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Title: Relativism in Feminist Epistemologies
Author(s): Ashton, Natalie Alana
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Editor(s): Ashton, Natalie Alana
Kusch, Martin
McKenna, Robin
Anna Sodoma, Katharina
Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Citation: Ashton NA (2020) Relativism in Feminist Epistemologies. In: Ashton NA, Kusch M, McKenna R & Anna Sodoma K (eds.) Social Epistemology and Relativism. Routledge Studies in Epistemology. London: Routledge, pp. 87-102.
Issue Date: 2020
Date Deposited: 22-Oct-2020
Series/Report no.: Routledge Studies in Epistemology
Abstract: Different views on the connection between relativism and feminist epistemologies are often asserted but rarely are these views clearly argued for. This has resulted in a confusingly polarised debate, with some people convinced that feminist epistemologies are committed to relativism (and that this is a reason so be suspicious of them) whilst others make similar criticisms of anti-feminist views and argue that relativism has no place in feminist epistemologies. This chapter is an attempt to clarify this debate. I begin by asking the question “are feminist projects and goals best served by relativism, or by absolutism?” I then sketch out four broad positions one could take on the answer to this question, and evaluate arguments for each one. In the end I conclude that feminist projects can, at least sometimes, be served by relativism, and that the claim they can be served by anti-relativism is under-supported.
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