Wednesday March 6 th
Feminist Epistemology & Emotion
-Feminist epistemologists contest: Thinking knowledge is universal, objectivity,
emotion-western tradition wrongly conceptualizes knowledge focuses on rationality
Love and Knowledge-Jagger
She focuses on how western tradition overlooks the role emotion when we
conceptualize knowledge. Western canon- emotion is regarded with suspicion.
Hostile reaction when it comes with validating knowledge attached to emotion.
-There’s a separation, can’t be conflated.
• Reason - Emotion
• Rational - Irrational
• Mental - Physical
• Cultural - Natural
• Universal - Particular
• Public - Private
• Male – Female
Left column associated with each other, right side associated with each other. Right
side is devalued.
-By investigating the emotions those who are oppressed- minority contributes to
the development of critical social theory, contests people who a just focus on
rationality and positivism. Mixing social investigation/observations with what it
means to have objective knowledge. Can’t separate the two. We can’t have
knowledge without being conscious of social theory
-Less ideological account of knowledge. How we construct knowledge is not just the
left side of the binaries, not the only valuable way. Opens it up.
Terms-Positivism, empirical testing, bias,
“Within the western philosophical tradition emotions have been considered
potentially or actually subversive of knowledge. Reason rather than emotion has
been regarded as the indispensible faculty for acquiring knowledge.”
There is worry that emotion invalidates emotion. Need to separate them. Paranoia
that emotions could overthrow rational enterprises, if we allowed emotions into
epistemology. Concern that emotion can distort our observations, false concern.
-Emotion can help, not hinder or invalidate.
-Empirical knowledge: observation and experiences, make them universal. Done in
an objective manner, no emotion tainting it. They’re being rational. Your emotions
steer you path. It’s supposed to be a political. It’s supposed to be neutral knowledge.
She critiques this as absurd, you can’t separate yourself from the quest of
knowledge. Biases are the starting point of any scientific study. You make the choice
of what you choose to study. Comes from their preferences. Also the choices you make in what you study, who you study, the questions you ask- those come at your
discretion. It can’t be completely detached. Biases are the starting point for our
studies. Biases are connected to our emotions. Our system of belief- our experiences
our intersections of our age, race, education etc. determines what it is we study, how
devote our time to that study.
-Cannot separate our emotion from our empirical research.
-The Myth of the dispassionate investigator- similar to disembodied knowledge. It’s
impossible. Oxymoron, inconsistency. Those who have power- that a dispassionate
investigator- they have a lack of awareness of emotions. They’re lack of awareness
of emotions, they think their doing this neutrally. They don’t think they doing this
neutrally, their ignoring their emotions, don’t know emotions are playing a role.
-Reason gets associated with dominant groups, gets valued. Stereotypes of women’s
emotionality. The myth of the dispassionate investigator upholds, lifts up, and
values the epistemic authority of the dominant group. The dominate group gets
attached with not being emotional, being dispassionate they get associated with
rationality. Uphold the values those who have control, and power. Makes
subservient those who are “too emotional” ignore whatever points of view they
“ . . . rather than repressing emotion in
epistemology it is necessary to rethink the relation
between knowledge and emotion and construct
conceptual models that demonstrate the mutually
constitutive rather than oppositional relation
between reason and emotion”
-Bridge the gap or collapse the dichotomy. Those constructs aren’t separate-
reason and emotion. Emotion typically starts the process. Collapses the binary.
-Emotions help us observe the world. Emotion effect, shapes and defines our
observations. If we both read something we might have different summaries. We’re
not objective observers.
-• “I wish to begin bridging this gap through the
suggestion that emotions may be helpful and
even necessary rather than inimical to the
construction of knowledge” (p. 153).
Problems with theory on emotion-
-There are problems in adopting this, emotions aren’t simple. How do we
define, describe ant theorize emotion- lots of discrepancy. There are prima