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McGill University
PHIL 242
Zoli Filotas

PHIL 242 - “Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspectives” DONNAHARAWAY ROADMAP THROUGH HARAWAY PAPER - Section 1: Two tempting ways for feminists to think about objective knowledge... ...neither of which is quite satisfactory. - Section 2:Away out of the dilemma: using visual metaphors to represent both bad and good ways of conceiving of knowledge. - Section 3: How to the understand the ‘real world’studied by the sciences. THE DILEMMAFOR FEMINIST CRITICS OF SCIENCE CRITICISMS OF THE SCIENTIFIC ESTABLISHMENT - What scientists say and do is contingent rather than necessary: it is based on historical and political facts that could have been otherwise. CRITICISMS OF THE SCIENTIFIC ESTABLISHMENT - More specifically: What scientists say and do isn’t primarily guided by truth and a search for knowledge but by the interests of the powerful (and, relatedly, money): - Possible examples: - Nature/nurture debate re: intersex people - Star Wars, military-industrial complex - Human genome project - Pharmaceutical industry - Is all scientific investigation like this? CRITICISMS OF THE SCIENTIFIC ESTABLISHMENT - The cardinal crime: It hides its own politics and contingency “Aleap out of the marked body and into the conquering gaze from nowhere.” - It claims “the power to see and not be seen, to represent while escaping representation. This gaze signifies the unmarked positions of Man and White.” - “The only position from which objectivity could not possibly be practiced and honored is the standpoint of the master, the Man, the One God, whose Eye produces, appropriates, and orders all difference.” THE DILEMMA - If we use these arguments to discredit all knowledge as suspicious, political and contingent (and therefore bad), that - 1- means discrediting feminist politics and experiences too 2- not paying enough attention to the ways that scientific knowledge and inquiry can/could be valuable. - So maybe we try to develop an alternative feminist theory of objective truth (as Hartsock does)... - ...but this ‘new objectivity’will likely have the same problems as the old one. HARAWAY’S GOAL IS TO INCORPORATE THE GOOD PARTS OF BOTH - “So I think my problem, and ‘our’problem, is how to have simultaneously [1] an account of radical historical contingency for all knowledge claims and knowing subjects, a critical practice for recognizing our own semiotic technologies and [2] a no-nonsense commitment to faithful accounts of a “real” world, one that can be partially shared and that is friendly to earthwide projects of finite freedom, adequate material abundance , modest meaning in suffering, and limited happiness.” (579) VISIONAND PERSPECTIVE ANIGHTMARISH WAY TO THINKABOUT KNOWLEDGE: SEEING EVERYTHING, FROM EVERY DIRECTION,ALLTHE TIME - More and more vision of all kinds, enhancing our vision: -
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