Feminist epistemology feminist research methodology pdf how important, ethical and political, are the values in shaping epistemic practices and interpretations of evidence. Scientists of feminist epistemology claim that knowledge discriminate women by: preventing them from inquiry and presenting women as an inferior, because these theories of knowledge satisfy only male interests, which strengthen gender hierarchies. The central idea of feminist epistemology is the fact that knowledge reflects the particular perspectives of the theory. The main interest of feminist philosophers is how gender stereotypes situate knowing subjects.
They approach this interest from three different perspectives: feminist standpoint theory, feminist postmodernism, and feminist empiricism. Standpoint theory defines a specific social perspective as epistemically privileged. Feminist postmodernism emphasizes the instability of the social identity explorers and therefore their representations. Empiricism focuses on combining the main ideas of feminism and their observations to prove feministic theories through evidence. Fricker gives the example of a woman who due to her gender is not believed in a business meeting. She may make a good case, but prejudice causes the listeners to believe her arguments to be less competent or sincere and thus less believable.
While potentially a limited set of categories, post-modern feminism was a transitional ideology that denounced absolute objectivity and asserted the death of the meta-narrative. Feminist empiricism emerged from a feminist critique that gave attention to male bias in positivistic practices of science. Quantification, and its political relationships to notions of objectivity, maintains methodological dominance and preference primarily in the United States. This is perpetuated by how funding authorities tend to prioritize quantitative research with positivist frameworks. In essence, all empirical inquiry is inherently skewed by value judgments and biased interpretation of evidence by male-biased authorities. 1970s that sexual harassment became identified by political authorities as a commonality. Without this intervention of feminists in an empirical field, this commonality would never have been identified as an issue, since males had no reason to pursue this phenomenon.
Feminist empiricists respond to the problem of value-neutrality by lengthening Quine’s argument: theory is not determined by evidence. Any observation counts as proof for particular thesis only if connected with certain background presumptions, because similar observation might support different hypotheses. In daily life, scientists face some restrictions in selecting the background assumptions, that are based on cognitive values like simplicity and conservatism, which a political and social philosophy that is based on retaining traditional social establishments. Feminist empiricists state that no logical or methodological principle categorically prohibits scientists from choosing their background assumptions as their political and social values or other interests. Therefore, feminist scientists may select their background presumptions on account of their opinions on some feminist values.
The first one is many feminist empiricist advocates on exposing the androcentric and sexist biases in scientific research, which people have a bias towards gender difference and sexuality. However, while they urge that the feminist inquiry helps the development of science, they adopted certain bias about gender and science. The second paradox is about many science criticisms expose that the scientific inquiry is influenced by both social and political factors. However, they want scientific to be open to different social influences, which the bias of female is also a part of social influence. Also feminist empiricism theory states that science will correct all the biases and errors in theories about women and other groups by itself. This methodology presents many new ideas to the Feminist Empiricist notion that androcentric dominance and bias presents an incomplete understanding of the world. Standpoint theories portray the universe from a concrete situated perspective.
Every standpoint theory must specify: the social location from the feminist perspective, the scope of its privileges, the social role and the identity that generates knowledge and the justification of these privileges. Feminist standpoint theory states a privilege in gender relations, various feminist standpoint theories are based on the statement about the epistemic privilege in different feministic situations. Feminist standpoint theory is one of the types of critical theory, their main intention is to improve their situation. In order to achieve this critical aim, social theories must represent the understanding of feministic problems and try to improve their condition.
Critical theory is theory of, by, and for the subjects of study. Feminism and feminist epistemology is all about inquiry, assumptions, and theories. Through these methods feminist epistemology overcomes the tension between bias on which feminist empiricism is based on. Harding strongly asserts that standpoint epistemology does not essentialize any particular marginalized identity. Harding poses standpoint theory as an explanatory means for both marginalized and dominant group individuals to be able to achieve liberatory perspectives. Bar On also claims that theory which explains structural relationship between advanced and less developed, which dictates epistemic privilege can not be applied to women. Feminist epistemology is criticized by different philosophers.