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Title: Scientific Perspectives, Feminist Standpoints, and Non-silly Relativism
Author(s): Ashton, Natalie Alana
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Editor(s): Crețu, Ana-Maria
Massimi, Michela
Citation: Ashton NA (2020) Scientific Perspectives, Feminist Standpoints, and Non-silly Relativism. In: Crețu A & Massimi M (eds.) Knowledge from a Human Point of View. Synthese Library: Studies in Epistemology, Logic, Methodology, and Philosophy of Science, 416. Cham, Switzerland: Springer, pp. 71-85.
Keywords: Feminist standpoint theory
Feminist epistemology
Perspectival realism
Issue Date: 2020
Date Deposited: 28-Apr-2020
Series/Report no.: Synthese Library: Studies in Epistemology, Logic, Methodology, and Philosophy of Science, 416
Abstract: Defences of perspectival realism are motivated, in part, by an attempt to find a middle ground between the realist intuition that science seems to tell us a true story about the world, and the Kuhnian intuition that scientific knowledge is historically and culturally situated. The first intuition pulls us towards a traditional, absolutist scientific picture, and the second towards a relativist one. Thus, perspectival realism can be seen as an attempt to secure situated knowledge without entailing epistemic relativism. A very similar motivation is behind feminist standpoint theory, a view which aims to capture the idea that knowledge is socially situated, whilst retaining some kind of absolutism. Elsewhere I argue that the feminist project fails to achieve this balance; its commitment to situated knowledge unavoidably entails epistemic relativism (though of an unproblematic kind), which allows them to achieve all of their feminist goals. In this paper I will explore whether the same arguments apply to perspectival realism. And so I will be asking whether perspectival realism too is committed to an unproblematic kind of relativism, capable of achieving scientific goals; or, whether it succeeds in carving out a third view, between or beyond the relativism/absolutism dichotomy.
Rights: This chapter is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this chapter are included in the chapter's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the chapter's Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder.
DOI Link: 10.1007/978-3-030-27041-4_5
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