration of «feminine» cognitive styles and ways of knowing; on the creation of social theories that ignore the experiences of women and their interests, or doing gender power relations invisible. Moreover, such practices frequently produce knowledge that is not good for people in a subordinate position or even reinforce gender and other social hierarchies. Feminist epistemology challenges the effectiveness of many a priori accepted theses of classical science, e.g. objectivity, needed for social and emotional detachment of the knowing subject from the object etc. The central thesis of feminist epistemology is that the subject of cognition is always situated in a specific socio-cultural and personal situation, which inevitably leads to the temporality of cognition. That is why feminist philosophers have focused on determining the role of social and political values in research; evaluating ideals of objectivity and rationality; the recognition of epistemic values, ways of knowing, referred to as symbolically feminine; the necessity of reforming structures of epistemic authority. The author analyzes how these ideas have been explicated in different schools of feminist epistemology — feminist position epistemology, empiricism, postmodern and decolonialist directions. The author believes that despite the debatable nature of problems and methods discussed in feminist epistemology, it is necessary to recognize the importance of its heuristic and social potential.

Keywords: feminism, epistemology, women’s experience, gender, power, postmodernism, decolonialism.


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The date of the manuscript receipt 02.03.2017

Please cite this article in English as:

Voronina O.A. Basic ideas and concepts of feminist social epistemology // Perm University Herald. Series «Philosophy. Psychology. Sociology». 2017. Iss. 2. P.141151. DOI: 10.17072/2078-7898/2017-2-141-151

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